1. Work on your mental fitness by reading sport psychology booksOff season training is the foundation for your summer of racing ahead. To stay motivated I always enter a race towards the end of winter (ideally in an exotic location). This keeps me working hard at training and also limits my chocolate intake knowing I will be in full Lycra in a few months’ time. This is a great time to play around with your race day nutrition. Every Saturday I have a race day type training session where I work on what type of nutrition and when is most beneficial for me. I also use winter to work on my "mental fitness" where I read sport psychology books that help me learn how to push even harder and how to stay in control in those tough moments. My favourite books at the moment are 'In the Pursuit of Excellence' and 'How much do you want it?'. Train in the toughest winter days as much as possible so when you’re standing on that start line in the summer it will feel like a piece of cake. Pip Meo – Professional Triathlete, Bodyneed Sponsored Athlete - follow Pips Blog
2. Mobilise your stiff bits and stabilise your weak areas with Pilates!Well of course we are going to advocate PILATES!! What we love about pilates for the off season is its ability to fire up all those deep intrinsic muscles that are often overlooked in the midst of busy training weeks. You know those lazy glutes, deeper abdominals, shoulder stabilisers and sleepy hamstrings… the ones your coach and physio are always harping on about. Your off season gives you a chance to focus on strengthening your weak areas and lengthening your short tight areas – yes you hip flexors! The team at Bodyneed - read more about pilates here
3. Do stuff that's fun, social and new!1. Make it fun
2. Focus on longer term goal(s)
3. Make it social
4. Explore new places, new disciplines.
5. Enter an event(s)
6. Make it fun. If it isn’t go and do something that is still fun in crap weather.
7. Buy the warmest / most functional winter training gear. Of course make sure it looks good :-)
James Kueglar - James Kueglar Coaching
4. Do an exercise completely different from your normal sportDo a sport or exercise in which you can simulate to your original sport. Also do an exercise completely different to keep your body well rounded. I believe it can help avoid injuries that can be caused from the same body motion over and over. For example, I do pilates to strengthen my weak muscle groups that cycling doesn't help. Ruby Livingstone – Professional Cyclist, Bodyneed Sponsored Athlete
5. Try Tabata training for something different but incredibly effectiveI love love love tabata training. Incredibly effective and time efficient so you can get your strength and or cardio training done and dusted in 4-8 mins and still feel like you're taking a break from gruelling endurance training sessions or game time etc
As important as it is to let your body recover, it is also important to maintain condition so it's not such a shock to the system when it's time to get stuck back into training again.
I love tabata training.... Amazing for fat burning and maintaining muscle mass!
Another non-negotiable, STRETCH! One or two yoga or Pilates per week will lengthen and condition muscles and posture for recovery and to promote future injury prevention for when you are back in the game.
Niki Loe – Personal Trainer to the stars of Configure Ponsonby!
6. Use this time for reflection and planningThe off season for me is a time for reflection and also a time for planning
You should reflect on the past season, what went well and what areas you need to work on. Think of the times when races just “gelled together” and also the days when everything was a struggle. Talk to your coach, friends, and consult your diary as to why things went well when they did and where you may have weaknesses.
The off-season is a perfect time to focus on the skills you need to improve on before next season starts. You may focus on strength training or increasing flexibility or on specific drills to minimise your weaknesses. It’s a good time to work on your pacing and heart rate sets or technique – even getting video analysis to find out exactly how good your form is compared to the best. All of these create opportunities for you to improve before the start of the next season.
I also find this a great time for planning for next season – looking at your goals and objectives. Identify those races or meets that you want to perform well in for this year and next. Stepping back from those key races…How are you going to hit your target times? What does this mean for your training over the next six months in order for you to be prepared? This is where talking to your coach is really important so that your training can be tailor made with your goals in mind. Richard Lockhart – Swimmer, World Masters Champion, Ex-Olympian, Business Owner
7. Build your fitness and balance in all areasOff season training provides athletes the opportunity to create a balanced foundation of fitness on which to build their upcoming sports season. In isolation Specific Physical Preparedness (SPP) programs can lead to structural imbalances and overuse injuries, whereas utilising a General Physical Preparedness (GPP) program such as CrossFit will increase an athlete’s fitness and balance in all areas leading into their sports season. CrossFit utilises an extensive list of 'core to extremity’ exercises which are reproduced in a variety of ways in all sports. Dave Cooke – CrossFit Auckland Central Head Coach
8. Be realistic of what you will achieve and have fun!1. Be realistic about what I will achieve. No matter how much I want to spend more time on my bike, I know I will not get on my road bike in the dark and wet so I am better to not schedule morning rides before work.
2. I don't usually have any major races in winter, so it is a good time to be focusing on strength. Previous years I've been rebuilding upper body strength after shoulder injuries, this year I will be working on leg strength to improve my hill running.
3. Have fun! Get in as much mountain biking and trail running as I can, preferably with friends so it becomes a social catch up and / or an adventure. Claire Fox – Trail Runner, Marketing Manager
9. Tackle weaknesses, build hours and get off roadWinter is easy to find reasons not to keep active but if you are already hooked, or would like to consider stepping into triathlon, then we have some helpful advice for you to keep fit over winter… It starts with your swim… focus on making sure you tackle any weaknesses you might have with your swim technique. Rather than pushing the mileage in the pool too soon, give yourself one session a week dedicated to technique. For the Bike … Build the number of hours on your long ride gradually. Time in the saddle is invaluable whatever distance triathlon you may be planning to do. Make sure you mix up the terrain in training, including hill reps which help build strength. If the weather is dubious or you have limited daylight, then it is much more efficient and safer to opt for a wind trainer. And for the Run… Running off-road as much as possible will generally save you from injury as the constant pounding on the pavement can impact on your body and off road running provides variety of terrain perfect for strength endurance.
Andrew Mackay – Boost Coaching