If you’ve been in the sport long enough, you’ve had that season that started off with a lot of promise but ended with lackluster performances or nagging injuries that kept you from reaching your goals. It’s easy to feel discouraged and think that maybe it’s time to hang up your helmet and try something new.
Team Podium member, Casey Hannan can relate to a disappointing season. He copes with it by 'simply focusing on gratitude -- gratitude for: being healthy enough to do this crazy stuff; having a job and means that allows my participation; having a supportive spouse and family, etc. Other thoughts that help me are: taking a long-term view -- I plan to be active for many, many more years so a disappointing season or two over time ain't so bad; there's always something to be learned from the disappointing seasons that can make you a smarter, better athlete; focusing on the process (i.e., training, lifestyle) instead of the outcome (i.e., podium finish, PR).'
Here are our top suggestions to help reinvigorate you as you begin to plan for next year.
Take some time to evaluate the year
What happened and why did it happen? Some things can’t be avoided (like bike accidents, job changes, family emergencies, etc) but there are lessons you can learn. Were you too ambitious with your race schedule with your current life commitments? Are you struggling with an injury because you overtrained or undertrained? Did you attempt to train for a race but your heart just wasn’t in it? Be very honest with yourself about what happened this season to cause you to feel disappointed at the end of it.
Figure out what you really want to accomplish next season and make a plan.
It’s easy to let feelings of disappointment keep you from planning for next season. Suddenly you’ll be busy with the holidays and find yourself well into the next year before you start to plan. Ask yourself what you really want. What do you need to get there? If you need to up your cycling, you may want to invest in a power meter or indoor trainer like the Wahoo Kickr to become a stronger cyclist this winter. If swimming is your weakness, it might be time for swim lessons and to start training with some tools like swim paddles. If you find yourself needing to up your run game, then a run analysis and a tool like the Garmin Running Dynamics Pod could help you see incredible improvements over the winter.
Or maybe what you really want is to actually take a break and try something different. Off-road triathlon is growing in popularity as is swimrun. These events allow you take your endurance training and apply it to a new version of the sport.
Get around new triathletes.
It’s easy to lose the excitement toward the sport but when you talk to someone about their first triathlon, you may find your fire returning. Check out our blog about how Eleanore got into the sport through her relationship with one of our team members. Go volunteer at a triathlon. Help with an info session. All of these things can help remind us of the things we love about the sport.
Sign up to race with a cause.
Triathlon can be a very self-focused sport and sometimes training with a team of athletes who are focusing on a greater purpose can make a big difference. Some of our favorites are:
Hire a coach or change coaches if you have one.
An outsider’s perspective can help motivate you and even if you have a coach, it might be time to mix it up. Another great perk of coaching is that someone is giving you workouts to do on a weekly basis instead of you trying to put a plan together for yourself.
And finally, sometimes you just need a break and that’s okay. You might take the year off or race with no goal except to show up and have fun.