“Triathletes typically end the season pretty weak because they haven’t done any strength training—due to all the sport-specific work they do when preparing for races,” Kropelnicki says.
A lack of strength training leads to muscular imbalances and areas of weakness, which ultimately makes triathletes more susceptible to injury.
To rebuild strength lost during the season, Kropelnicki recommends scheduling two to three strength sessions per week during the offseason.
Ways to regain strength this winter:
Take your strength training to new heights, literally. Rock climbing is a full-body workout that feels less like work and more like play. An engaged core helps keep your body balanced on the wall, grip or finger strength helps you hold on, and your arms and legs are responsible for powering you up to the top of the climb. The best part: All that work builds endurance. A single climb is sure to leave you gasping for air.
Added bonus: Rock climbing exercises the mind. Every climb—from short boulder problems (high-powered climbing that’s closer to the ground) to longer routes—is like a maze or a puzzle. You have to figure out the best way to get to the top.
Check out your local rock gym and find out how long you can hang on.
“Cross-country skiing is the ultimate muscular endurance workout,” says QT2 triathlon coach John Spinney. “And it is a blast.”
Not only does it engage the muscles in your entire body—upper body, lower body and core—it’s an incredible workout for your heart and lungs.
Spinney says that cross-country skiing is equal to about 90 percent of what a tri-specific workout would be, which is better than most other cross-training activities. “The classic technique (which utilizes the forward glide motion) translates well to running; and the skate technique (which utilizes a motion similar to ice skating) translates well to cycling,” he says.
Of course, the closer you get to your race season, the more sport-specific training becomes a priority, so be sure to get out there and enjoy the winter while you can.