It’s the time of year many triathletes (and most British people) dread.
Wet, windy, cold and just dark for what seems like most of the day.
That training window shrinks and many of us notice their motivation dropping, partly with the call of the endless socials coming up around Christmas time.
It’s easy to say “I’ll start later” but that battle in January will be far harder then if you follow a few of these key tips below and get some routine in place now.
Below are 5 of our favourite winter tips – if you have any others that you’d like to share, then comment on the Facebook link posted at the end – we’d genuinely love to hear your thoughts on this one.
Consistency, it’s the number one for a reason.
It’s a winning formula. Not only are you reaping the benefits of regular training, but psychologically ticking off sessions week in week out gives you such a boost when it comes to standing on that start line.
Consistency doesn’t mean 15+ hours of training per week. Your schedule is unique to you. If you can commit to 3 main sessions each week, then stick to that plan.
Completing 100% of a 3x per week plan is a better strategy than completing 50% of a 6 time a week plan – one will feel like you are winning, the other will feel like you are failing each week. I know which one I’d take.
Create your schedule, whether thats a paper and pen type or something slightly more flash (like Training Peaks) and factor in life first and foremost and then build your training goals around this.
Don’t neglect the bike.
And that’s not just making sure it is clean!
But making sure you are riding it frequently, whether indoors or out. Clocking up your training time on this discipline is one strategy that will reward you next year. Chances are, no matter what triathlon you are signed up for, the vast majority of your total time in that event will be on the bike.
So the potential gains on this leg is huge.
If you are a fair weather rider, our best tip is to hunt out plenty of films to watch on Netflix to help you get through some of those longer rides (box set binging is also a possibility!)
Biking was mentioned in point 2… But what does the perfect winter riding look like? Especially winter riding when your time is tight?
This is where Sweet Spot riding comes into it’s own as it’s rumoured to be the one area that gives you the more reward for your time in training.
In short, if you ride with a power meter you’ll be riding at 88-93% of your FTP, if you ride to heart rate, this will be in the range of 75-85%.
Riding longer efforts in this range is mentally challenging and tough to sustain. This might not be the best way of selling the idea to you, but then again, if you are training for a triathlon this is the perfect preparation for you.
This type of session is ideally completed inside on a turbo trainer (for safety reasons). But there is no reason why you couldn’t complete this type of session out on the road, just steer clear of busy roads and wet corners.
Pure and simple, studies show repeatedly the benefits of rest and recovery on performance and right up there as a primary component is sleep.
If there is one thing that I would bet on it’s this. If you are currently getting 6 or less hours sleep, you are seriously hindering performance and your health too.
Upping you nightly zzz’s to 8 will improve your health and more than likely your performance in triathlon too. This hasn’t been proven to my knowledge yet, but if the benefits of sleep include increased focus, more motivation to train, reduce stress, improved mood, regulates hormones (to control appetite) and much more, then it makes sense that it’ll help your triathlon training too.
Check out Why We Sleep for a very interesting book on the subject.
And lastly, focus on your weaknesses.
We all have them, whether it’s a swim stroke that sets the lifeguard into panic when you start to swim or a run split that never seems to improve.
Now is the time to do something about it.
There are a couple of options, either dedicating more time to it over the winter months or seek a professional who can fast track that learning process and speed up the results.
But spending 5 minutes working out exactly what areas you think you’ll gain the most from is well worth doing before commencing your winter training.
If you need any help with any aspects of triathlon training or if you have any questions – send an email our way (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll be able to help or point you in the direction of someone who can.
Dedicated to your success
The Triathlon Festival Team.
P.S. In just two weeks we’ll be announcing the date and location of the Triathlon Festival coming to Southampton in Early 2019.
To be in with a chance of winning a free ticket, pop your email address in the box at the top of this page and we’ll be announcing winners when we release the date.