I’ve been meaning to write this post for a few weeks now. I started ramping up my training schedule for 2020 back on February 23rd with a goal of being ready to compete by mid-June but with the end of the big RRSP Investment deadline looming here in Canada and my desire to finish my thoughts on a few other business topics I never found the time.
Day jobs do have a way of taking precedence, don’t they?
My original plan for this post was to give a little summary of what I did in the offseason and lay out some goals and plans for this coming season. Now that health officials all over the world are asking everyone to “self-isolate” and help stop the spread of COVID19 my original plans and goals are probably going to have to evolve. I received notice this morning that my gym is closed for the foreseeable future. I was planning on moving most my training, except for swimming and strength work outside around April 1 anyway so the run and bike work shouldn’t be too affected, but I don’t own a wetsuit and the river is still frozen so swimming is definitely out and it’s kind of hard to practice deadlifts without a barbell.
Such is life, I guess. We must always remember that people are suffering with this illness all over the world. We all need to do our part to help flatten the curve.
But back to the offseason summary. I completed my first Olympic Tri (indoors) on January 20th in a time of 3:24:13. I definitely didn’t break any land speed records but as a first attempt I established a pretty solid baseline for myself moving forward. I had planned to take just two days off and return to the gym ready to work on some offseason maintenance beginning January 23rd but instead, likely as a result of over taxing myself and living in a cold climate, I got a bad cold and ended up in bed for the better part of three days. I didn’t return to the gym until January 27th.
From January 27th to February 22nd I worked on a low intensity offseason plan. Most offseason plans are built to run 8 to 12 weeks. In my case I shortened that to just four so that I could be ready to compete for most of the 2020 season. If you are coming off a regular season that ends sometime in late fall, 8 to 12 weeks is still the preferred time frame. As a new triathlete my body hasn’t been as stressed as much as someone who has just completed a full season so for me four weeks was just fine.
The goal of the plan was to keep my body moving while not over stressing the aerobic system and to slowing begin adding in strength workouts designed to promote flexibility and build lean muscle. Up to this point I had not done much strength work and I recognized that if I want to get faster and lose weight it’s time to drop my aversion to pumping iron and work on overall strength at least twice a week.
On Mondays I swam. Just an easy pace in the pool for no more than 35 minutes. I didn’t worry about any specific drills as the goal was simply to keep my body moving and maintain decent form in the water. The most I completed in that time was 1000m.
Tuesdays and Thursdays were strength days. I completed a circuit of 8 exercises, 4 upper body, arms, chest and shoulders and 4 lower body, legs, hips and buttocks. Since the goal is flexibility and lean muscle, not bulk, I stuck to a relatively low weight that I could push for 15 reps in less than 30 seconds. It took a little trial and error but by the second week I had a pretty good system down for that.
Wednesday was bike day. Every week was the same, 45 minutes with a goal to average 150 watts and 24 km/h. My goal on race day is to maintain a better than 30 km/h pace so this was a more reasonable and easy goal. Weeks three and four I travelled the exact same distance, 18.8 km.
Friday was run day. Again, every week was the same, 35 minutes with a goal of 10 km/h. I was never able to run the whole way but with a bit of intervalling down to 6 km/h and back up once my heart rate was under control, I was able to travel as far as 5.41 km on the last day.
I didn’t really have that many goals for my short offseason other than keeping moving, adding in some strength training and not gaining any weight. I did gain about a pound, but I can chalk that up to variance in clothing and maybe a bit more muscle mass more than anything else.
Presently I am 3 weeks into a 16-week program to be ready for my next Olympic Tri. The original plan was to be competition ready by Jun 14. I was then going to repeat the last 4 weeks of the plan 5 more times thus completing 6 Olympic Tri’s by Nov 1. With COVID19 closing my gym indefinitely and forcing me outside a month early that plan seems to be in serious jeopardy now. I might be able to make up a week or two but if I’m out of the pool for more than 2 weeks I’m afraid I’ll have to push everything back accordingly. Hopefully these things can be resolved quickly and life can get back to normal soon but if the price I have to pay for global health is one or two fewer tri’s this year, I’ll gladly pay.
I hope everyone in your circle is safe, healthy and able to continue earning an income. Keep positive, stay moving and don’t forget to wash your hands.