This time of year, most triathletes are winding their seasons down. For the most part, your racing season has ended, and the smart athletes are taking a significant break from training to recharge their bodies for next year. What else can an athlete do during the next few months to improve next year’s performance?
BFunctional has some tips for a successful off season, all of which are applied to the Athletes they coach.
- Recover & recuperate
Typically, you will only need around two weeks of rest, if this is a challenge you can try other forms of exercise, such as yoga, mountain biking, rock climbing.
BFunctional Athletes: take on 2-4 weeks of active recovery through alternative activities that stimulate recovery of the soft tissue [low intensity and volume] and zone-out leaving them feeling refreshed. Also, this is a time to address injuries/niggles. I request that athletes do not start the winter training block with a pre-existing injury – it will only get worse. They must a physiotherapist to get a diagnosis and treatment. A physiotherapist will be able to identify any area of muscle imbalance or tightness that you need to correct and monitor so you can stop it developing into a problem as the training ramps up.
- Determine your goals
Establish exactly what you’re preparing for. Triathlons are run over different distances. Though individual events will vary slightly, the most common formats are:
- Super sprint triathlon: 400m swim/10km bike /2.5km run
- Sprint distance triathlon: 750m/20km/5km
- Standard distance triathlon: 1500m/40km/10km.
- Middle distance triathlon: 2.5km/80km/20k.
- Long distance triathlon: 4km/120km/30km.
- Ironman distance triathlon: 3.8km/180km/42km
BFunctional Athletes: a consultation involves the following process:
- Review the prior season in-depth [goals, disciplines, transitions, nutrition, etc]
- Plan Key Events [realistic and challenging]
- Plan Training Phases – to allow peak performance at the optimal time athletes follow a periodised approach to training – putting in the long ‘base miles’ in over the off-season and picking up the speed work in the months leading up to competition.
- Plan Training Week – to best suit their lifestyle. Map out the key swim, bike and run sessions they need to complete, and make sure that they hit these sessions as fresh as possible.
- Record & Track – training plans are delivered on Training Peaks, the coach is able to track, review, evaluate the progress.
Despite what many athletes believe, simply training more than you did this year isn’t really the key to success next year. Many athletes, even advanced ones, should significantly alter technique to perform more efficiently. Right now, early in the off-season, is the optimal time to undertake changes to technique.
- Swimming: book a detailed stroke analysis. Thereafter, swim regularly in order to practise drills and technique.
- Cycling: spinning classes provide a good way of keeping some bike focus in your programme and are more sociable in the off-season than a lonely turbo session.
- Running: it’s important to reduce training load during the break to minimise injury risks, but running drills are a great way to work on any technique issues you’ve noticed during the season.
BFunctional Athletes: Though it can be tempting to devote time to your strengths, working on weaknesses will be more beneficial. All athletes go through an intense block of single-discipline blocks during which technique is THE focus, mixed in with long, slow with some intensity.
- Functional strength
Strength training for swimmers revolves around the arms and core, whilst for cyclists it’s all about the lower legs and core, and for runners – you guessed it – core strength is the number one ingredient in your injury prevention recipe. The core is your number one concern and a little bit of work over winter could do wonders. Incorporating strength training will improve efficiency in all three sports, improve workout recovery, and reduce the frequency and severity of injuries
BFunctional Athletes: throughout the year athletes follow a weekly pre-hab session that irons-out any kinks that have the potential to affect the mechanical function & performance. Secondly, athletes either undertake a 1:1 S&C session or a remote session, both of which are planned in phases throughout the year. The 1:1 session is more scientific and allows the athlete to touch base with their coach regularly.
- Eat well
Nutrition plays a huge part in your success as an athlete. Firstly, you need to fuel your sessions well for maximum results. And secondly, you need to eat the right foods to make sure you recover well.
Winter is a good time to aim to lose weight if it could help you to reach your goals. Dropping a few pounds may help you to improve your power to weight ratio and make you less susceptible to running injuries. It’s easier to lose a little weight when you’re not racing, as fueling and recovering after events can really get in the way. However, if you’re already pretty lightweight, don’t overdo it, as losing too much weight will have a negative impact.
BFunctional Athletes: are encouraged to generally assess their fuel intake and make sure that they put in enough to power the best quality training. This can be done through various methods such as My Fitness Pal which then can be tracked on Training Peaks. Athletes are given advice on daily calorific intake and more specifically training and race-day nutrition and hydration intake per hour [based on scientific formulas and sweat tests].
When the season starts next spring you’ll be grateful you adopted these tips, remember that expression ‘Winter Miles, Summer Smiles’.
It doesn’t matter where you are based BFunctional works with triathletes all over the UK and can guarantee results!! See testimonials here. Should you wish to significantly improve your performance in 2017 then please contact BFunctional.
Don’t be the same #BFbetter #BFocused #BFormidable #BFunctional