The triathlon offseason is a time to let off the gas pedal, allow our body to fully recover and get away from the constant grind of training. We usually have a 4-8 week period after our last race where training volume should be kept low. But it is very important to still train. Structured training is not what we are after. We will leave the periodization cycles for the main periods of the triathlon season. The offseason can be a great time to implement lower volume workouts but can still help you maintain your fitness levels.
Workout #1: Treadmill Cruise Hill Repeats
During the Winter months, it can be tough for some people to get outside to do their running. I love this workout in the offseason because it’s away from the cold, it takes less than an hour and it keeps the mind occupied. It will also develop running strength by incorporating hills to the workout.
First complete a thorough dynamic warm up. An example could look like this:
- Warm-up jog for 8-10 minutes.
- Perform 4 x 30 seconds at 7.0 mph/30 seconds recover at 5.5 mph – 1% incline
- Main set: 4 x 5 minute hill repeats, keeping heart rate at Zone 3 (no higher); focus on good running mechanics throughout each interval – 2 minute easy jog, no incline for recovery
- Set 1 at 4%
- Set 2 at 5%
- Set 3 at 6%
- Set 4 at 7%
- Cool down: 5-10 minutes of easy jogging to allow heart rate to settle back down
Workout #2: Treadmill sprints
Many triathletes do not sprint during their training program. I strategically incorporate sprinting into all of my athletes training program for a few reasons. First, running fast is fun. Second, running fast teaches proper running technique. And third, you do not need much time to produce a positive effect with sprinting workouts. That is why this is a great offseason workout to add to your routine. The key here is going at your own level and choosing the appropriate speed.
Again, first complete a thorough dynamic warm-up like above.
- Warm-up jog for 10 minutes slowly increasing your speed to a 10k race pace.
- Perform 7 x 30 second intervals at 5k race pace/30 seconds recovery at a slow run pace.
- Main set: 6 - 10 x 15 second sprints/45 seconds recovery (grab the handles of the treadmill and hop off, then when it’s time to repeat grab the handles, get your feet moving first then when you feel comfortable let go of the handles); If you have never done a sprint workout stick to lower repetitions. Start off at a speed you can handle with good form and rhythm but challenges you a bit. Increase the speed as you feel more comfortable to handle higher intensities.
- Cool down with a 10 minute jog allowing the heart rate to settle back down.
Workout #3: Base run with long hill runs
This is a lower intensity workout that will build your endurance. The longer duration hill intervals will give you stamina when running hills. I implement these workouts if I feel an athlete needs to improve their running on longer hills and build their endurance at the same time. The key is to maintain a low heart rate (stay at conversational pace) during the workout.
Complete a thorough dynamic warm-up like we have discussed above.
- Warm up jog for 10 minutes at 1.5% incline at your long run race pace.
- Main set: 2 x 20 minute aerobic pace, long hill repeats at 5% incline. Again, keep the speed moderate. The idea is to stay aerobic, keep the heart rate low and work on your uphill running technique. After the first interval, run at your long run race pace for 2-3 minutes with no incline, then repeat the 2nd interval.
- Cool down with a 5-minute jog with no incline.
Give these treadmill workouts a try to add variety to your program this offseason. Remember, always go at your level, modify the sets and repetitions accordingly and pay attention to your body.