Spring is coming. Really? If you, like I do, live in a part of the country that has had a very rough winter, especially during the past month of February, you might not actually believe that. Actually, my part of the country, the New York Metropolitan region (I live in Port Jefferson on Long Island), has not had it nearly as bad as other parts, like New England, the Mid-West, and even much of the South. But yes, spring will eventually get here and where you live too, and we will be able to start racing again, first, perhaps in a Du or two, and then on to the Tri’s, or perhaps, like me, you will stay mainly with the Du’s for the season. And so what to do for the upcoming season, in light of the really miserable winter, in terms of the weather, that many of us have had.
We are all, of course, all anxious to get back to racing. Some of us ordinarily do work out out-of-doors during the winter. For myself, while I used to when I was much younger, my winter routine is now primarily to be found indoors, with riding the stationary bike a bit, stretching, and lifting in my own gym in my basement (lucky me!) But if you have routinely spent some of your winter training time out-of-doors, you have very likely had to cut back, because of the weather. And if you are like me, because of the weather your starting up outside again will be delayed, or at least cut back some.
And so, what are my main words of advice? Here they are: “caution” and “patience.” Don’t push it, either in your training at this time of year or in your early season racing. The season is a long one. If you feel that you must go out on an icy/snowy pavement (which I do not recommend) go slow and choose your footing carefully. Many years ago, I went running on an icy day, thought I was being careful, but slipped and broke my ankle. I did that two days before I was to leave for Florida for a week’s cruise on a self-skippered sailboat that I had actually won in a raffle. The first couple of days sailing that boat with my foot in a cast wasn’t really fun.
Although that particular injury, incurred in mid-winter, didn’t happen to interfere with my racing season, one occurring now could do so. And yes, you may have your heart set on an early season duathlon, but if you can’t get in enough training for it, it is much better to skip it than to go out there and get hurt. My first race of the season is always Dan Honig’s New York Triathlon Club March Madness in New York City’s Central Park. My entry is in. BUT.
Usually I ski during the first two weeks of March. While skiing for the most part isn’t aerobic (or shouldn’t be, if you know what you are doing, and as a retired ski instructor I can say that if you don’t, you don’t belong out there), it does get the blood circulating and the muscles limbered up. Well, this season I am not skiing, so that part of my prep. is not there. Then, I usually get two weeks of doing some outdoor work before the race. With the weather the way it’s been, that may not happen either.
And so, will I force myself through the race that I love to do, at the risk of incurring an injury? You can bet your sweet pitootie, no I will not. I’ve got a long, good season planned. You may well have one too. Don’t ruin it by trying to defy Mother Nature. She will have her way, and if you go with the flow, you can have a great season, even if it means missing that first race or two.
This series of thoughts and recommendations about multi-sport racing by Dr. Steve Jonas is, over time, drawn in part from his book, 101 Ideas and Insights for Triathletes and Duathletes (Monterey, CA: Healthy Learning/Coaches Choice, 2011), from which text is used with permission. The book can be purchased here and is available at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.
Steve’s most recent multisport book is Duathlon Training and Racing for Ordinary Mortals®: Getting Started and Staying with It (Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press/FalconGuides, 2012), available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.
His first book on multi-sport racing, Triathloning for Ordinary Mortals®, 2nd Ed. (New York: WW Norton, 2006) also can be found at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.