The return of racing over the second half of this year has brought joy and purpose to most of our training. But as the rearranged marathons, deferred local races and big international events draw to a close, where does your focus switch, especially considering that marathon training season will be upon us again in January?!
For me the Winter represents 2 major opportunities; the chance to put my feet up and look back and evaluate my season, and secondly, an opportunity to address areas of fitness that naturally take a back seat during the build and peak phases of training.
For context my last couple of years of training has been geared around racing Ironman, but many of my B races have been running events. And the majority of the athletes that I work with are either triathletes or runners (mostly racing marathon and further!).
For us the Winter is strength season. With no more A races to consume our focus we can drop the training volume and weekly milage in favour of gym work, flexibility, mobility, and most important of all… FUN! Cross country racing provides the high intensity aerobic work, group trail running keeps the aerobic base ticking over
while having a laugh and exploring new local scenery, the gym keeps our muscular strength honest and yoga and mobility work compliments the aforementioned. We also throw in some group rides using Zwift when the British winter/monsoons really kick in, encourage cross training like bouldering, cold water swimming and racquet sports to keep the mind busy and provide variance.
The overarching theme here is fun and variety. After all, we all need as much of a mental break from structured training as a physical one. Now is the time to perhaps try a new sport, go back to one you’ve previously participated in, or even just chill for a bit! The other huge advantage of taking this approach is that family and other life commitments can have your full focus rather than jostling for position against the training schedule.
Enjoy the winter, folks, and feel free to let us know what you’ll be up to before you knuckle back down in January!