Winter Training Tips for Triathletes

My friends back in the US told me that it SNOWED on the east coast today, and it’s not a whole lot warmer here.  So now that winter is clearly upon us (a bit early, I might add…), I thought I’d kick off the sudden change in seasons with some tips from some already-decent triathlons, runners and coaches.  If you have tips of your own for winter survival, please feel free to tell us under the comments:

  • “Always make sure you eat within 20 minutes of any winter training session, for ultimate recovery. My favourites are cherry-chocolate Mega-Burn bars – ultra-healthy so I don’t feel guilty eating them.” – Michelle Dillon (Two-time Olympian & winner of 2007 London Triathlon)
  • Strength & Training – Make sure you get advice around your strength training from an expert but focus on periods, with the first period about getting the technique right (6-8 week), then adding some weight and increasing the intensity and finally a power phase. This will help for all 3 of your sports. – Absolute Triathlon Coaching
  • “Enjoy the odd break, enjoy the temptation of the winter months. You are a triathlete, so any weight will soon come off when you’re back to full training. Eat healthily and sensibly, but allow yourself things you like; otherwise, life isn’t fun.” Steve Trew (Olympic coach and Commonwealth Welsh team manager)
  • The best way to keep up your fitness over the winter is to be crazy. Crazyness can be learned if you practice it. I would love coming home from a 6-7 am run in January with ice on my eyebrows right when my room-mates would be waking up. The crazy workouts are the workouts you remember. – Grant Lerdahl

  • Go Mountain Biking – During the winter spend time on doing some mountain biking, this will not only improve you riding but also help with gear selection and keep you off the roads in winter. Remember never go out on your bike in icy conditions – it just isn’t worth it. Absolute Triathlon Coaching
  • “Don’t change your diet radically, but remember you do have to eat more when it is cold outside.” Will Clarke (Olympic Triathlete & 2006 under-23 ITU World Champion)
  • “Tell yourself that training in the miserable winter makes you a mentally stronger athlete. In the Madrid World Cup last May, athletes from hotter countries suffered with the rain and cold, whereas us tough Brits stuck it out.” – Hollie Avil (2008 Corus British National Champion)

Triathlete Kevin Izzard Training in the snow.

  • One trick to avoiding winter burnout is keeping a long term mindset. It’s hard to do long endurance rides on indoor trainers all winter long. What helps me was to remember that I was doing the long slow rides all winter so I could do spring speed work. Building endurance first then speed is the proven method for endurance sports. Don’t think about your races in March or May when you are training in December, it’s simply too far away to get me excited. What does work is remembering you are training your endurance, so you can train your speed, so you can race. – Grant Lerdahl
  • Training too hard during the off season will make you feel burnt out when you want to perform your best. This is why it is best to take a fun and learning approach to training during the winter months. – Coach Jay Marschall
  • Don’t over do the indoor bike sessions, remember to get outside!  …there are various options for shortening bike and run sessions to still get effective training during the winter, but there is no real substitute for getting outside and putting the miles in! – Garry at Intelligent Triathlon Training
  • There is no such thing as inappropriate weather, only inappropriate clothing. – “Avoneer”
  • The system most used for energy in endurance sports like triathlon, is the aerobic system. In fact ,95% of an Olympic distance triathlon is done aerobically. This is why during the offseason months(Oct- March), the majority of your training should be done at an aerobic heartrate. The best way to do this is with the use of a heartrate monitor. Coach Jay Marschall
How will YOU be training this winter??
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2 Responses

  1. Great compilation of advice! I love the permission to eat a little more and indulge in the winter. Plus, I fully agree that there’s not bad weather, just bad clothing–especially for running.

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