Offseason is a great time for triathletes to kick back and get some much needed R & R.
Your body needs the rest and so does your mind. Your friends and family are also glad to get that extra time with you. Off season doesn’t mean no training at all, however, and it is a great time to concentrate on building technique and strength training. You will still continue to swim-bike-run but at a different level.
Strength training is a vital part of your offseason training routine as it will really prepare your body for the upcoming season. According to Patrick Hagerman, author of Strength Training for Triathletes, you should ask yourself a few questions that will help you determine where the focus of your off season training should lie.
- What was your weak point during your race?
- Did your legs get tired early on?
- Were your arms tired after the bike?
Addressing your weaker points will help your speed, running economy, stamina and reduce overall risk of injury!
- Technique Matters
Training with weights is important as it builds muscle and reinforces bones. While different exercises can help you with different sets of muscles, it’s important you concentrate on underactive or weak muscle groups.
Using the right techniques will help develop these muscles providing your body with a firm foundation for next season’s training. And here’s an important tip – it is not how much you lift but how you do it. Bad technique can often lead to injuries, so it may be a good idea to hire a coach while trying something new. You can also record your exercises on your smartphone so you can review your technique and make adjustments as necessary.
- You don’t need a Gym
A lot of strength exercises don’t need an expensive gym membership. Exercises like lunges, planks, overhead presses and triceps’ extensions can easily be done at home. Find a training partner to keep it interesting.
- Exercise Muscles You Usually Don’t Use
Building your overall strength will help improve your efficiency in a race. Focusing on workouts that include push, pull and lifting activities will make sure you build strength in areas your regular training doesn’t exercise.
- Build Muscular Endurance
Triathlons are all about endurance. Building muscular endurance will not just help you finish, but will help you finish faster. According to a review in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, strength training can increase not only running speed, running economy, and power output, but also time to exhaustion. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a great way to do this. You should have a customized routine to suit what your body needs. There are plenty of free plans available online for this purpose. HIIT sessions get your heart rate up and boost your cardiovascular endurance. You will notice the difference in your next race!
- Don’t Make These Common Mistakes
As with all training programs, strength training comes with its own sets of do’s and don’ts. Here are few mistakes even seasoned athletes are prone to make:
- Not keeping a log: Ignoring keeping a log over the off season is a big no-no. Keeping track of your strength training is as important as keeping the training logs you keep during triathlon season. It will help you plan ahead and help avoid chance injuries.
- Not tailoring your routine: With so much information out there, it is easy to get carried away and do what everyone else is doing. You must remember that your body has its own needs and they will not be exactly the same as the others in your triathlon group. Customize your strength training plan according to your needs and when in doubt, get objective advice from a professional.
- Not updating your routine: Sure, the initial plan may have seemed like a good one when you first drew it up. However, you may face problems along the way that need to be addressed. Review your log and make changes to your training routine as required. You might need to increase or decrease your routine according to your lifestyle and to avoid overtraining.
We know it can be easy to get frustrated when the bad weather keeps you indoors. A regular strength training routine should help you keep the physical sluggishness at bay while helping you get ready for the better days ahead. All the work you put it now will really help you beat that personal best, come summer!
Long winter evenings are also a great time to check out some new gear for next season. At Just Wetsuits, we are with you every step of the way. Email us if you need help with triathlete wetsuits and triathlon gear, or call us on 1-877-784-7808.