The commuter bike rack at work is getting thinner. My container garden has moved indoors. The last few weekends brought us the USAT National Championship and the Twin Cities, Whistlestop, and Chicago Marathons. Smells like the end of another race season here in the Upper Midwest to me.
For some, the last few months have flown by. For others, they have seemed like a battle each and every week. Regardless or which group you fall into, no doubt you’ve been working your butt off for quite some time. I would encourage each of you to take all the well-deserved time you want to look back, reliving your season and savoring your amazing accomplishments. At the same time, I am going to look ahead.
One of the best pieces of advice I have received over the years came from Doug Lennick, a consultant focused on elevating individual performance in work and in life. The advice was, “Do not create space in your life unless you have a plan to fill it.” If the word “space” in the previous sentence does not resonate with you, substitute “free time.”
As us Midwesterners creep into the “off” season, there is no longer have the necessity of training three to five to ten times each week. That’s space. How you fill that space is entirely up you.
This isn’t a shameless plug to hire me for your off season training plan. Nor is it part of my broader plot to convert all you endurance nuts into adventure racers. Both paths have my endorsement of course, yet they are not the reason I am writing. My plea, rather, is that you spend the next few days thinking about how you will fill the void left in your calendar and be deliberate in how you fill it. For if you do not focus your attention toward something of lasting value, you will inevitably find that space filled for you with things that lack personal significance.
Your choice could be as simple as spending more time with family and friends who have been put second to your training. It could be that project you’ve been thinking about for years. It could be a new hobby that you have always felt was as unrealistic. Again, just give it some thought. After all the hard work you put in to the season, you now have some space to fill. It would be a shame to wake up five months from now with nothing more than an intimate knowledge reality tv to show for it.