Published on January 05, 2018 Comment(s): 0
It is said that champions are made in the off-season. This part of the season is considered to be the most underestimated part of the triathlon training cycle. But, knowing how to tackle the off-season and the period of time before the base training can be a tricky road to navigate.
Though it can be tempting to jump right back into the swim, bike or run preparation for 2018, there are areas that you should consider focusing on in the off-season that can help you get the most out of your training.
The winter season is the perfect time to do all those things you have been putting off. There are no prizes at the end of the rehab finish line or 30 minute core workout, but come the start of next season all of this pre-season training will pay off.
It can be difficult to focus on that extra 10 percent, which is why we have put together four ideas based around these “extras”, so when you hit your specific triathlon training, you’re fit, healthy and ready to go!
1. Rehab or Pre-had
The off-season should be treated as the injury prevention time. For the best results with many types of injuries, you need a combination of rest and proactive treatments; many injuries are abstained from overuse. Establishing what caused an injury is considered to be the most important part of treating or preventing any further damage. A home rehab plan that can be done daily is ideal, you can also try setting goals for yourself such as achieving a specific range of motion, improving strength or even doing an activity pain-free.
If possible, work with a health care professional to put together a training plan. This ensures that you’re not weak or lack mobility when it comes to training.
2. Body Composition
Working on body composition during the winter is both a blessing and a curse, due to less training and the holiday season.
It can be challenging getting lean whist putting the hours in swimming, biking and running. This is why the off-season is the perfect time to have the main goal of returning to lean. Trying to balance calorie burning with intake is easier and simplified when aerobic efficiency is reduced, you can even try making small changes in your diet and add in resistance training to help maximise results.
Why not try setting a start and end date, this will help to keep yourself focused and motivated.
3. Functional Strength
With most sports, as a triathlete you need some form of baseline strength, to run with proper form, pull with greater force or simply hold that aero position. Also, this goes hand in hand with improving your body composition.
By incorporating weight training into your workout, it helps to build lean muscle and increase your metabolism. During the off-season, high-volume and intense endurance training is reduced meaning there should be no excuse not to get into the gym and starting your weight training sessions.
It is advised to follow a basic functional strength programme, either with a trainer or following a programme online. Stay motivated by setting yourself small challenges such as a squat challenge or push-up challenge. These can either be how many can be done during a set time or, simply a target for how many need to be done during a week.
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Out of the three disciplines, swimming is seen to be the most technically driven although; to run and bike efficiently you must get the technique right. The off-season is the perfect time to work on improving your technique for each discipline.
It helps to get a “before shot”, simply ask a friend to record your stroke both above and below the water if possible. This helps to establish any stroke flaws that can hinder your swim efficiency. There are many ways you can look at improving your stroke, including a lesson or two with an experienced swimming coach or online video lessons. If these aren’t in your budget, there are many online resources that you can use help identify your swim type, provide recommendations and give you daily drills to help improve your technique.
There are several potential reasons why you may be losing power on your pedal stroke. One of the main things would be to look at if there are any differences in your right and left pedal stroke. This can be done at home by completing one-legged drills for 60 seconds; this will be able highlight any “dead spots” in your pedal stroke.
If you do find any dead spots, first consider your bike setup, the setup isn’t just important for ensuring you are comfortable and injury free, but also helps to improve your performance and pedalling efficiency. Also, look at breaking down the pedal stroke into isolated leg drills. Simply warm up by unclipping one foot and pedalling with one leg, make sure you are focusing on a smooth circular pedal stroke. Once one leg fatigues, you should swap over and repeat.
Proper technique makes you faster, but running well also reduces injury and prolongs run-life expectancy. There are lots of things we could change about the average triathlete’s running technique, but most would have very little impact. There is only one area that we can work on and that is foot placement when there is impact with the pavement.
The best way to improve your foot placement is to undertake barefoot running on grass. Another option is to use a pair of the lightest, least supportive shoes you own. By reducing the amount of shoe on your foot it will help to teach you how to run properly and efficiently. You will need to take into consideration that some people are more easily injured when minimalist running than others. The key is to start with what you know you can handle – even if it’s only a few minutes a week.