How triathletes can maintain fitness through the winter
The season is officially over. The Olympic, ITU World and Kona World Champions have been crowned. You’ve done your post-season review. You’ve had a couple of blow outs that you’ve regretted in the morning where you’ve uttered the immortal line, ‘never again’ which quickly turns out to be your most short lived promise to yourself. Now what?
Embrace the off-season. It is not the confusing; direction-less world it’s sometimes thought to be. In fact, we love it! Use it as an opportunity to mix it up and keep it interesting. If you just keep slogging away doing the same things, you’ll lose interest and be unable to ramp up the intensity when it matters next season.
Diversify your biking activities to keep motivation levels high
There are loads of different activities you can do that still massively support your triathlon goals and objectives.
On the diverse side but very sport specific you have cross country, cyclo-cross and mountain biking which can make a great alternative, particularly on an already soggy day. The fresh activity, likely done in a group will really help to motivate you to get out there on the more ‘challenging’ weather days!
Get into the gym to build strength and work on your technique
This time of year is also a great time of year to get in the gym and build up your strength. Doing this now allows you to switch to a more maintenance based program come the season so that the strength work doesn’t negatively impact your more specific work.
Get technical. On your season review, ‘better technique’ undoubtedly came up. It does for everyone. We know professional swimmers for example that have worked for six months on the catch phase of their stroke alone. Now is the time to get technically better.
In the case of swimming and running your best bet is to enlist the help of a coach or a club, as this will remove the guesswork on what your areas of improvement should be. There’s loads of good help out there so do some research.
On the cycling front, in terms of handling, this is often best learnt by experience which is where cyclo-cross or mountain biking come in and serve a triple purpose of conditioning, improving handling and being fun!
Take time off for post-season recovery but don’t leave it too long
Taking time off is really important. However, once you’ve had a couple of weeks off, start looking at routine. It doesn’t have to be intense or include loads of volume but if you lose your routine completely often it is hard to re-establish. A good way to do this is to have a program either self-written which makes you think about it or from a coach to provide you with experienced guidance over the winter months.
So get out there, try something new or different, enjoy getting technically better and get strong in the gym.
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