It’s been a great summer in the Pacific Northwest. Summer may take a while to get started, but then we have long days, pleasant temps with dry weather, water sparkling everywhere and beautiful mountains surrounding us. This makes our summers magical! This is truly when the PNW is THE best no matter if you are going for a run, a long bike ride, a hike, a swim or other water fun or even just working in the garden.
And then, seemingly with no warning, summer feels like it is done. Our long, long days are gone and suddenly it’s dark in the morning and way too early in the evening. What’s this wet stuff falling from the sky and what happened to the umbrella?
It’s not over yet but it’s time to get ready!
It's Not Over Yet!
Now is the time to get out and enjoy those activities you love. You’ve got time. The PNW often experiences still pleasant weather into September and October. Fall is still a great time to be outside biking, running, hiking, or even swimming.
Summer is packed full of many events and races. It’s possible that you have just finished a hard training cycle and done your goal event. It’s easy to think of fall as the off season.
What do we mean by "off season?" It does not mean that you stop all activities, but instead fall is a great time to get out and enjoy some unstructured training fun. Think about those activities you wanted to do but did not have time for or did not want to risk injury to do before your big event. Now is the time to give it a try! If you are a runner, get out for a fun social hike or bike ride and revel in being active and fit. Maybe try a paddle board or kayak or whatever tempts you. The possibilities are endless. You’ve earned it.
For many of us, fall is also a time to get some of the projects on our to-do list done. These include projects in the garden or with the house. During the summer, it is easy to be annoyed at taking the time away from training to do these things but now embrace it. Catching up with life is valuable and often underrated. And don’t discount that using your body in different ways can be a great workout and very satisfying.
This is also a great time to stop and reflect and check in with yourself about your fitness and goals. How was the summer for you? Did you meet your fitness goals? Were you able to to progress how you’d hoped?
If you did, great! Now could be the time to rest and recover. Like we said before, this does not mean stopping training but rather approaching training with a different mindset. It may be time to move back to a base building period to gain back some aerobic fitness and for sure use this as a chance to focus on building strength and taking care of any little niggles you were feeling toward the end of the season.
Or, if you didn’t meet all your goal, think about why. Did you struggle with an injury? Was it hard to stay consistent or make time for yourself? What were YOUR challenges? It may be time to evaluate what would be best for you now. Perhaps it’s time to address the injury issue and seek some expert advice to help. Or perhaps it’s time to work on a strategy to try over the fall and winter to help you be more consistent and make time regardless of the weather. These are all great issues to discuss with Coach!
Fall is the time to plan! Don’t wait for all the dark and rain and cold to set in but instead work on creating your habits now. Get your bike trainer ready, find out the pool hours or get your flashlights and reflective gear ready for the rain and dark. Remember those layers? Bring ‘em! And oh yeah, we so appreciate the heated seats in the car.
If you can’t face another run in the dark and wet look into a local gym or some type of fitness classes. Find some friends who might want to try out the same thing or explore with you.
There are also many ways to bring fitness classes to you. There are things like the peloton that let you select a live or recorded class or maybe try out some of our new strength videos! Again, it’s up to you to find what most appeals to you. Finding something you enjoy is key. And how do you know if you'll enjoy it unless you try it!
Long Term Goals
No one workout will make or break your goals. But when it is dark, wet and cold, it is easy to have one skipped workout turn into several. If you do have some long term goals, staying consistent is crucial.
For triathletes, the off season is a great time to focus on swimming and strength. Runners can focus on mobility as well as core and hip strength.
Remember to mix up your workouts. It is easy to fall into the trap of making all your workouts short and hard. It feels like you are getting a lot of bang for your buck. But no matter the distance of your event or goal you will benefit from a larger variety of workouts. Aerobic endurance is the foundation for almost everything and this takes time and is based on easy aerobic effort. Mix it up to keep yourself focused and entertained but work just as hard to get in steady easy efforts to help you build your endurance engine as you do to get in those short and hard efforts.
Feel Like a Badass
Sometimes you just have to suck it up.
We know it can be hard but remember when you couldn’t run or bike or whatever it is you wanted to do because of injury or other issues? Be glad you can now. Recommit to your plan and your goals and even if it is rainy and dark and downright gross, get out there!
Of course when you are done, pat yourself on the back, crow about it and feel like a badass for still getting it done. We’ll cheer you on!