Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Post Season Let Down

by Gina Kehr

It is that time of year. Weather is changing, holidays are starting and a new year is less than two months away. The triathlon season is all but wrapped up and with that comes the lull that follows hyperfocus for an extended period of time. Some people refer to it as the Ironman blues since Ironman is the distance that requires such a hyperfocus for 12 to 20 weeks. In reality anyone can experience the let down that follows a major build up and peak for a major event. I have experienced it as far back as my swimming days in the weeks following NCAAs. I see my athletes on the Stanford triathlon team experience the let down post collegiate conference for some and collegiate nationals for others.

Some of the signs that you may dealing with a little let down from a major focus:

  • Loss of drive and motivation
  • Fatigue
  • Cravings for sugar and carbs
  • Mood swings

If you look closely many of these are also signs of depression. If you have experienced or are experiencing these at an excessive level you may want to seek a medical professional. If you are experiencing some of these but can still find joy when you get up in the morning then you are most likely experiencing the let down. The question to ask yourself is how to handle it.

1. Know it is coming
The first and most important thing is to recognize that the lack of mojo is normal, give yourself a break and allow yourself to have some down time. For the past three to six months you have been following a structured schedule and have made many decisions based on this one goal. It is natural to feel a bit lost and bewildered.

2. Accept it and give yourself a week or two to deal and don’t fight it
I remedy this lull, mojo-less period for my athletes by scheduling a “no training schedule” as a training schedule in their Training Peaks accounts. I schedule them to workout when they want to and do whatever they want. I may even schedule “go to coffee with a friend” as a prescribed workout.

3. When getting back in the groove, ease yourself back with off-the-wall type workouts
After the necessary break I will have my athletes do some training regimes that they normally would not do. This goes true for those athletes who may be peaking a few times a year, not just those that peak at the end of the season. My current athletes who peaked between September and October are hitting the gym quite a bit and doing short hard workouts that take less than 45 minutes. It gets their endorphins going and doesn’t allow them to get broken down. Their minds stay fresh allowing them to build back their mojo so they can refocus with full tanks on their next goals.

Gina Kehr was a professional athlete for 15 years, competing in events ranging from Olympic Trials to Ironman World Championships, where she achieved five Top 10 finishes in her career. She coaches athletes of all levels and all distances. Her experience comes from her journey as a novice age group triathlete who quickly worked her way to becoming an established professional triathlete. Gina also works with the Stanford Tri team, is a coach with Stanford Masters and leads a squad of short and long course athletes. You can read more about Gina at AffinityMultisport.com.
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