A Beautifully Confused Off-Season

I’m three weeks into a beautifully confused off-season and loving it. It’s been so important for my body and mind to break the year into chunks and I’m just coming off a big one. Here I will share some things I am doing in this chunk that are a bit of a contradiction with what I would normally do but there is a great reason and I am 100% bought in. I better be as it was my idea…ha!

Also, our body and mind needs confusion to thrive…I’m pretty good at the confusion part…planned or not… Hopefully there is a nugget or two you may benefit from in thinking about planning and keeping things fresh while you reach whatever goals you have and I would love to learn from you so please share.

Three weeks ago ended my duathlon season for the year and that came with a heavy training load the preceding months. When I was finished with the final race I was ready to decompress a bit both mentally and physically. I wasn’t burned out or injured but to prevent each from happening, these chunks in the year help me do that.

The first thing I did after the race was an excursion to Key West and I mean right after the race. I drove from Clermont, Florida to Key West and played for two days before heading home. Even Eliza, my racing bike, enjoyed the downtime resting in bed (caught in the act in the featured photo) while I was out on the paddle board and then going for easy rides along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. I didn’t even run for three days…

On day four I wanted to run so, I ran. That’s how I took the first week. I didn’t have a plan other than I knew I would not have a run or bike with any effort…only for play. It was glorious. I do LOVE my training plans – the structure, commitment, and feel that I’m charging to a goal. But not on that week or the next. It was chill time for the mind and body.

When week two came along I kept my typical off day the same, Monday. When Tuesday came I went to track practice and ran without effort. That was the plan for week two as well…no effort in any activity. What was funny about the week was I woke up every day with an extreme desire to run. Just run… and that I did. I ram without effort everyday that week with the exception of my off day and I felt fantastic. Run to run… I wanted and needed to run…

In the grand scheme of my chunks I was ok with packing in some extra run miles on the week even though I was decompressing a bit. It was actually the most run miles I logged in a week this year. I didn’t have the competition of the bike stealing any morning workouts so it was a bit easy to do.

When week three came around last week I was ready to begin a new focus and that was to begin a build up for a few run races to improve my 5k & 10k times for next duathlon season. I’m going to try a couple new things to shave off a few seconds… So at Tuesday track I began with my first effort and it felt great to do speed work again. I finished the week with a heavy run load but felt great with a couple hard efforts mixed in. The puzzle piecing of workouts is so much fun!

The Beautiful Confusion Begins

During the three weeks I was also contemplating two other focus areas. One was starting a new weight and stability training plan I’ve been developing with my doctor and the other was to compete in a relay race where I’m the bike guy sandwiched between the swim and run at Challenge Daytona December 6.

The weight and stability training plan meshes beautifully with the run plan. The confusion is with bringing the bike back in the mix much earlier than I would normally plan…but I LOVE it and I CAN’T WAIT to race Challenge Daytona.

I’ve discussed this in previous blogs but I always anchor to my “why” first and that has to be crystal clear. I ask myself a few questions in this space:

  • Why am I doing this?
  • What do I want to do?
  • How do I do it?

In this context and where I am closing out this year I already have the end game in place within my head for next September (World Championships) so it makes it easier to plan.

Some of my – Whys – I love to race, compete and push my body to the limit. I just love that. I want to learn about myself as a person and athlete as I fail, succeed, fall down and grow.

Some of my – What I want to dos – I want to compete and represent Team USA in a great way at the Duathlon National & World Championships in 2021. To do this I need to get faster and stronger.

How do I do it? – I need to stay mentally and physically fresh and chunk my year to be peaking at each big event both mentally and physically. I believe I have a huge opportunity to get stronger and faster on the bike while trying to shave off seconds on the run. That is what this offseason will propel me to do and I will continue to divide my year in chunks to be fresh and fast when I need to be. I also need the help of others’ expertise in fine tuning my individual plan and I’m in the midst of that now for 2021 and that will never stop. Never stop learning about yourself and your craft.

So this all sounds great but what about this bike thing right now? Why am I bringing the bike back in the mix in my offseason?!?!? Because my head needs it. And in many cases that is just as important as the physical component.

Earlier this year I was not able to race with my teammate, Dylan Nolan, at the St. Anthony’s Triathlon where we had won the sprint triathlon relay in 2019 due to the race being canceled (COVID). After that we both had our individual priorities as he runs Cross Country and Track for Tampa Prep and I had to focus on what I was hoping to compete in during the fall, the National Championships that did not materialize in the end.

As the fall rolled around however there was an opportunity for us to race together after his Cross Country and my Duathlon season ended and that was Challenge Daytona which has grown into a huge race. With all the curveballs this year has thrown at all of us I wanted to compete in a race for fun (but still compete!) and what better way to do that than do a relay with Dylan.

We have trained together for about two years and he is just the greatest young man who also just yesterday placed 11th at the Florida State High School Cross Country Championships and was the 1st Sophomore to finish. To add to the accomplishment he had a personal best time…wow!

So we registered and want to do this as a FUN thing to do but race our butts off. There will be no holding back but we will have a blast supporting the heck out of each other going around the famous Daytona 500 Speedway track.

I started the three week thrust of bike training yesterday and it was a fantastic beatdown. It will take me three weeks to get back the small fitness I lost but I will be ready to rock and roll and hold up my end of the relay on December 6. Dylan who also qualified for the Florida State High School Championships in two swimming events and just completed the cross country race noted earlier will handle the swim and run portions of the relay in grand style.

When it is over I will place the bike to side again for a bit while I focus on the other training aspects to reach my 2021 goals but I’m excited for this opportunity in a BIG way! What an atmosphere it will be…

The biggest takeaways here I would say is first – know your “Why” about anything you do and be intentional about what you want to do and how you go about it. Have fun, break up your year or whatever time periods you choose, and – Confuse the body and mind…it’s a great thing!

– Add Health to Your Life

2019 St. Anthony’s Triathlon – Dylan and I raced our butts off to win the Sprint Triathlon Relay. In 18 months he has grown so much…I think he is closing in my height. And he’s faster in both the run and swim than last year and I’m stronger on the bike…I can’t wait for Challenge Daytona!

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