Winter Triathlon Training – Issue #52

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Winter Triathlon Training Newsletter

Dear Friend,

For many of us, November marks the start of the “off season” in triathlon. Leaves are falling, the weather is cooling down, pools are closing, and motivation may be losing steam!

Don’t lose hope just yet! Fall and winter can be fun times for training no matter where you live.

The following article makes some key points about not doing too much or too little in the offseason, which I definitely agree with. Applying this to swimming, the goal should be to never lose the “feel” for the water over the next couple of months, but to keep yourself going with some interesting workouts from Tri Swim Coach, or hiring a coach to keep you on track.


Training Shouldn’t Stop When the Leaves Change

By Jeb Stewart, M.S., C.S.C.S.

Seasons are made or broken by what we do or don’t do in the off-season. Athletes commonly make two mistakes: Waiting until the racing season is upon them to hire a coach and then expect them to work miracles; and firing their coach when racing season concludes and then rehiring them in the spring.

These approaches are short sighted, and often mean you’ll reach sub-optimal fitness and miss hitting your goals. What you do in the off-season determines the heights you can reach during the next year. Those who do it correctly meet and exceed their goals, while those who don’t end up falling short and wondering why.

If you wait until spring, many coaches may not have availability or may require you to pay another start-up fee for the additional work necessary to get you back into condition (which wouldn’t have been necessary if you’d been working together continuously).

How a Season Goes Wrong

How can a season go wrong? The most common answer: Doing too much or too little.Doing too much might mean working too hard, when developing base fitness is really what’s needed; doing too much or the wrong exercise in the gym; or gaining too much weight.

Even more athletes fall into the doing too little category. Examples include: not taking enough recovery time; not doing enough miles; skipping cross-training or gym work; not doing enough base training or doing it at too low an intensity; or not attending to goals and long-term fitness.

A coach can help you stay on track and make sure you’re doing the right things to reach your goals. I see too many athletes making all of the above mistakes. Having a coach prescribe the correct power or heart rate training zones can ensure you’re doing what’s necessary to meet your goals. One of the worst feelings is to learn that all that hard work you put in didn’t get you where you needed to be; a coach can ensure that your training time is used well and is geared specifically to your goals.

Many athletes want to be ready overnight, but it doesn’t happen that way. Those who are patient and diligent in their preparation have the greatest success. For example, I started working an athlete in November, for her goal races in July.

Her patience and hard work paid off when she was on the podium 13 out of 14 races, won her state championships and two stage races. She believed in herself, her coach and the process.

Why work with a coach?

Here are just a few of the many things your coach can help you with during the off-season:

  • Nutritional guidance and analysis
  • Body composition goals
  • Cross-training
  • Periodized training
  • Creating a proper strength and conditioning program
  • Yoga and flexibility training
  • Mental and physical skills training
  • Year-end training review and analysis
  • Goal development for the upcoming season and annual planning

Whether you’re a recreational racer or a full-time athlete, what you do in the off-season is extremely important, and quite often will determine whether you meet your goals. Create your best season ever by working with a coach who can help you optimize the time you spend training in the off-season and make sure you’re on track for the upcoming year.

Jeb Stewart is a USA Cycling Expert Level coach and has a master’s in exercise science and health promotion. He’s certified by the ACSM, NSCA and NASM and is head coach and co-owner of The Peaks Coaching Group. Jeb has competed at the national level in a variety of sports and currently races on the road around the country. He specializes in coaching athletes using a holistic approach and is on the forefront of coaching cyclists with power. Jeb’s passion for helping people has led him to become a presenter, writer and consultant on training, performance and wellness. Contact Jeb at or at 813-230-2900.

Tip of the Month- Hand Entry

On freestyle arm recovery, it seems logical to lift your arm out of the water, and reach as far as you can through the air before putting your arm back into the water to start your next pull.

It may come to a surprise to many people to find out that this is inefficient! Reaching through the air and slapping your arm down into the water can result in improper body position at the start of the next pull. Instead, “slice” your hand and arm into the water, somewhere to the right of and in front of your head. As your arm is slicing through the water, your hips should be rotating, setting you up for the next underwater pull.