Off Season into Base Training: Like Pulling My Legs Out of Sludge

Well I’m finally on the edge of being completely out of off season and about mid-way through my base training. The reason I say I’m not completely out of off season is because of some injury which has forced a reversal back to pre-base to allow for healing.
My off season this year was the longest yet. It was about 3 months total before beginning the base training ramp. And wow that extra month made a huge difference in a negative way.
Since I only have one major race this year, IM Florida, and it’s way late in the year on Nov. 1, I thought I would give my body some extra rest and healing before ramping again this year. I think the extra rest and healing did happen but it also had some detrimental effects.
I do not have an athlete’s base. I never did athletics when younger and so my body is still trying to adapt to the stresses of being an Iroman athlete. So I react differently than other more conditioned athletes in that I may get injured when others don’t, or I need more rest than others in the same situation. Or at least I reach some higher conditioned state.
The extra month of off season seemed to have pulled my fitness so far back that when I tried to ramp, albeit gently, I still got injured on both feet, right foot having a plantar fascia issue which caused the ball of my foot to swell, and my left ankle’s tendons getting strained. I think this would have not happened with other more conditioned athletes.
This caused me to interrupt my run bulid and finally just stop running altogether to let it heal completely, as running in between just aggravated both and never let the pain go away. I stopped for 3 weeks of running, but I was able to build swimming and cycling.
As for cycling, this was also interesting. Throughout off season, I used my Powercranks to do strength workouts on my bike and gained a lot. But extending that strength into my core Computrainer workouts has been tough; I had to take the strategy of doing a workout 2-3 times in succession, starting with conservative wattage and increasing it on the same interval workout. My wattage seems to have increased a bit, but it feels that I did not gain as much as I would have liked. Still, it’s early and I have not done long outdoor bikes yet.
That extra month of off season really made it tough to come back, more so than in previous years of only two months of off season. It’s been like pulling my legs out of sludge; it feels SOOOOOO slow to build back the strength and endurance that I had last year. At last, as I come up on May, I feel I am almost there. Another 2 weeks of gentle run building with the addition of fartleks to prepare for track workouts and speed, and I hope to be ready to get on the build to Ironman Florida this November.
Next year, only 2 months of off season and that’s it! And after watching online my buddies race at a murderously hot/humid Ironman China yesterday, I’m psyched to get into some serious training…