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Hello Off Season

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First of all, thank you to those of you who sent encouraging words after I announced I was not racing this past weekend. When I was feeling down in the dumps about it on Sunday, reading your supportive comments helped me to feel better! I know deep down I made the right decision, but it’s never hard to back out of a race, even when you are 100% sure it’s the best idea. I know this decision has put me in a better place for the 2015 season and now I am fired up and hungry for 2015!

This week starts my official ‘off season.’ I am in complete REST mode for this entire week (the struggle is real… not a fan of rest). Let’s just say it’s been weird opening up my training email each morning and seeing this:

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The only type of exercise I will be doing is walking the dog and going for 20-30 min walks during my lunch time. Speaking of walking the dog, I had a beautiful walk at the park with my mom and Oliver on Sunday. The temperature has definitely started to feel like November around here (mid 40’s) and the air is crisp… I love it!

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How I feel about off season…

Well, it kind of sucks. Let’s just say I’ve never been good at taking at break from exercise, or even taking it easy.  I need my daily endorphin rush and without it, I feel like something is seriously missing. On top of not knowing what to do about all my free time, I start to feel pretty gross. I know I should enjoy the downtime, since I deserve it, but it’s certainly a mental battle.

While the desire to exercise is definitely physical, there is also a HUGE mental component… it’s a true addiction.  It’s easier for me to train 20 hours/week at high intensity than it is for me to rest and not train.  I truly think off season is more difficult than the actual in-season training. There is nothing I hate more than doing nothing. Honestly, if i didn’t have a coach telling me to take an off season, I probably wouldn’t even be taking a break right now.  For example, two years ago when I wasn’t being coached, I did Crossfit on the days where I should have been resting… very bad! This time however, I am listening and being smart about off season, as hard as it may be.

I have no structured plan for THREE whole weeks. My next training cycle will start on the week of November 24th, which will be base training for the Boston Marathon.  I basically have a month of no structure and I’m kind of dreading it. I thrive on structure! Then again, I do look forward to getting strong and healthy while giving my body a break from the swim/bike/run life.

What does off season look like?

  • Week one: This week = total REST. I’m treating myself to a deep tissue massage for my birthday (which is Friday!). What a great week to rest, birthday week… a perfect coincidence.
  • Week two: Light workouts. I’ll introduce some light biking and swimming back to my schedule, but no running. I’ll also focus on body work and some strengthening exercises from my chiropractor. The focus right now is isometric strengthening of glutes, hips and hamstrings! One exercise I’m focusing on is holding a DEEP lunge, while firing up my hamstrings and glutes, NOT my quads. As you can see it’s HARD and it burns!. Please excuse my pasty white skin in this photo:

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  • I am taking a full two weeks off of running to give my knee (and body) a break.
  • Week three: Continue with light, random workouts. Reintroduce running while keeping things easy.
  • Week four: Start the BASE phase of my training for the Boston Marathon. I’ll start up REALLY easy though, no high mileage for a while.  I might even do some deep water running.

What does off season mean for fueling?

The focus will be on eating healthy, real food… but also not stressing too much about a perfect diet. I emailed my nutritionist about what I should be doing for ‘fuel’ during this off season period. She told me it’s actually OK to not follow a strict diet during these few weeks and that I can break the rules a little bit. She even recommended eating whatever I wanted during this period and that gaining some lbs could benefit the start of my 2015 season.  While I don’t plan on that happening, it’s good to know it will melt right off.

This is where the mental struggle comes into play. I’m already having to deal with and fight the body image demons. Given this ‘rest’ period, some of my body image demons are trying to return. Without exercising at a high level, I tend to feel gross about myself and dwell on the fact that I’m not training. I need to realize that I won’t get ‘fat’ over a few weeks and that I will return back to my crazy exercising self in no time. Realizing this can be REALLY hard for someone like me, who’s struggled with distorted body image.

So much free time! What do I do with all of it?

  • Lots of doggie walks with the hubs and Oliver
  • Clean and organize the house i.e. finally hanging things on the walls that have been in a pile for months

 I love this print given to me by my parents after finishing IMMT- it’s finally on the wall!

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  • Cook… A LOT. This past weekend I cooked a bunch and loved it! I even baked dessert for the first time in probably a year. Before Ironman training, I used to bake all the time. Off season and Fall are the perfect combination for baking! I baked an apple oat crisp and it was delicious: recipe HERE.  I substituted coconut sugar for brown sugar and added some walnuts.

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  • Get more sleep. During the season, I wake up at or before 5:00 AM during the week. During the off season, my wakeup call is 7:00/7:30 AM. This means I’ll be getting close to 8-9 hours of sleep a night versus 6-7 hours during the season. Bring on more shut eye!
  • I might get a little cranky. I need my exercise and the endorphin rush, without it, I get a little crabby.
  • Try and stay mentally tough. It’s REALLY hard for me to rest and relax. I am trying to tell myself that I need an off season to be strong in the next season. I mean even the Pro’s have an off season… I should too!
  • Just enjoy the free time. My goal is to enjoy the extra hours in my day and truly make the best of it. I know this will all pay off in the end…

 

And just for fun.. Oliver’s Halloween costume! Batwestie!

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how to do you battle the body image demons when you can’t exercise?

Any tips for surviving the off season?

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17 Comments

  • Reply Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles November 5, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    I hate time off too, but as we get older, I’d like to think we get smarter about our training and we realize to be the best athlete we can be, we need the rest. You are doing all the right things (including the baking, I wish you were still here so I could eat all your great stuff!!) and getting in lots of walks with Oliver!! November 24th will be here before you know it and the laser focus on Boston will be back in full effect!

