The Off-Season Triathlete

Summary

  • Take a physical and mental break
  • Let your body recover completely
  • Let your mind rest from all the training and racing stress
  • Play a team sport, take Yoga class
  • Go hiking with your loved ones
  • You can still do some running, swimming or biking. Just keep it fun and unstructured.
  • Improve your technique, strengthen weaknesses, work on speed
  • New activities will invigorate you.
  • Your non-triathlete friends and loved ones would be glad to see you.

Off-season is the time to recover, heal your injuries and prepare for next season.

  • Work on technique, style, speed.
  • Get up and walk or run before breakfast, Monday trough Friday. Weekends off.
  • Get lots of sleep, take a yoga class weekly and spend time walking and hiking.

The Off Season is best time of the year to make yourself significantly faster.

  • A moderate amount of get-faster training will make you significantly faster on race day
  • There is no competing requirement to also build endurance for your goal race distance.
  • You can separate FAST from FAR, freeing up recovery resources to make you much, much faster.

Your Off Season training should be low volume:

  • As an age grouper with limited time available, low volume in the Off Season is just the right thing to do, for your head, your lifestyle, and your family.

...and the collected wisdom of many, scattered across the Internet

Work on technique

Keep it easy to moderate and work on your technique.
The best time of the year to work on technique is the off-season.
Swim

  • Film your stroke
  • Get more efficient

Bike

  • Concentrate on pedaling circles while on the bike
  • If your bike is uncomfortable this is the best time of the year to get a new bike or get a professional bike fit on your old bike.


Run

  • Work on some running drills to improve turnover and minimize the time your foot is on the ground. Most top runners can maintain 90 steps per minute or better. Count the steps on one leg only or double to 180 and count both legs over a minute.
  • Try this test. First make sure you have a good idea of your aerobic pace at your maximum aerobic heart rate. Now go out and do between 15-20 minutes of fast running either in the form of interval work (such as 3 x 1000 on the track or 1 x 5 minutes, 2 x 3 minutes, 3 x 1 minute fartlek). Now monitor your body for the next few days. If your aerobic pace gets quicker from this workout, you will probably benefit from doing speedwork. If you get slower or get sick, your body is not in the shape to handle speed work at this time and you may benefit from doing a couple more weeks of base work.

Don't blow it in January

Avoid some crazy event done at an incredible pace during the off-season

  • The likelihood that you can maintain this sort of effort throughout the entire year is low
  • Training takes effort, it causes pain and it wears on you. Save that energy for when it counts later in the season.
  • Being fit in January does not mean that you will be that much fitter by summer.
  • The more likely scenario is low performance during the summer due to over training and getting mentally drained from all the high intensity.

Strengthen your weaknesses

Swim
If swimming is your weak sport concentrate on technique improvements rather than swimming 5000 yards five times a week. Most swimming improvements come from technique. If you swim 25,000 yards a week and have bad technique you will be cementing bad technique into your muscle memory and make it that much harder to fix. You will become a very fit slow swimmer.
Bike
If the bike is your weak sport it is usually because of lack of experience on the bike or a bad fit on your bike. Get the good bike fit at your local bike shop
Get on your bike.
Get a consistent dosage of aerobic riding during the off-season.
Make that commitment and you will be glad you did when triathlon season comes around.
Run
If running is your weak sport don't train for a marathon to become a better runner.
Work on your running technique with running drills as mentioned above.
If you have to schedule a running race I suggest distances up to a half marathon.


Strength training

Strength training will help us strengthen those muscles that we generally do not use in triathlon and will create a balanced body that is resistant to injury.

  • Strength training is good year round.
  • Many triathletes can't find the time to do all three disciplines and also hit the weight room during the tri season.
  • The off-season is a great time to get back on some strengthening program.
  • It will improve your power, and help with injury prevention.

Plan your racing season

Start planning your racing season now.

  • You may have to sign up soon as many top races fill up way in advance.
  • Schedule some shorter races early in the season and finish with a big effort on a longer race.
  • Be sure to give yourself enough time between races to do some proper training and to recover.
  • Work backwards from your big goal races and schedule some shorter races that you can use as stepping-stones.
  • You can start specific training for the intermediate races earlier in the season. These races will also keep you focused and provide a base from which to build on.
  • So you need more inspiration? Next race season is it.
  • Make the commitment and sign up for next year's events. Do it now.
  • Send in your check.
  • Besides, there are often discounts for registering before the end of December.

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