Before I write about my plans for the "off-season", I thought I'd write down the building blocks which I'm putting in place which I hope will take me to the successful completion of my 70.3 in Austria next year. By building blocks, I mean carefully chosen races which I hope will help me prepare for the big one in September.
Firstly, running. I'm going to take advantage of the off season to do a half marathon. It seems to me if I know I can do the individual bits then I will feel more confident about putting them together. The swim is a no brainer but the furthest I've run is 10k. So, I've entered the same 10k again this year, the Eynsham 10k, at the end of November, with the hope of getting my time under an hour. I then want to build on this to do a half marathon on 10th February, The Wokingham half. I've entered both of these races now.
Secondly, triathlons increasing in length. I'm starting with a local pool sprint at the end of April (Bicester), followed by my second appearance at Blenheim tri openwater sprint in early June where I hope to take at least 15 minutes off last year's time. Early July will see Mr Tuna and I at the Stowe Triathlon where I will do my first Olympic distance race. This will actually be really helpful for the 70.3 as the cycle is 50k rather than the usual 40k and much more hilly so if I get it right, it could be a good confidence booster before the last 8 weeks of training for the 70.3.
I think practising races is crucial. The more you do, the less nervous you get. And particularly with tri, practising the transitions is really beneficial.
I'm on the look out for some appropriate length sportives/cycle rides to perhaps fit in, but somehow it's easier to go out for a 56 mile cycle with Mr Tuna than it is to run a half marathon without some motivation!
Finally, swimming. I was initially gutted to find that the 10k swim which I have participated in for the last two years will this year be held on a Bank Holiday Monday in May, which is one of the two days each year that I am obliged to work with no chance of leave. When I thought about it a bit more, it is probably a good thing. I'd been keen to enter it and hopefully chip more minutes off my time, but that would mean a very hard swim. Last year it took me over a month to properly recover from it and I can't afford that when I've got a big goal at the end of the season. So swimming races will be fitted into the calendar, but not enough have been announced yet for me to make my choices. Although the 70.3 only involves a 1.9k swim, swimming is important to me and I shall race up to 3.8k next year, not least because I'm still keen to get under that hour!
I've also seen a half iron aquathlon advertised which strikes me as pretty good training - 1.9k swim and half marathon (i.e. 70.3 without the bike), but as that would be a quite hard outing it depends entirely on the date as to whether I can fit it in or not.