Ed. Note: we continue our series on offseasons and early seasons by checking in with Wattie Ink. professional Cody Beals to see what he did this winter, and what he gets up to when he's not training full-time.

If you took time completely off, how much did you take?

I took nearly two weeks totally off training, unless you count hiking and snorkeling around Maui! I eased back into training over the next month, keeping it all light, unstructured and fun. This was the longest break I've taken from hard training in over a decade. I felt like a new man! Taking some proper downtime made me appreciate how physically and mentally fatigued I'd been for quite a while.

When you're not doing training for triathlon, what are you up to?

Over the off-season, I threw myself into another round of home renovations and repairs. The work is never really ends on my old house (circa 1890)! Manual labor is a good substitute for training and keeps the feelings of workout withdrawal in check. I also dusted off some sheet music and polished up a few piano pieces for the holidays. Most importantly, I spent a lot of quality time with my cat... and my partner... not in that order...

Any food/drink/activities you allow yourself that you don't allow yourself during the rest of the year?

Nothing is strictly off limits at any time. I prefer the philosophy of everything in moderation. That said, I always overindulge in holiday goodies. My Italian grandmother delivered her legendary fruit cake, which is at least half brandy by weight. I also don't eat usually eat meat, but I'm grateful to share traditional meals with my family and friends. I try not to be the sanctimonious vegetarian that no one wants to invite over!


Any habits of mind or reflections or planning that you do for the new year?

The past year had some soaring highs and crushing lows for me. I ended the season feeling hungrier than ever and ready to renew my commitment to triathlon. I caught myself settling into a complacent routine of "good enough". I reaffirmed what drew me to endurance sports in the first place: testing my limits and getting the most out of myself.

I also want to commit to taking one recovery day per week. I've been reactive rather than proactive with recovery in the past. Fatigue would creep up on me until I had no choice but to cancel my plans and take an unplanned day off, usually accompanied by negative emotions. By anticipating and planning my recovery, I'm going to stay fresher, focus my training and free up time to unplug.

How do you go about setting your schedule for the coming season?

Setting my race schedule is a tricky process that I tend to agonize over. Just eyeing the race calendar triggers a wave of nervous excitement! As a professional triathlete, I have to consider a ton of factors: potential for income and exposure, timing, development experience, travel expenses and logistics, course characteristics in relation to my strengths and weaknesses, familiarity with the course, sponsor influence, emotional factors and more. Once my races are set, I like to make some notes on my periodization, plans and objectives for each week to help stay on track.

How do you know when you're ready to begin training again?

I know I'm ready to get back at it when I begin to crave hard workouts rather than dread them!