The leaves are turning and that means another triathlon "offseason" is approaching. I put "offseason" in parenthesis because, let's face it, there really is no offseason in the sport of triathlon. But sometimes our motivation can be affected once we complete our final race of the season and we no longer have a goal to look forward to, at least not for a few months. What should be a four- to six-week transition period can easily turn into two to three months of lack luster training and a decline in fitness.
Below are eight tips to keep your focus and determination throughout the entire offseason. Using these tips in your offseason training can help you maintain your fitness and set you up for a successful season next year.
Racing in the winter months can be a great motivator to help you stick to a consistent training schedule. If your goal is to get faster, plan a few 5K or 10K races in the offseason. If you plan on doing an Ironman 70.3 or a full-distance event later next year, look for a half or full marathon during your base training.
Maybe your weakness is swimming. Look for a Masters swim club and sign up for a few meets. Racing in the offseason helps keep you sharp and tuned up so when you get back into the triathlon racing schedule, you'll be primed and ready to show off your new fitness gains.
Train Your Weaknesses
"The offseason is when championships are won." You have heard this quote before. Yes, you need to allow for full recovery once you have completed your final race of the season but understand that a successful triathlon season depends on consistent offseason work. Working your weaknesses and limiters will be your focus and these weaknesses can turn into strengths with consistent efforts.
Try this strategy: set some offseason goals. Examples could be to improve swimming efficiency, build running foundation, commit to a strength training program or get better on the hills on your bike. These offseason goals should help guide you toward achieving your seasonal goals.
Hire a Coach
Don't wait until March to hire a coach. Now is the time when a coach can plan a detailed training regimen that will be set up for long-term success. As a coach myself, it's a tough variable to handle when prospecting triathletes come to me six weeks before an "A" race. Being able to help an athlete build fitness through long term planning and progressions is the way to go. Also, having a coach in the offseason will keep you dialed in and focused with a smart and structured plan throughout the winter months.
Join a Club
For the most part, triathlon training is done individually. But having a group of others join you periodically can be a great way to keep you motivated and accountable during the offseason. That is the exact reason I started The Visalia Triathlon Club. Our members love getting together, even in the offseason, to train and work out. Being around like-minded individuals will help you keep your focus during the winter because you'll have others shooting for similar goals and addressing similar training needs.