Written by Emily Koch, Rev3 Ambassador Team Member
For most of us, our race season is over at this point. Wetsuits are rinsed and squirreled away for next year. The Rev3 staff is doing final cleaning and organizing of the warehouse. Planning is underway for 2016. Wait?!? Planning for next year?? Already??
Before this year, I thought there were only two camps of us end-of-season triathletes. The first group of us have everything planned for next year before the season ends. Their race calendars are filled in, new season goals are set, excitement is running high. These triathletes took advantage of early bird registration and are attacking 2016 already. Big goals take year ’round work. And with these goals, suddenly 2016 is all new, exciting and it’s right around the corner! The second set of us are taking a prolonged break – gaining perspective and taking some solid breathing room from the fray. Their off season is dedicated to catching up on all the missed life that happens during training and racing season. They might pick up their running shoes in a few weeks – maybe after a holiday season filled with more friends and family time than endless swim/bike/run sessions, but there’s no urgency to attacking next year right now. These folks often have winter sports – hockey, skiing – that they look forward to all summer. You’ll see them sign up for races when it feels right, but there’s no rush to hurry through the off-season. Life is too good right now to live 5 months in the future.
I’ve been in both camps before and they are both great places to be. Who can complain about loving life and loving what your are doing? But this year, I learned there is at least one more group of triathletes. The ones who just need a short break to rekindle the fire, a fire that shocking went out at some point when they weren’t looking. This year, I found myself in this previously unknown middle ground, wanting to tackle a huge goal like my friends, but unsure of what that goal should be. I wanted to pick races, but without a goal … which ones do I choose? I want to ski my brains out – but don’t want to give up my in-season structure. I struggled with not knowing how to verbalize what I was feeling. I needed to catch my breath, but I still wanted a populated schedule in Training Peaks. I was still willing to give it all in the workouts, but riding my bike felt like a chore. It was hard to motivate to get to the pool for masters swim. These are things that are normally super enjoyable. I felt lost. I felt alone.
So, I spent some time doing other things I love – hanging out with work friends, getting ready for ski season, picking out my winter vacation, committing just a little more to hard yoga practices. And then I ran. FOR FUN PEOPLE – I ran and I hate running. But I ran new speed work and new hill work and a 5k and I actually had fun, I smiled – a lot. Then I came to a realization… maybe I don’t hate running!! Suddenly the map to 2016 started to fill in. The dreams are returning and goals are emerging. The fire that was nearly out is smoldering again.
Suddenly, I have target races. I’m excited to return to Knoxville (and get more Tupulo Honey deliciousness!!). I want to run the whole hill at Pocono. And I know I have to go back to OOB (the lobster people, the lobster!) My skis are waxed and ready and my ski bag is in the belly of this plane, but I’m also bringing running shoes and goggles on my business trip west.
Off season is your time to evaluate your year, get healthy, and remember why you love this sport. It can be two weeks or two months. Whatever it means to you, fill it with things and people you love. Read a book. Do artwork. Ski, snorkel, dance, color. Do whatever makes you happy. Don’t worry about having key workouts and needing to see all the pieces falling into place. Don’t worry you will be behind if you don’t start preparing now. Instead of setting a date to “get back at it”, listen to your body and heart. When *your* off season ends, the triathlon fire will be burning brightly and you can decide what *you* want from 2016. Go fast? Tackle hills? Try a new distance? Race someplace new? No matter what you want – there is something on the calendar for you.
Know that the Rev3 Team will welcome you with open arms whether you start your race season with us in Knoxville or wait till Cedar Point, whether you signed up early bird, or needed some more time to gather your perspective. We can’t wait to have you back when you are good and ready! And when you get to the start line, rest assured your wetsuit will be waiting, our fires will be burning brightly, the warehouse will be empty, transition will be decked out in Blue, and the family will all be there – the volunteers, the staff and all you athletes. And to that I say … Bring it 2016!!
Emily is a triathlete and passionate skier, craft beer and slow food affeciando, wannabe mountain dweller and full-time dreamer, currently calling the far western suburbs of Philadelphia home. I’m proud to represent Rev3 and I’ll talk you ear off about our staff, races and volunteers if you let me. If I’m not on my bike or on the snow… I’m dreaming about being there.