Now that marathon and triathlon season is over in the Northeast, the off-season is the perfect opportunity to focus on recovery and setting the stage for next season. Here are some tips to consider during the off-season so you can accomplish your goals and set personal bests next year.
1. Incorporate active rest: Your muscles and joints have worked hard the past few months – treat them to some structured cross-training, such as yoga, Pilates, boot camp, or hiking!
2. Work on your weak spots: Most athletes who get injured are lacking good core and glute strength, endurance, and control.
3. Focus on flexibility: Stretching your muscles and keeping your joints loose will help ensure they remain healthy in your downtime.
4. Fix your form: Research supports the use of gait training to modify running mechanics and decrease risk of injury. Ask your PT to analyze your form – whether this is running, cycling, or swimming, there are likely some changes that will help to improve your efficiency and performance while decreasing your risk of injury.
5. Make it mental: Your brain has worked hard to maintain focus all season – change your environment, exercise with friends instead of by yourself, or try exercising during a different time of day. Once you’re feeling refreshed, plan out a race schedule and set your goals. Write them down to hold yourself accountable!
6. Be cautious and careful: A proper warm-up improves flexibility and blood flow, which is especially important during cold-weather exercise. Be aware of snow-covered, wet, and slippery surfaces. Ensure your shoes have proper traction to reduce the likelihood of slips and falls.
Following these tips could help you push further and improve next season. And staying active during the winter months can be a great way to avoid cabin fever. So be sure to keep moving!