The Off-Season – What’s a Triathlete to do?

cross country 10k ray winter season plan

This is the time of the year where triathletes suddenly find themselves at the end of a long season and no more big races to look forward to. Not only that, they struggle to know what to do with themselves at all. Post race season blues is definitely a condition that can sap your lust for life and desire to get out to exercise! There are many thoughts on what is best to do —> Give yourself a complete break and keep the feet up for the Winter before coming back fresher than ever; Take a shorter break for 2-4 weeks as a little recharge; Keep going as normal; Keep going a normal but drop total training time down to around 20-30% of total when you were at your peak; Drop all normal training but take up another sport like indoor football, surfing, kayaking etc to keep your self active and fit.

My personal approach is to keep on going with the 3 triathlon disciplines, focus on your weakness and enjoy your strength! It is vital to drop the majority of hard intensive training across the 3 sports and give the body some level of respite. Go long and easy instead to start building your base fitness for 2014.

If you are a weak cyclists invest in some new gear and get out for regular long easy miles to get your legs strong. If you are a weak swimmer invest in a good coach and work on your technique. If you are a weak runner try join up with a running club or with runners of similar ability and run as often as possible. Winter also provides the perfect opportunity to take up something new to complement your tri training add some spice to your life! A good focus would be strength and conditioning training such as cross-fit or core classes.

Another way to keep the interest levels high is spoil yourself with some new purchases. Maybe it’s time to finally invest in that turbo trainer for the bike or time to even upgrade the winter road bike or maybe get those brand new expensive runners you really want seeing as you ran your others into the ground over the last 3-4 months!

winter biking 10k Ray blog post training

Keeping competitive is a great trait to have for both your mental and physical being. It keeps things fun and gets you out and about with like minded individuals. It is also a pretty good feeling to do well in races so I recommend taking 1 of the 3 triathlon sports you excel most at and try find a few Winter events to target. The off-season does not mean you pack away your competitive spirit 🙂

These next few months are very important in setting up the 2014 season so treat them as serious you would during the Summer racing period!

Running is my thing so my focus for the next few months will revolve around County and National Cross Country races as well as a couple of longer distance road running events. These will give me focus, keep me competitive (something which I would be lost without!) as well as helping to get in a decent running base and build strength to take into the Duathlon season in early 2014.

run message 10k ray blog post winter season triathlon training

The aim will be to get in running training at least twice a week while racing at the weekend or 3 decent training sessions if not racing. Focus will be on endurance training (80min+ runs) and mid-to-long distance interval sessions (Tempo runs and 1-5km threshold repeats) along with keeping up with the Fit4Life Winter track season. Got to make sure I keep that fast kick in my legs for the last 400metres of a races!!! 🙂

The Winter strategy for the bike is to hibernate the TimeTrial bike, invest in a half decent road bike and try get in 1-2 decent steady endurance spins per week, increasing the mileage each week until I am getting in regular 2.5 hour+ rides. The swim training will focus on getting an underwater video analysis and getting my hands on a decent 3 month training plan (Nov-Jan) to build endurance with regular 3km+ swims and get the technique sorted for the 2014 races. Jaysus, I have literally just finished the 2013 season and I’m already thinking what races I want to do next year…I need a break!!!

-In order of date, not importance. Liable to change-

  1. Leinster Novice Cross Country / Oct 27th
  2. Leinster Intermediate Cross Country / Nov 10th
  3. Kilkenny County 10mile road race / Nov 17th
  4. Waterford Half Marathon / Dec 1st
  5. National Novice Cross Country / Dec 15th

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