The offseason is a hard time for triathletes. We have to find a balance in between giving our bodies the rest they deserve and staying fit enough for the first races of this year. This seems like a hard balance, given the nature of these two concepts.
Staying fit in the offseason or winter is different than working out in the rest of the year is. The roads may be snowy, the weather may be cold and wet. These are not exactly the weather conditions that you want to when running, cycling or open water swimming. I wrote down ten offseason triathlon training tips to help you through this offseason.
1. Implement strength training for triathlon, not body building
One of the most common ways to improve in the offseason, in my opinion, is strength training. Try focusing on multiple-muscle movements that complement triathlon sports movements when working out with weights. This helps you to perform better and decreases the risk of injuries.
2. Intergrade fast workouts in your weekly workout routine
Training in the offseason can seem as if it’s the same all over, all the time. One way of making offseason triathlon training more diverse is intergrading fast workouts in your weekly routine.
If you work out three times a week or seven times, it is always wise to increase the speed of some of these workouts. Doing so helps your body to make gains by experiencing the stress of fast workouts.
3. Plan 2 to 4 key workouts per week, focusing on improving speed, endurance or both
These harder key workouts help effectively to reach your offseason goals. Whether your goal is to improve endurance, speed or both, key workouts will help you reach this goal. Try to limit the frequency of these workouts to two to four times a week.
4. Focus on your ‘weak’sport during the offseason
If you are having a harder time swimming than you do running or biking it is, of course, wise to focus on swimming during the offseason. This seems obvious but keep in mind that adding one extra session per week is not going to help you enough. Try implementing four or five sessions per week. Be careful with running and cycling since with these sports it is easier to get injured.
5. Use the professional advice of a triathlon coach to finetune your swimming, running and cycling techniques
A small improvement in your technique can lead to great results! If you do not wish to work with a professional triathlon coach you could also ask an experienced triathlete to take a look at your techniques during the offseason.
6. While swimming in offseason, set daily and weekly goals
Swimming without a purpose is neither fun nor motivating. Start beating PR’s on a weekly basis to increase your motivation!
7. The offseason time is a perfect time to try other sports
Alternative sports can be used to prevent mental fatigue. Swimming, running and bicycling are great but giving other sports a try can have positive results as well. How about mountain biking for more bike-handling skills, or indoor climbing to strengthen your core, back, arms and shoulders.
8. Use the time off in the offseason to give your running legs the rest they deserve
Running is rough on the body. An average runner has at least one injury per year. Use the time off from the offseason to help those legs recover from last years races. Instead of running, you could train with light weights and cords to simulate running movement or try aqua jogging, since you’re going to be in the pool a lot anyway.
9. Take that break and reflect over last year’s results
We, athletes, are people of habits. We like to stay busy training for upcoming races and improving techniques. The offseason is the perfect occasion to really take a break from training, both physically and mentally.
10. This is the perfect time to experiment with new equipment
Now is the time to upgrade your gear. If you feel like upgrading wetsuits, wheels, running shoes, helmets, nutrition or an entirely new bike, do it now. You don’t want to mess around with untested equipment when the race starts.
The offseason makes us appriciate the raceseason even more. Let’s try to appriciate the offseason as well. Use these 10 offseason triathlon training tips to achieve better results on your next race!