Winter is here and for most of us, that means colder weather and darker mornings and nights. Hopefully, you have just come off a nice rest block during the month of December, using that time to recharge, physically and mentally. Now it’s time to think about jumping back into training, but what does that mean for the winter months, when your race season is still pretty far away?
Let’s focus on off-season bike training, since it’s one of the most challenging aspects of winter triathlon training. Gone are the long summer days of daylight, the warmer weather, the Sunday coffee group rides. So how should you approach off-season bike training?
Off-Season Focus: Bike
- Set In-season Bike Goals. In order to make the most of your off-season, think about what you want to improve in your “on season” (i.e.- races). Do you want to be better at bike handling? Stronger on hills? Do you want more power? Or do you need to be more comfortable on the bike? Once you set some realistic bike goals, you can narrow your focus for your off-season.
- Strength Train. No matter what your bike goals are, everyone should strength train in the off-season. Aim for 2-3 times per week, and include bodyweight, heavy weight, and mobility and flexibility exercises. See THIS VIDEO for the top 5 strength moves for cyclists.
- Play Bikes. Step away from the tri and road bike! Winter is a great time to head out on a mountain bike or gravel bike. Not only will you gain valuable bike handling skills, but you will also get a chance to be out in the woods or on rural dirt roads, away from cars and away from your power meter. 🙂
- Explore Other Activities. Off-season is a great time to try other activities. For many of us in the north, winter sports like skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking, and cross country skiing are great alternatives. But now is a good time to trail run, hike, or take a Zumba class.
- Get A Bike Fit. If you have not had a proper bike fit, you should get one. And if you have had a bike fit, you should get one. Before you start your longer trainer or road sessions, make sure you are comfortable and efficient on your bike. Your body is always changing- you lose and gain flexibility; you might want to explore a more aggressive aero position; or maybe you are going to try out aero bars for the first time. Find a licensed bike fitter and spend an hour dialing in your fit.
Off-Season Focus: 5 Strength Exercises For Cyclists
In the end, the off-season is a time to step away from the regimented training that we triathletes gravitate towards. Give yourself a chance to move your body in new ways and get strong without worrying about hitting heart rate or power or pace goals. Because before you know it, off-season turns into pre-season and then it’s ramp-up time!
For other videos from Amy regarding off-season focus on the bike, watch these videos: