You can do many things to get your training off to a good start, both mentally and physically, even in imperfect weather conditions.
Build Your Cycling Base Indoors1 of 5
Indoor cycling has come a long way in the past two decades. The old days of riding awkwardly designed stationary bikes or putting your cycle on rollers have now gone high-tech. Take advantage of some of the indoor cycling options available to you because there is likely a perfect fit for your particular training style.
If you prefer to train at home, using an indoor spinner will allow you to get good workouts on your actual triathlon or road bike while also working in some excellent interval or anaerobic threshold training rides. If you have a little more to spend, you can move to a specially designed stationary bike that allows for streaming training videos or actual live classes on the screen, making for great variety and coaching. For those who prefer to work out in a group setting, most gyms and health clubs offer a large variety of spin classes given the popularity of spinning as a general workout. Take advantage of them to build your base while the snow is covering the roads and trails.
Tune up Your Swim Stroke2 of 5
Winter is a great time to get your pool workouts in, as the indoor lap pool is no different in January than it is in July. This can be a great time to ease into the swim aspect of your training plan, building a good cardio base and refining your technique. If you have access to one, consider becoming part of a masters swim group at a local club or pool to benefit from group coaching. These groups can help you work on your technique and get rid of bad habits before you increase your workout intensity in the spring.
If a masters swim group does not appeal to you, consider some video- based coaching to assist with your technique. Such videos can give you excellent coaching and tips that you can then take to the pool during your practice. Just be sure that you don't overdo it--a couple swims a week are plenty for most triathletes at this early stage of the season, and one good swim per week will be enough to begin building your base.
Incorporate Yoga, Stretching and HIIT3 of 5
Sometimes the best way to get into your triathlon training is to do workouts that have little to do with the three triathlon disciplines. Pulling in regular workouts in yoga can help with your strength, core and flexibility. Adding some specific stretching sessions can help you start the new tri season with flexibility, which will in turn reduce your likelihood of injuries once you increase the workout intensity. Finally, incorporating high intensity interval training can do wonders for your body as you start your training plan. The right HIIT workouts will provide great total body strength workouts and excellent core work all while getting your heart rate used to being in the right training zone.
Find Your Plan4 of 5
Winter is the time to get your game plan set. We often see triathletes wander aimlessly into the season, training haphazardly and then looking for a race sometime in the summer. It is better to be much more intentional about the season, and now is a good time to identify your A-race as well as those other races that might work well with your schedule.
Once you have your races mapped out, spend some quality time finding the right training plan. Great places to find training plans might be online triathlon resources such as Complete Tri or here at ACTIVE.com, through a local or virtual coach if you want to get even more serious or by working with a local triathlon club or group. Training plans typically come in a number of varieties, but here are a few tips for finding the right plan: Be sure the plan duration aligns with your fitness goals, find a plan that is suited to your base level of fitness (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and then adjust your training calendar to align with your A-race during the season.
It might be cold and snowy now, but don't let that stop you from getting a jump on your training. Pretty soon, the days will be longer, the roads will be dryer, the weather will be warmer and you will be thankful that you got your training started when you did!