Everywhere Edge

Ask the Expert: Off-season triathlon training

November 21, 2007

Q: How do I best stay in shape and prepare for next year's triathlon season? I’m thinking of meeting with a personal trainer to get some suggestions on weight-lifting. Or, just multi-sport training in the pool, indoor bike and treadmill??? Terri, WI

Jenn: This question should be answered in two ways: physically AND mentally. Staying in shape in the off-season is actually pretty easy. Take everything down a notch to 'maintenance' mode.

Keep a general routine of working out on certain days so that when next season comes around, it’s not a shock to your system. If you don’t have one, I’d recommend buying a stationary trainer so that you can spin on your own bike inside during the winter. Riding the trainer properly can actually be a BETTER workout than riding on the road. If you can stand the treadmill, more power to you! I recommend trying to run outside as often as you can…trail running is a great way to maintain running fitness during the winter. Maintaining swim fitness in the pool is an easy thing to do. Depending on your current level of fitness, I would recommend at least two swims/week.

Go light on the weight-lifting…the last thing you want to do is build up too much muscle mass during the winter months. But meeting with a personal trainer to help you build core strength is a GREAT idea!

As far as the mental aspect, take advantage of the winter-seasons to chill out and re-group. Spend time with the friends you didn’t see all summer when you were racing. Read some of the books on your list that you haven’t gotten around to. Go on a vacation. Whatever gets you to relax and re-center. If you focus too much of your energy and time on planning your off-season workouts to the letter, next season will arrive and you’ll already be on the verge of burn-out. Certainly try to eat well and maintain some sort of training schedule, but don’t get too stressed out if you miss a session every so often. That’s the beauty of the non-competitive season! Build your base, physically, mentally and emotionally.