The holiday season is almost upon us and it’s the perfect time to enjoy a little downtime from the active lifestyle we, as dedicated athletes, are accustomed to. The festive season can provide us with the opportunity to recharge our batteries by spending quality time with family and friends. For the devoted athlete, the holiday season doesn’t mean all play and no work. It is still a critical time to keep improving and becoming a more skilful athlete. Even with all the temptations facing us, such as family gatherings, huge turkey dinners and endless desserts, there are still ways to keep motivation and focus in our daily routine.
You can use the holiday period to work on specific weaknesses that you have encountered over the race season. If you noticed that your endurance on the bike was lacking during races, now is a good time to hold a personal mini training camp to increase your ability to sustain a prolonged effort in this area. Challenge yourself to see how many miles you can ride in one week by setting a goal. As this is the social season, why not create a contest between friends? You can also concentrate on building power and getting stronger by tailoring the weeks to strength work on the bike and take note of the increase by conducting tests at the start and end of the mini camp. The same could be done for running by challenging yourself to a 5km or 10 km a day challenge during the holidays to increase the running mileage and/or frequency.
If you need a break from goal setting, unstructured training is also a great way to keep things interesting during this time of year. Training in the discipline you wish, when you want, helps break up the constant routine you are accustomed to. Ask your coach to provide you with three to four workouts for each discipline and pick and choose the ones you wish for the days you decide to work out. In a short amount of time, you’ll be back to a set schedule (which you need to improve long term), so why not take this time to switch things up a little and train at your own pace and desire. If you feel like running, go run. If you want to get on the bike or in the pool then do so!
The holiday season does not have to hinder your performance if you approach it the right way. Try any of these methods to give yourself a break from the rigorous schedule you follow the rest of the year and enjoy every moment of it. As always, make the most of whatever workout you do, even if the goal is simply to recover and spend time with family and friends.
LifeSport coach Louis Therien resides in the Ontario/Quebec area. He enjoys coaching all levels of triathletes from the first timer to the more experienced Ironman. If you’re looking for that extra edge to meet and surpass your athletic goals, contact Louis and LifeSport here.