When the race season is over it’s not time to stop all of the triathlon fun. Here are our tips for autumn and winter triathlon training – which sometimes means not training at all.
First of all, give yourself a pat on the back. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished this season, whether it was a first race, an unexpected PB or even just following your training plan on an insanely busy week.
Take this time to look back at the season and your training log (you kept one, right?) How did your training compliment and fit in to your life? Did you race too little? Too much? What did you enjoy most about the season? Were there areas for improvement? Reflect on the season while it’s still fresh in your mind and think about things you’d like to change for next year.
Now get some rest. Depending on your season, you may not need weeks and weeks of doing nothing, but it is important to give yourself a little break. Take time to recover and to focus on some areas of your life that might have suffered a little when you were training a lot. Spend some time with a significant other or the kids. Organise. Or just indulge in some true relaxing in front of the TV- no guilt allowed.
When you’ve had a little time to relax and recover, get back into exercise, but not ‘training’. Use the autumn months to try something new that will enhance your fitness, but keep you from burning out, which can happen easily if you only focus on triathlon.
Try running cross-country throughout the autumn and winter months for an amazing, strength-building workout that offers a new challenge and a change of scenery. Spend time on your bike for the joy of riding- see the countryside and clock some miles in a fall sportif. Take it off-road, mountain biking or in a challenging cyclocross event. If you’re really inspired to get back to training and the weather isn’t cooperating, consider buying (or pulling out) a turbo-trainer. Cycling fitness doesn’t have to suffer just because it’s dark and gloomy (or rainy or snowy!)
To keep boredom at bay, use a session plan, such as the free plans on 220 Triathlon or try a video available on brevet.cc. Think of the cold-weather months as a good time to work on endurance and strength.
Perhaps better yet, really get away from triathlon by trying out new classes at the gym, focusing on yoga or a dance class or trying a new sport entirely.
And speaking of the gym, the off-season is a great time to start (or to maintain) a strength-training program. Strength-training is always important, especially for women as weight-bearing exercise helps prevent the loss of bone density. Now that you have a bit more time, make strength-training a part of your routine- and don’t forget to work on your core strength, too. Developing this habit in the off-season will help you to carry it into next training season and may just help you to get faster in the process.
Well done on a great season. It was an amazing summer to be a triathlete, both participating and spectating. Revel in your accomplishments and have a fabulous off-season!