Find Your “Bucket of Motivation” This Off-Season and Try a New Sport


ThMatt Paddleis year my “off-season” started a bit earlier than I was planning- or that I had hoped it would.  My plan was to end the year representing the U.S. at the ITU Long Course World Championships. In the middle of September I raced the 70.3 World Champs (where I was 14th-3rd American), and just 7 days later I placed 2nd at Branson 70.3.  After these 2 extremely difficult courses with great competition, I was physically broken (lower leg strain)– and let’s just say my “bucket” must have had a leak in it after over 10 Half-Ironman distance races for the year. I tried my best to take some time offMatt Paddle1 to “refill” while home in Bend, and then a week of trying to see if the leak was fixed and testing the leg while I was in Hawaii to commentate the Ironman World Championships. It turns out the leg was just a little too sore from hard racing, and secondarily my “bucket” was empty.  So now it’s time to refill and prep for next year.

Refilling for me is usually a couple steps  back, before any forward progress is made.  A little bit of indulgences in food and libations and late nights with friends do not help the physical state, but for me have an impact on the “bucket” in a positive way.  Then I began making positive deposits in my “bucket” with physical activity.  I learned how to Stand Up Paddle, taught by none other than SUP superstar and Paddler of The Year Jenny Kalmbach. I swam with some turtles down at the Mauna Lani beachMatt Paddle2. Even did some buddy runs with Jesse Thomas along the Kona coast. Deposit, Deposit, Deposit. Now back in Bend I have spent my off-season by being a little more structured and adding swim workouts, some yoga and functional fitness and other actual training.  This is a great time to focus on getting excited to race and train into next year’s season. I’ve been spending a lot of time riding my Trek Mountain and Cross bikes, and enjoying the fall colors with friends.  Even a few “puppy runs” with faithful off-season four-legged training partner Mili. The snow will begin to fall soon, so I can add some Skate Skiing into the mix. By the New Year, who knows, maybe I’ll have the motivation in my bucket to do 10 hours a week inside riding on the trainer? Well, until then, off to more “bucket” filling activities for me– until coach Matt Dixon decides it is time to make some withdrawal.

Forerunner910XT_HR_101.2If I can give any words of wisdom to those who have had a full and tiring racing season in 2011 it would be: Diversify. Have fun doing some fun and new sports and outdoor recreation.  Use the mountain bike to get some early season fitness, or try your hand at snowshoeing, go on a trail run. Just do something different that will give your head some rest while giving your body a break from tMatt wavehe in and out of repetitive training.  One of the amazing benefits of the Garmin Forerunner 910XT is that I can track ALL of my off-season activities as well as my tri specific training and racing. Stand up paddle- Cross bike ride- Mountain bike ride- Skate Ski- Snow Shoe- Puppy run- hike. Whatever it is, I can keep track of time- distance- heart rate- calories burned -all the good info you need to keep ya thinking you are actually training. Happy off-season to everyone!!

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