I have a confession to make...I haven’t sat on my bike in three months. I can count how many times I’ve been in the pool in that time on one hand. I’ve only laced up my sneakers twice a week on average. I wrapped up the 2017 triathlon season with my first half Ironman finish, racked my bike, and took a nice long break.
Now that doesn’t mean I’ve been sitting on my couch eating Bonbons. Quite the opposite! My yoga practice returned. I’ve been hitting the weights in the gym and even rekindled my love for group fitness classes that kick my tush in a different way.
I often see triathletes on my IG feed hitting the trainer hard in the dead of winter and think, Wow, I must not be a dedicated triathlete. What does a “good” triathlete look like? Does it matter if I swim/bike/run all year long, or is it ok that my interests shift with the seasons? What benefits are there to mix it up and give your body a break from all that cardio? As a fitness instructor and yoga teacher, I’ve learned that mixing it up is important to prevent burn out and challenge my body in different ways.
When thinking about yoga, flexibility is the first thing that comes to mind. Improved range of motion, hip and shoulder mobility, these are all great benefits of the physical practice of yoga. Core strength is a big focus of most styles of yoga. The physical benefits alone are attractive enough to roll out your mat but don’t forget about body awareness, increased focus, and cultivating a calm mind even if there is chaos around you.
Strength training is also an important piece of the puzzle. The power, endurance, and stability we can gain from lifting weights can increase our performance and reduce injuries during peak training.
And what about the mental break from constant training? If you are like me and need to “miss it” a bit, then shift your focus to some new and fun ways to keep fit in the offseason. Many of us do not do this to podium, we do it to have fun and challenge ourselves. Burn out is real, and incorporating some different fitness endeavors in the offseason can keep you “tri-ing” for years to come!
Written by Kelly Crouthamel
Follow Kelly on Instagram! @kkc1927