So far I have won about $100 worth of merchandise etc from paddling, not a motivating factor obviously, but at this rate I may end up earning more from paddling than I did from triathlon. Hmmm.
With this race done and dusted, that is pretty much the paddling season all over until about August, it turns out it follows a pretty similar calendar to the triathlon season in Australia.
With racing done for a few months the question now comes of what do I do for the next few months to keep myself busy. The very tempting answer is to say that I hibernate during the cold months drinking hot chocolate and catching up on Netflix. That probably isn't the most constructive answer though.
The real answer for what I plan to do over the off-season is train some more. I may take a more relaxed approach to the training and the focus of the training will be different as I try to work more on base miles and cross training than intensity, but the general idea will be exercise. The answer why the focus is exercise is simple. It is because I would like to get better.
From my own experience and from what we see at Front Runners, the athletes who improve the most and the fastest are those that train the most consistently. That consistency isn't just an in season thing though, it is actually consistency across the entire year. We would usually recommend people take a couple of relaxed weeks at the end of the year to refresh mentally, but other than that we encourage people to train throughout the year.
When you work throughout the year improvements in fitness, strength and technique are built upon, week after week and month after month. Training for a few months to prepare for a race, then taking a break for a few months before training again may bring gains, but they are going to be much slower as the body de-conditions during the rest period and needs to build up again at the beginning of the season. In an experienced athlete the body is always going to maintain a certain level of fitness and strength, which means the rebuild is relatively quick, however, this model of training is likely to only maintain fitness and strength rather than improve it. For me, I am keen to keep building, which means training through the off-season is the training model for me.
The off season is also a great time to build a nice solid base of fitness on which you can build the rest of your season. The off season is a great time for long, steady base miles and strength work. The sort of training that builds a large and strong engine that can then be pushed during the on season. I am not so sure I am looking to build a big engine these days, but the principle is still the same.
The days may be short and the mornings dark and cold, but if I am honest, I can't wait.