Winter is the best time to prepare for your upcoming season and improve as a triathlete. Whether you have just finished a long season of racing or are new to the sport, there are many ways you can prepare for the season ahead. Below are a few tips for staying in shape when the temperatures drop:
- Strength Training: Strength training during the winter months is the best way to build lean muscle, leading to a stronger, fitter, and leaner you at the start of your season. This will not only enhance performance, but reduce the risk of injury. If you belong to a gym, ask a trainer about how to properly use the equipment. Periodization is the best way to safely acclimate muscles to strength training, slowly increase intensity, and then incorporate power. Consult a personal trainer or coach about building a strength-training plan.
- Indoor cycling: The best way for triathletes to seek improvement on the bike is to spend time in the saddle. Whether you’re using an indoor trainer or taking spin classes at a local fitness center, riding throughout the winter will lead to major improvements come spring.
- Focus on Technique: Proper form is key to injury prevention and efficiency. The winter is the best time to re-evaluate your stroke, stride and body position to ensure your maximizing your efforts. Seek the advice of a professional instructor, and take the time to adapt to a new training style. Often times this involves re-training your muscle memory to reverse months, or even years, of incorrect form. This often requires you to slow your pace down and concentrate on learning a new style. The off season is the best time to do this without holding you back when your season picks up.
- Winter Cross Training: Grab your skis, snowshoes, yoga mat or hiking boots and change it up! There are many ways to stay active in the winter, that also add variety to your in-season training routine. Adding variety also reduces boredom and prevents burnout. It tones muscles that may be neglected by swimming, biking and running and helps you build your aerobic base, which is extremely important for triathletes.
- Gear up and Get Out: Don’t let the change in weather prevent you from doing the activities you love! Tie your laces, pump up your tires and get out on the road! Shop online or visit a local store for winter cycling and running gear to keep you warm when the temperatures drop. Remember to be cautious of road hazards including black ice and gravel. Check the weather before heading outside so you know how to dress appropriately. Stay safe and dress up your wardrobe with bright, reflective clothing, since there are fewer hours of daylight in the winter.