The offseason is the period between competitive seasons, usually during the cold season, when there are few starts and it’s time to recover and lay the groundwork for the following year. Therefore, the training process at present is different from the usual.
By working hard in training, we want to be even faster, stronger and more resilient next season. But you cannot constantly keep yourself at the peak of competitive form, run, swim and pedal faster and harder – the body will quickly exhaust the resource, and the results will cease to please.
How to train out of season to make the most of it, explained Igor Zelensky, triathlon coach at the Marathonica school.
What is the offseason
In Russia, the offseason lasts from October to March, it is quite a long and difficult period for an athlete:
- Short daylight hours, except for southern regions.
- Uncomfortable weather conditions. Swimming in the pool, running outside in the cold or in the rain is still acceptable, but cycling in such weather is an unpleasant and even dangerous activity for your health: there is a risk of hypothermia and joint inflammation.
- Low motivation for training due to lack of departures.
- The fatigue that has accumulated over the season is both physical and emotional.
- Weight gain, decreased immunity, seasonal diseases.
The picture that emerges is gloomy. But in fact, the off-season is an important period that can and should be enjoyed profitably. The next season will depend on how it goes. With the right approach, you can improve your fitness and reach a higher level of training, otherwise you will lose everything that was and have to start over.
Also, after the competitive season, you just need to rest and recuperate, and the offseason is the best time for that. Right now you have to do a health check, make a complete functional diagnosis, identify your strengths and weaknesses.
How to deal with the challenges of the offseason
Due to weather conditions, cycling outside is not suitable, but you should not leave the bike either. The exit is to transfer to the bike station. For some, training on the machine will seem boring, but if you diversify them with the help of Zwift, Sufferfest, Triner Road and others, the workouts won’t be so boring.
Useful: 10 popular cycling apps
It is probably one of the best alternatives in winter. If you have the ability and desire to ski, don’t ignore it. Cross-country skiing is great for building general endurance and keeping the right muscles in good shape.
Flying away for a few weeks to warmer climes to train in the company of like-minded people is a great idea for how to spend the off-season. There are many sports campsites, choose the option that suits your tastes and your budget.
In Russia, suitable weather conditions and terrain can be found in Crimea, Sochi, Kislovodsk.
Useful material: Cross-country ski camp in Kislovodsk: why this city is so popular among athletes
Sign up for a run or ski race. Try winter triathlon. Participating in competitions will keep you motivated and won’t let you forget the spirit of competition.
What, how much, when and how to take them, the doctor will tell you after the examination. You don’t have to take everything right away or what your friends in the athletic department advise, because each body is individual.
How not to lose shape
Rule number 1. Work on technique
Work on the mechanics of the blow and its effectiveness, position of the body in the water. If technique is less than ideal, contact a trainer, take an underwater photo of yourself swimming, then start doing drills to improve your technique.
Don’t forget dry swimming. There is no need to go to specialized gyms, just buy a dry swim simulator (rubber band with paddles) and hone your rowing skills at home.
Work on circular pedaling. To improve technique, turn with one foot in a light gear, applying force at each pedaling point and increasing speed over time.
The phases of circular pedaling are as follows:
- push the pedal forward and down
- pull the pedal down
- push the pedal up
- push it forward
Make sure your foot is nearly parallel to the floor. Movements should be fluid, without “dead spots”. For safety reasons, it is recommended to do this exercise on the machine.
Work on body position, handwork, foot placement, cadence, and focus on strengthening ligaments and tendons.
All technique drills are best done at the stadium, because. on an uneven surface, it is more difficult to control the technique.
As with the other segments, to make your running technique more efficient and economical, contact a trainer. With it, you will analyze your own race, identify your weaknesses and receive recommendations to improve your technique.
Rule number 2. Improve your strength performance
Strength training will make you stronger. The off-season is a good time to work on it.
The power “diet” of triathletes necessarily contains static-dynamic exercises. These exercises are done with resistance at a slow pace, for example, squats with and without weights: slowly descend to an 80-85 degree angle, then slowly come back up, but don’t straighten your legs completely. You will get a pedaling simulation.
Tension during exercise should cause stress, but don’t overdo it. Do this until a pain or intense burning sensation occurs in the muscles, then rest and repeat the exercise. All movements must be fluid and executed without stopping.
During training, you can do the following strength exercises:
- Swimming in the shoulder blades, with a basin, with a brake belt, with an ankle brace, in a T-shirt.
- Ride uphill with heavy gears.
- Running on hills or sand, running uphill.
Don’t forget to do muscle strengthening exercises: obliques, transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, adductors, coracobrachialis, etc.
Rule number 3. Build your aerobic base
It’s simple: do long workouts at moderate intensity in each discipline. Such training increases the stroke volume of the heart and the growth of mitochondrial mass. By developing an aerobic base, you develop the speed below which you will in no way be able to swim, ride or run.
Also, a good level of aerobic endurance will allow you to recover quickly from the various accelerations during the start.
To reduce the shock load on the joints and avoid injuries in the cold season, it is better to develop an aerobic base during cycling training.
Rule number 4. Strengthen your ligaments and tendons
Healthy and strong ligaments and tendons are insurance against injury. To strengthen them, do the following exercises:
- Jump on one leg, jump on the platform, jump rope, jump lunges
- Special running exercises
- Leg swings and squats
The off season is not a boring time in the training process. It can be very diverse, it helps to prepare the body for the new season, as well as to solve accumulated problems, for which there was not enough time during the period of active competition.
You just need to figure out what’s worth working on at this time of year and how to improve your weaknesses to become even “faster, higher, stronger” next season.
Read more: How to distribute the training load between the three disciplines in triathlon