It’s frequently pouring with rain outside in January and February. And if it’s not raining it’s probably dark & cold. But if you want to perform at your best when spring finally arrives you’ll need to carry on with some triathlon training! Here are 10 tips to get you training whatever the weather
- Get into a routine
Some structure to your training really helps you to stick with it when the weather turns foul. So try & set particular days to do your regular weekly swim, bike & run sessions.
- Focus on swimming
Winter is a great time to focus on improving your swimming. That could just mean more time in the pool. Or if you’re not an expert swimmer it’s a great time to get some coaching either individually or with a group of similar level swimmers to work on drills to improve your swim. Swimming is by far the most technical discipline of the triathlon so improved technique can really pay dividends.
- Get your pain cave in order
If you have space, and preferably, a spare bike, it’s great to have your bike set up ready to go on a suitable turbo trainer. Some people swear by Zwift but if you’re not getting on with it have a look at some of the other alternatives. I prefer TrainerRoad, for example. It’s a little more old school & doesn’t bother with fancy graphics, but has some great sport scientists behind it to ensure you get the most from a structured training program. If you have no space for a pain cave spin classes are a great alternative.
- Have your kit ready
Getting out of bed for a pre-work training session is a whole lot easier if you’ve prepared everything the night before and lined up all your kit ready to put on. There’s less chance of disturbing partners too if you’re not blundering around in the half-light looking for running socks.
- Train outdoors
It can be tempting to stay indoors when the weather is foul. But training on a turbo, a treadmill or even a rowing machine can be mind-mindbogglingly boring. Particularly for longer rides or runs it’s worth getting outside. Get out for a longer ride and/or run at the weekend. And with the help of a suitable head torch you can open up the world of night running too. Where familiar paths & trails look a whole lot different.
- Set small daily or weekly goals
If you’re starting from the couch, or close to it, build up slowly. Particularly with running it’s easy to do too much too soon & end up with injury niggles. But setting small goals along the way will help keep you motivated.
- Find people to train with
It’s a hell of a lot easier to miss a session if you’re planning to go out on your own. Join your local triathlon or cycling club or find a local running or cycling group. It’s easier to stay motivated & pretty sociable too.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself
If you really are feeling very tired at the end of a long work day, it’s OK to give yourself a day off. Chances are, if you’re reading this, that you’re not a professional athlete & you’re exercising for fun! That said a great tip we heard is to allow yourself to miss a session but make it a rule, unless you’re sick or injured, not to miss two in a row. Otherwise it’s all too easy to slip off the wagon.
- Try some weight training
Triathlon is a sport many people take up in their 40s, just as their muscular strength is starting to decline. So some weight training is a great element to add to your winter program. And you don’t need to join a gym. There are lots of body-weight exercises such as calf raises, planks, push ups, abdominal crunches & single leg squats which can be just as effective without pumping any iron. Just use google or Youtube to find some suitable exercises.
- Enter an Event
There’s no better way to ramp up your winter training motivation than the emotional & financial commitment of entering an event. Maybe it’s taking on your first triathlon, stepping up from sprint distance to Olympic or from Olympic to 70.3. Or perhaps just improving on last year’s results. If you’re a cyclist it might be moving on from one of our shorter events to taking on a full 100 mile road sportive or even the Dartmoor Legend Ultra Sportive.