Gear up for your winter triathlon with training tips from the Vail Valley’s Josiah Middaugh, the former XTERRA Triathlon World Champion and Resident World Champion at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa At Beaver Creek Mountain.
Train Your Weaknesses
A triathlete is rarely balanced in all three disciplines. Most of us come from a single-sport background, which means there are one or two sports that could use more attention. The off-season is a great time to have a limited focus and ramp up your training frequency in one of the sports. Instead of training two or three sessions per week in each discipline, increase your weak discipline to four or five sessions per week and the other to one or two.
Track Your Training
Establish some fitness targets, and hold yourself accountable. Consider tracking your training online with a site such as Training Peaks, Movescount, or Strava. These sites are compatible with several GPS devices, which allows you to download your workouts automatically. Tracking your training can serve as a baseline for planning future training objectives.
Take Advantage of Your Winter Environment
For those of us who live in snow country, the winter can offer an array of cross-training opportunities that to replace some of your bike or run volumes. Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking are all great ways to maintain or even improve your aerobic fitness. Getting outside for a few sessions per week is good for both your physical and mental health.
Join a Masters Swim Group
Training with a swim group can make your training more purposeful and challenging. Instead of a slow, continuous swim which can reinforce bad habits, challenge yourself with structured intervals and technical drills.
Total training volume tends to be lower in the winter, so it can be a great time to incorporate a strength routine into your program. Focus on functional, multi-joint exercises, that work a variety of movement patterns. If you don't feel comfortable with your form, consider some private instruction. A solid 16-20 weeks of strength training can have a long lasting effect, which will carry into your upcoming season. The goals of a strength routine are to prevent injury and increase performance. If you are an older athlete, consider a year-round strength maintenance routine.