Since July, most local runners have followed a training program. Each day, the workout is set out for us. Although sticking to a program is the key to the success of any marathon or triathlon season, the routine can quickly stifle our love of the sport.
But with the final big marathon of the season behind us and the shorter distance race season wrapping up in the next few weeks, we can find that joy again. One of the best ways I have found to bring the fun back into training during the off season is to add variety.
- Local gyms – In the past year I have had the opportunity to try classes at several local gyms. I have taken Drums Alive, a class that uses Swiss balls and drum sticks to pound out a workout, pole dancing, a surprisingly tough and definitely unique experience, and Zumba. The fitness industry is changing, giving us a great opportunity to try new classes and add variety once or twice a week to our routines.
- CrossFit – CrossFit is not for the faint of heart. It is also not for the pampered athlete. Generally these classes involve loud music and more sweat than you will work up in the average run. But they are a great way to add the strength training that is often neglected during the racing season.
- Batting Cage – I understand that hitting a baseball is not exactly a total body workout, but after working hard throughout the year, I love adding a day at the batting cage into my routine every week or two. It is a great stress reliever and brings me back to my childhood just a little every time I go.
- Ice Skating – The is open throughout the year but I seldom think about skating until I pull my sweaters out of storage each fall. Ice skating is another nostalgic addition to a good winter fitness routine. Ice skating is a sport I can do alone or with my family. It is also one we have used for day trips, traveling into D.C. on the National Mall or out to Annapolis at Quiet Waters Park to enjoy ice skating in the bright sunlight.
- Yoga – Although yoga should be a part of any good marathon or triathlon training schedule, by the end of racing season yoga is a distant memory. The off season is a great time to focus on yoga, helping your body repair and preparing it for the seasons ahead. One big advantage of focusing on yoga in the colder months is the opportunity it offers to try Bikram or hot yoga. Knowing that you will get to workout in a toasty warm room is a great incentive to add yoga back into your routine.
Most of us will not give up running all together during the off season. If we continue to run at least three days a week we will be able to come back into the racing season ready to go. But adding variety to our routines can help to break up the monotony and add some fun at the same time