In the off-season, it is important to keep your levels of fitness high with a good winter training programme.
Put simply, variety is your friend. Maintaining high intensity and total accountability with your run training all year round is very difficult to do and realistically damaging to your progress. That is not to say that all intensity and accountability should be dropped, of course.
Learn what motivates you as an athlete
Part of your triathlon journey involves learning about yourself as an athlete and person. Some people respond really well to statistics, high accountability and numbers. For others this couldn’t be further from the truth.
This where the ‘art’ of coaching comes in and experience in dealing with athletes over time helps you to recognize this in others. However, if you’re not training with a coach you will have to take a more meaningful look at what makes you tick. As a general rule though taking some of the intensity out of the training is a good idea.
Explore the great outdoors
This time of year is perfect for going and exploring some trails and adding an element of exploration to your runs. This keeps you mentally alert and can be really good fun, which is key.
Running on trails and footpaths off-road will remove a level of intensity but benefit your stability as well. An app that is great for this is the Ordnance Survey app which allows you to finally work out where those footpaths come out or cross over. Getting to know your local area properly is really rewarding too.
Take it easier, but not too easy
Intensity can also be switched from, for example, intervals into tempo runs where the pressure is reduced and you are just running at a good but not deadly perceived effort.
Whilst taking some of the pressure off is beneficial for mind and body, don’t lose all accountability. Maintaining one structured interval session is very useful for maintaining focus both mentally and physically plus if numbers motivate you then this will be key. Only point to be careful of is your gear – this is a classic time of year to either get sick from getting too cold between intervals or tweaking a hamstring. Running Tights in particular can really help prevent such injuries.
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