    • Reply Kristin November 12, 2014 at 2:51 am

      It’s true Sara, I think I’m getting wiser about ‘rest’ with age. I think perhaps it’s because we have learned the hard way? I wish I could share my desserts with you too! You’re right… time flies and I’ll be back to training in no time.

  • Reply Christie Krompel November 5, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Hey lady! In a very similar situation as you with ‘off season.’ Here are a couple articles that (maybe didn’t make it easier) but help me stay on track with taking off season serious.

    http://www.bloglovin.com/frame?post=3660461823&group=3754598&frame_type=b&context=undefined&context_ids=undefined&blog=3754598&frame=1&click=0&user=0

    http://thetrialofmilesmilesoftrials.blogspot.com/2014/11/off-season.html

    Would you mind sharing your nutritionist that you work with? I am trying to find someone.

    xoxo/Christie

    • Reply Kristin November 12, 2014 at 2:57 am

      Hi lady! I’m happy to hear you are in the same shoes as me right now… it’s hard isn’t it?! Thanks so much for sharing those blog posts, loved reading both. Funny enough, Linsey and Beth are both with QT2 systems, and so am I… different coaches of course;) They are my inspiration! Yes happy to share my nutritionist info. I work with the Core Diet and they have been fantastic. I had an analysis done and a race fueling plan done this past summer. Both were EXTREMELY valuable to my training and racing. http://www.thecorediet.com/ My actual nutritionist is Rachel Baker. Let me know if you have any other questions! xo

  • Reply Lee@tri*inspired*life November 5, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    I understand many of your points. I know the other night I had planned a workout and even in my “off season”, I am getting in 6 days/week. However, a family matter came up and I was not able to get in my planned workout. I felt like I really NEEDED a workout, but also I understand that life gets in the way. I was able to get in 15-20 minutes of yoga and it was not really not my first choice, it was a great compromise for that day. Afterward, my body felt much happier (even with the shortened time) and despite it not being a huge calorie burn, I know yoga is so good for the body which makes me happy!

    • Reply Kristin November 12, 2014 at 3:00 am

      I think it’s great you’re still getting in 6 days/week of training during the off season. Although, I’m sure it’s much different than your training during the in-season:) At least it must keep you busy! Life totally gets in the way and sometimes we need to remember how hard we work during IM training… we DESERVE a break! Yoga sounds lovely… I need to start going again:) It is so good for you too!

  • Reply Natalie @ Free Range Human November 5, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    I can definitely identify with your struggle regarding body image. Those old demons come calling whenever I take an extended break from exercise. I usually combat it by giving extra attention to some other hobbies that I enjoy which helps me focus on the bigger picture!

    • Reply Kristin November 12, 2014 at 3:01 am

      It’s so hard Natalie… a constant struggle. Absolutely, it’s important to stay busy so those demons don’t come back to haunt us. Last week I did SO much around the house.. cooking, cleaning, organizing… anything to stay busy! And you are right, focusing on the bigger picture is KEY.

  • Reply Bri November 6, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    I’m in the same boat as you! I struggle with off-season but know, as a strength coach, how important it is to come back better and stronger for next year and how it helps you avoid overtraining syndrome. My month also includes lots of doggy walks, eating lots of food, yoga and other light activities! Enjoy the break, and know you’re doing exactly what your body needs to do!

    • Reply Kristin November 12, 2014 at 2:50 am

      Thank you Bri! I’m glad I’m not alone:) Awesome that you’re a strength coach! It’s so important to come back stronger for next year and to work on our weaknesses during the off-season. I’m trying to enjoy the break, while also working on some rehab exercises for my glutes and hips. I need to get them STRONG for next season! Oh and puppy walks are the BEST.

  • Reply Abby November 6, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Happy early birthday!!
    So good to take the break, even when it’s tough! At least you have Oliver to get out and enjoy the fresh air 🙂
    Adorable red jacket!
    My only tip for surviving the off season is to immerse yourself in everything you put off during heavy training! And, take the time to enjoy being still, whether it’s just reading a good book or watching a good movie!

    • Reply Kristin November 12, 2014 at 2:48 am

      Thanks Abby!! You are right, I have been trying to work on a GIANT to-do list I’ve had since finishing IMMT. As hard as it is to enjoy being ‘still’ I need to realize that I’ve earned this and it’s good for me:) Thanks for the advice!

  • Reply Desiree November 6, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    I have been in your shoes before and kind of feel like it now during this week in marathon taper. Off season is just as important as training and I myself will enter it after Saturday’s marathon. I also have those body image demons that come creeping back but getting plenty of rest and good nutrition helps me stay positive. I also do all the things I have been putting off. My whole kitchen has been deep cleaned and organized just this week. Oh and I’m sure Oliver and Todd are happy to have some extra time with you. Westie walks are the best!! That apple crisp looks yummy and I think will make it too. Happy early birthday and I wish you a happy and healthy (and strong) 2015 season. 🙂

    • Reply Kristin November 12, 2014 at 2:46 am

      I also like to do everything I’ve been putting off during off season. This also applies to the taper, like you mentioned before the marathon:) Oh and Oliver is definitely happy to have extra time with me… Todd too of course! Thanks for the birthday wishes!!

  • Reply Cassie @ Rural Running Redhead November 12, 2014 at 3:44 am

    Oh my gosh, the body image thing is such a struggle. I can read all the books/articles in the world that say gaining a couple of pounds during the off-season is good… and I still freak out about it. And now I read your post and all these comments saying exactly what I think… seriously, ladies, we need to get our crap together. 🙂

    • Reply Kristin November 21, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      It’s SO hard Cassie! Honestly… always a struggle. I’m right there with you girlfriend… no matter what people tell me, I still freak out about it and feel disgusting the moment I start training less. It’s sad we all have to feel this way!

  • Reply ig February 27, 2017 at 2:45 am

    Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the
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