The big triathlons essentially shut down from November till March or April, but preparation certainly never ceases. In order to race well, these are the months where triathletes develop the strength to sustain a long season of hard, fast racing. But how is that accomplished? While there may be a wide variety of methods, these are the ways I use the off-season to prepare for successful racing.
At the end of every season it’s important to stablish strengths and weaknesses and adapt your training accordingly. However, I’ve found that it’s often counterproductive to focus on one sport at a time. Often gains made in huge single sport blocks are lost once full training resumes. As such, in The Triathlon Squad the off-season is a long development of overall strength. This may not sound hugely exciting. Believe me, it is not.
The off-season should be viewed as a the time you develop the strength necessary to sustain a long season of racing at a high quality level. We run hills, we ride low cadence, and we swim lots of two beat kick. While we train hard, the low cadence, hills, and swim drills prevent us from going too fast too early and burning out. Instead, they all work together to develop the power and strength that set the base for the speed work we’ll need to do throughout the racing season.
This is the only mindset to have for low cadence work. #PainCave
Our coach quantifies our training based on our perceived exertion and the duration of each training session. Based on this measure, by the time the off-season ends, we’ll be at the peak training load of the entire season. That, however, certainly doesn’t mean we’re the fastest we’ll be all year or that we’re ready to race. I’ve found it just means that I’m to handle the highest training load of the season. It’ll take racing and a lot of sharper, more intense workouts in order to convert the strength into a faster overall triathlon.
Development is slow but steady, but this training is so different from racing that actual progress can be difficult to measure. It is often impossible to see functional improvement until racing is underway. Off-season necessitates the most patience of any point in the year and this can be extremely difficult. Staying relaxed, healthy, and focused is necessary to see real gains but correctly performing the boring off-season work sets up huge break-throughs in the regular season.
I wish you all the best in your off-season training. If you have any questions, feel free to send them my way: gregory @ gregorybillington dot com
As always, this was brought to you by Kestrel Bicycles. Happy riding!