If you lived a day in the life of Marni and Karel right now, you would be doing a lot of the following:
Guess what... We are LOVING every day of it!
And beyond taking a little time off, we are going to change up a few things next season as to how we train throughout our season, as we focus on performing the best possible, in the best shape possible, in Kona, Hawaii next October.
Reducing training doesn't mean stop eating or avoid carbs or do the complete opposite and eat anything in sight and do nothing with your body. It means eat similar foods that nourished you while training but in smaller portions and with slight modifications to macronutrient distribution (carbs, protein, fat) to keep you satisfied between meals (with small snacks to hold you over between meals).
I will also only be racing one Ironman next year to ensure that I peak appropriately for Kona. After Kona, I am taking a break from IM racing for at least a year but probably closer to 1.5-2 years just to give my body a break. I love Ironman racing and I love my lifestyle as a triathlete but it is not my life. I absolutely do not need to race Ironman triathlons to be healthy, to manage my life and to de-stress.
I will always feel comfortable calling myself a triathlete, even when I'm not racing in Ironman races.
Here are a few tips of mine as to what to focus on during your off season.
Lastly, as mentioned above, a healthy body comes in a variety of sizes and right now, you are not expected to perform with your body. Gaining a few lbs is not the end of the world and for many, can be extremely healthy. Also, 2-6 weeks off now is preceding 8-10 months of structured training. I would suggest to not be so focused on what may happen now but instead, think about what you should do now to help set you up for a great upcoming season. No need to overindulge but no need to be strict. Learn to eat like a non-athlete and feel great about it so that come race season you will have a body that is healthy and primed to perform.
Certainly you should always be eating healthy to nourish your body but during the season you get a bit of slack every now and then with the diet due to expending so many calories. But if you hold a high standard as to what your body should look like right now (as well as all year long), I encourage you to consider the different phases of your season and how the body changes according to the work load which is supported by adequate fuel. There is going to be a time when you want your body to perform and that time will come with moths of previous training, good nutrition and fueling and a lot of attention to detail in your life, eating and training. Now is the time to enjoy a bit of "healthy" food freedom and learn to love the body you have, not as an athlete but as a healthy human being.
Here's what I have been doing over the last 4 weeks:
-Hiking (not technical) with Campy in Paris Mountain state park
-Riding my road bike (twice, 30 min ride and 90 min ride)
-Swimming (no more than 30 minutes or 2000 yards, ~6 times)
-Light hip/glute/core work (no more than 20 minutes) - 2 times per week
-Walking - daily with Campy
-There have been about 8-10 days when I have done nothing except short walks with Campy
-When I'm not working (which is not a lot since this is our busy time of the year as we prepare our business for 2015): spending the weekends at Farmers Markets, watching Netflix at night (staying up later than normal), cooking yummy food, catching up on to-do's around the house, taking care of my Garden, exploring new places in Greenville, entertaining friends who come to visit us in Greenville, hanging out with our neighbors and reading books.