However, if you get too attached to the three disciplines, you may end up losing your edge for competition.
Cross-training can help triathletes add variety to their weekly routine, prevent injuries and keep their mind and body fresh for race day. It can also be a handy tool for injured triathletes and can serve as an important part of recovery.
In short, cross-training keeps the daily grind interesting and athletes on track. That can pay back dividends come race day.
Rowing Machine1 of 8
By improving cardiovascular conditioning, rowing can help make you a stronger triathlete. Hop on the machine and get in a rhythm similar to the bike. Start easy and work up to a higher intensity following a warm-up. Maintain that intensity for a tempo workout or add in sprint intervals.
Nordic Skiing2 of 8
Some of the athletes with the highest maximal oxygen uptakes (VO2max) are elite Nordic skiers. Although this option is only available to those who live in colder climes, it is one of the best alternate workouts available to triathletes. It works the upper and lower body, as well as the cardiovascular system.
Stair Climber3 of 8
This exercise may seem boring to many triathletes, but the results are worth any initial wariness. Not only is the stair climber going to make you sweat, it'll give your glutes, hamstrings and quads a fantastic workout.
Aqua Jogging4 of 8
Runners are often surprised by how hard aqua jogging can make you work. Not only does it allow you to imitate the running motion, it gives you the chance to rest your feet.
Elliptical5 of 8
Other than aqua jogging, this activity mimics running better than any other. Be sure to set enough resistance to get yourself sweating and your heart rate elevated.
Strength Training6 of 8
Numerous studies link strength training with improved endurance performance. Whether you're training for a sprint triathlon or a longer distance, this should be a part of your weekly triathlon training routine.
Additional Cross-Training Tips7 of 8
- Come up with a plan when approaching cross-training. By scheduling specific days for substitute cardio training or a strength workout, you'll insure that you don't over- or under-train.
- Pick exercises that in some way mimics swimming, biking or running. That can mean choosing an activity that employs the same muscles that are used in one of the three disciplines or it can be an aerobic exercise that works the cardiovascular system in a similar way.
- Wear a heart rate monitor when cross-training. While you may be adept at tracking effort while swimming, biking and running, other activities can pose a challenge. By wearing a heart rate monitor, you'll be able to ensure you stay at or above 70 percent of your maximum heart rate to get the most out of the workout.
- If you are injury prone, you can substitute up to 25 percent of your planned training mileage with cross-training.
- Have fun with it. Cross-training exercises can be a great way to mix up your workouts and make you appreciate triathlon training. Rather than feeling obligated to train, you'll look forward to those days, knowing you'll be doing something else tomorrow.