For most people, the racing season inevitably comes to an end. This is a time to scale back on training (maybe stop all-together for some) both in volume and intensity, and rejuvenate. This time of year may be welcomed by some with open arms, as a time to relax and enjoy life at a more leisurely pace (what’s that?!), to reconnect with old friends that may have been forgotten amidst the Swim/Bike/Run schedule, and to tend to other things neglected between work, workouts, eating, and washing those sweaty clothes that always seem to accumulate too quickly. You can shop for things other than running shoes, gels, Gatorade, and other such staples. (What else is there?!)
At the end of every season for me though, it is met with sadness – it’s done already?! Is there another race I can find and do? Last year I ended with a half-marathon at 13 weeks of pregnancy, a week later had a bike accident, and I accepted that my season was done. This year I signed up for my first marathon. There are seven weeks between my duathlon and the marathon, two of which have been mainly recovery, leaving 5 weeks – enough time for about 4 long runs. If I chose not to count my HIM run training, this might be the shortest marathon training period. I’m strangely optimistic though. However, after it’s said and done, I’ll most likely not recommend this format to anyone.
Withdrawal – or “post-season blues” (it’s been six months, so I can’t claim that I am just now having post-baby blues) – may vary from person to person, but it may include some of the following: looking up races and planning your next season (if you haven’t started already), evaluating your past season and laying out your off-season training blocks to address your weaknesses, making a wish-list of gear you would like to acquire by the next season, or in the long run. You may find yourself eating as if you were still in your build period, but then no longer admiring that build period physique when you were at race weight. You realize water in itself is sufficient for your “workouts” (f you can even call them that anymore) and you don’t need to be concerned about replenishing calories, electrolytes or salt while out running or biking. You may suddenly find yourself sitting there with NOTHING to do, as you no longer have to block out HOURS of your day for S/B/R, and you feel strange, and then anxious, and then you get the shakes – where is that adrenaline fix?!
There is still a warmth in the air and you long to put your tires to pavement before the winter comes and you are confined to your trainer and staring at a wall – or sufferfest videos, both painful I understand. But, dear fellow triathlon junkies, this is a time to embrace, to catch up on life, to refocus for the next season, refresh your body and your mind, take a deep breath and enjoy this time to be STILL. Or sign-up for a marathon. Whichever.