Make your winter triathlon training miles count.
The last Sunday in October marked the end of Daylight Savings Time in the UK. Turning our clocks back an hour means the end of another triathlon season and the start of our dark and often gloomy winter.
As outdoor training conditions deteriorate and limited daylight hours keep us indoors, it can be tempting to slack off on our triathlon training. So, what can we do to make the most of these winter training months?
Think. Plan. Act.
Think. Take the time to reflect on your season; celebrate your achievements and consider where you want to make improvements. Most importantly, set new goals for next year.
Plan. Having a plan enables you to take the steps you need to achieve your goals. What fitness tests (eg FTP) do you need to carry out to understand your current fitness levels? Where do you need to make changes in your training programme in order to achieve next year’s goals? The winter is a great time to reinforce your strengths and work on your weaknesses.
Act. Once you’ve taken time to think and put a plan in place, it’s now time to act! Start by identifying new baseline levels and establish a very clear picture of exactly where you’re at right NOW. Then it’s time to get stuck back in to your training.
Winter Triathlon Training – Are You In or Out?
We all know how hard winter training can feel. It’s cold, it’s dark, and it’s most probably very wet out there. I often get asked what’s right and wrong for winter training. Should you go long and slow to build or maintain your base? Or should you go short and hard to focus on your strength, speed and power?
The answer is actually a combination of both, but external factors – primarily the weather! – will impact and ultimately determine which sessions you can execute consistently outdoors. Cycling and running outside can be pretty miserable during the winter, and safety is a huge concern when it’s dark and wet.
One of the greatest pleasures of triathlon is that it’s an outdoor sport. But, as much as I’d rather be outside, I recommend eliminating those compromising external factors by training indoors.
I have executed pretty much all of my own winter training indoors. I personally use a Wattbike for cycling and a treadmill for running combined with the Zwift app, a virtual training world for both cycling and running. Though there are other options out there.
Indoor training means no excuses. Your training becomes more consistent and consistency is the key to improvement in triathlon training. Remember that there is no change without change. So, make the changes you need to use the winter to your advantage.
The Golden Rules for Triathlon Training in Every Season
Although winter can be a really challenging time for investing in your triathlon training, it’s important to remember these 5 rules for your training in every season:
- Be realistic.
- Be patient.
- Be consistent.
- Be safe.
- And most importantly, Have FUN.