As winter quickly approaches and the racing season winds down, it is important to take the time to regenerate mentally and let your body heal. There is a lot of wear and tear that happens during a season of intense training and racing, and it is important to let all these micro-injuries heal to prevent larger injuries from occurring.
As the number of daylight hours diminish and the weather turns colder, it is time to shift the focus of your training.
Here are some tips to help you ensure a beneficial and successful offseason:
- Review your past season and write down all your thoughts. Write down what you learned, what you achieved and what you wanted to achieve but didn’t. This helps to finalize your season and determine your next goals.
- Take the time to structure your offseason. Many triathletes will use a month plan to ease back into training. For example, after your last race of the season, consider taking a week completely off. Take the time to enjoy other hobbies you’ve neglected. The time off will help reset your mind and body. In week two begin to add in planned activities. A few activity ideas are hot yoga, bouldering/rock-climbing, snowshoeing, fat biking, CrossFit or cross-country skiing. In week three start to add in a swim, bike or run into your week. This week is about easing back into training. By week four you can start to plan and build for the next triathlon season.
- Get a good bike fit. Efficiency is critical on the bike, and a perfect fit means faster bike times.
- Get some fitness testing done to determine what power and heart rate zones you should target in your training. They also show you how much you have improved over the season (if you have a previous test to compare to) or give you a baseline to start your training.
- Sign up for a winter training camp (somewhere warm). The camp group environment is fun and motivating, and a focused week of training can have a positive impact on your fitness.
- Mix in some cross training throughout the winter months. Winter is a great time to get outdoors and explore. Consider cross-country skiing snowshoeing, ice skating and fat biking to keep things exciting this winter.
- Use this time to focus on improving your swim. Join a Masters swim group or book some sessions with a swim coach. Incorporate more drills in your workouts to improve your stroke.
- Work on improving your bike technique. Do one-legged or high cadence drills that will help to improve your pedal stroke. If you have Zwift, join in on some group rides or races to vary your training. Consider doing the occasional spin class with your training group.
- Take the time to work on your flexibility. Take yoga, Pilates, or a core strengthening class. Do a little bit of stretching every day.
- Enjoy time with the family and friends as your training volume decreases.