By Alyssa Godesky
One of the most common themes I see throughout the year with athletes, is that all too often training and racing becomes something they “have” to do. Getting up for workouts becomes a dreaded thing. Motivation runs low, and when a goal race is months away, that feeling of today’s workout really making a difference for a race is hard to conjure. This is all too common in the offseason months we are in now, when the days are shorter and that lack of sunlight really starts to mess with every triathlete’s brain!
Well, this is my reminder to you to start 2016 remembering something…..something that most likely, you used to know: TRIATHLON IS FUN! I wrote down a few thoughts to help you remember that and make sure you enter the new year with that at the forefront of your mind:
1. Make sure you take a break! Even the pros take time off throughout the year. This is very important to give your body a break, but also your mind. It may be 2 weeks or 2 months, but try to lose some of the structure and just do what seems like fun to keep moving and staying active.
2. Use some of that downtime to “take inventory.” You might be twiddling your thumbs without workouts (or, maybe not!) – but, use that time to put yourself ahead of the game for next season. Stock up on your nutrition. Take a look at your bike. I touch base with the team at Dimond bikes to get their opinions on what I can do to make my bike a little “fitter” for next year as well. If your workout attire has seen more than couple of seasons, it might be time to refresh that as well. Nothing says “bring on 2016” like a new Smashfest Queen kit or bathing suit. You know the old adage “look fast, go fast” – well, it’s true! So get your gear in order!
3. Make yourself pick a race because it would be FUN. Don’t pick a race because it has a fast swim or a flat run. Pick it because you have heard that the crowd support is amazing. Because it’s right next to an amusement park you’ve always wanted to go to. Because the t-shirts look cool. Because there’s a boatload of vineyards right next door you can visit afterwards. When your sole purpose for a race is to have fun, it’s amazing how much less stress you’ll be putting on yourself for the training too.
4. Plan a training adventure! Some of the most fun I have had training all started with an email that began with “this could be a terrible idea, but what do you think about….” Most recently, this is how my good friend and training partner, Leslie Miller, and I ended up riding from her house to my house one day, and back the next, totaling 235 miles in 2 days. Day one included some bonus miles as we got ourselves lost, and some choice words as the “hangry” set in mid-ride, but nothing could overshadow the laughs we had or how fun it was to be outside on two wheels on a route we’d only thought to drive before.
This was, of course, made possible with a mild winter this season. If that’s not the case, then plan a winter getaway. I head to Tucson every year for Hillary Biscay and Maik Twelsiek’s camp. New roads to ride on, new friends to make, and challenges to conquer (Mt Lemmon never gets easier; you just go faster!). This is a surefire way to rekindle some of that “spark” you may have lost in your triathlon relationship since the season ended.
5. Change your mental game. When you catch yourself saying “you have to go workout” try to switch it to “I get to go workout.” We all know that having the physical ability, support from family and friends, and even the financial means to do this sport is not something that every athlete has. Sure, there are going to be hard days and even hard weeks. But when the weeks become months, that’s when you should definitely pause and reassess. Sports mirror life in so many ways, including the ups and downs. If you can find ways to help turn the low points of sport around, you will bring that mentality into everyday life as well. It’s a win-win!
Here’s to a 2016 season full of fun!
Alyssa Godesky has been a professional triathlete since 2014. Her 2015 season brought her the most success yet, placing 6th and 4th at IM Copenhagen and IM Vichy respectively, just one week apart from each other. When she is not racing, you can find her running and riding the roads and trails around Charlottesville, Virginia. Check out Alyssa’s sponsors and blog at www.alyssagodesky.com.