I push my body daily asking it to find new limits time and time again whether that be mentally or physically. My guess is it gets pretty tired of me always asking it to cooperate. Therefore, I'm kind enough to give it an ice cream season, aka off season.
Two common questions I field...
Are you taking time off?
What does time off exactly mean?
Here are the answers, the important parts of my off season. Take my answers with a grain of salt, as you could ask 10 different athletes and get 10 different answers. All individuals have different needs for down time depending on our physical and mental stress load. The important part, we need to be honest with our individual needs, zero days off is not an honest answer. One thing is consistent amongst most athletes and highly driven individuals. When you push your body and brain whether you workout competitively or casually, whether you work full time or part time; you must take time in life to recover and give yourself a break, you can't ride the wave of top notch mental and physical fitness year round.
My ice cream season aka off season consists of 5 key factors:
Disclaimer: The first race of my upcoming season typically dictates the amount of time I take off. However, I'm pretty adamant for a month off regardless!
1. 2 weeks of NOTHING, NO EXERCISE! The most I will do is chase my nephew around the kitchen island or climb around on the jungle gym, I may be coerced into a walk, maybe.
2. 2 weeks of PLAY TIME! This consists of working out if and when I feel like it. It has to be considered FUN. NO WATCH, NO HR MONITOR, NO POWER METER. Most all of these workouts are with friends and the only must is we chit chat most the way. They get to dictate what we are doing, because I HAVE NO PLAN but to have fun. Trail shoes and mountain bikes are a must in this 2 weeks. Sometimes this two weeks turns into two months, it just depends on the year ;-)
3. No alarm clock. I know real life for most of us dictates an alarm clock, even for me. I do still have a "real job" at Up and Running that pays the bills. You get the point, no setting of the alarm to wake up and "fit life in or workouts in" before work! Wake up and drink lots of coffee and read the comics or something!
4. Icecream and adult beverages is a must! I know you all are twitching reading this right now. I don't eat a gallon a day and chase it with beer or wine, not to worry. Moderation moderation, just a pint! Relax and enjoy your favorite indulgences! For me it's ice cream and a good local brew with friends. P.S. I eat ice cream during the season too, just sayin...
5. Re-aquaint with my hobbies and spend lots of EXTRA time with my family & friends. More energy and less workouts lets me fill my time with hobbies! Call me old, but I like to read and knit too! My favorite days are slumber parties at my sister & brother-in-law's place...my nephew is the bonus ;-) Waking up to play time with a two year old is pretty much perfect. My family and friends sacrifice quite a bit given the time I dedicate to my workouts so spending extra time together is priceless and much needed.
Real life happens too, and the off season goes by in a flash! I get busy just like all of you, but I try to keep everything a bit more in moderation and make my 5 must do's a priority! I tend to work more at my "real" job Up and Running catching up on my to do list. Time off is good for the soul, you should take some too! It only hurts for a couple of weeks when you start working out again. You'll come back rested and stronger both mentally and physically! The off season goes by fast and the alarm clock will be ringing early once again, recovery boots and compression socks become a typical Friday night and my eyes will be closing by 9pm...not to disappoint though I'm still eating ice cream.
Cheers to a fast and healthy 2018!
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