Instead of going into hibernation and emerging just in time for your spring training block, a little maintenance and TLC can keep you healthy and tri-focused for the upcoming season. Conquer the cold with these eight simple ways to keep your triathlon mindset (and physique) this winter.
Do a Fun Run1 of 9
So you're an IRONMAN triathlete, and come spring your whole life is devoted to the pursuit of the swim, bike and run. We're guessing you're pretty burned out right about now—and that's ok. Find enjoyment this winter with a causal half marathon or relay with your friends—and for once, don't stress about getting your next PR.
Polar Plunge2 of 9
Swimming in the cold is literally the worst. If possible, find an indoor pool to make getting in and out of the water a little more pleasant. Use the winter months to refine your swim technique and improve efficiency in the water, and hire a swim coach for a couple sessions to get some game-changing pointers.
Where's the Beach?3 of 9
Unfortunately, you still have several months before you can debut your triathlon body at the beach, but the winter is still a great time to hit the gym and improve your strength. A strong, developed core is the foundation for swimming, biking and running, and it will decrease your chances for a season-ending injury, too.
Have your Cake4 of 9
It's totally natural to gain a couple extra pounds throughout the holidays and winter months. That fluff you're agonizing over actually helps your body recover from the previous season's wear and tear, and gives you a chance to take a break from your strict training diet to indulge in your favorite foods. Don't forget, though, you'll have to shed these pounds when the season starts, so go easy on that second slice of red velvet.
Turn off Strava5 of 9
Strava is a great tool for keeping track of your efforts, but seeing your hardcore triathlon buddies training through the winter can make you second guess your efforts (or lack thereof). Just because they aren't taking a break, doesn't mean you should be out there with them. Rest is just important as hard training days, and giving your body a chance to recover through the winter will leave you feeling fresh and rejuvenated when training resumes.
Take a Mental Health Break6 of 9
Decision fatigue is a very real thing. Forcing yourself to get on the trainer or on the treadmill on a daily basis can take a toll on your mental fortitude. Don't feel like heading to the gym this winter? Do some bodyweight exercises at home instead. Dreading that trainer spin? Take the dog and go snowshoeing. Anything to elevate your heart rate is better than skipping the workout altogether.
Short and Hard7 of 9
Limit your training load by completing short and hard efforts when running or cycling. These intense efforts are a great way to boost your power in less training time—something that's hard to work into a high-volume training plan during the season. Plus, you'll have more time for other tri-free things (yes, they do exist).
Stop Calling it the Offseason8 of 9
The "offseason" carries the connotation that you're taking a break from triathlon. While you'll be doing more couch surfing than racing, don't go too far down the rabbit hole. Remember, every decision—good or bad—will affect where you start once it's time to get back into a serious training block.