Posts

Focus on the run now, reap the benefits later

The offseason is upon us. Before you focus on the run, take a few weeks to mentally and physically repair your engine. Kayaking on Town Lake, spending time with the family (who were neglected during a long triathlon season), and reading a book will allow you to recharge for the upcoming year.

Once you have had enough of family time and sitting around, it’s time to be smart and begin base training. The goal is to NOT become a “National Champion” by January. It is hard in Texas, with our beautiful winters, but some self-control will bring you to the end of the 2019 Texas Tri Series injury-free. With no tri burnout. Begin your training by laying out a goal race schedule for 2019 so you know your “plan.” It’s easier to not get lost when you have a map to guide you. Make sure to note the key races (1-2 per season) and add in a few specific training blocks around those events. From here you can begin to lay the running foundation that will help you achieve your goals!

The Running Foundation (using these 3 building blocks will guide you to a faster run split in 2019)

1) Train to your weakness, race to your strength

Recommended: Mark Verstegen’s Core Performance

Offseason is the time to evaluate any nagging pains or issues that came up during the season.  Getting back into the gym to build up your functional strength – not to build up a nice 6-pack.  The goal is to strengthen issues like a weak hamstring or stabilize a weaker core. A great book is Mark Verstegen’s Core Performance, which can help you plan out ways to gain flexibility and develop postural balance/strength. These things can give you an edge on the run. Develop a stretching routine and set a recovery protocol for workouts (smoothie, stretching, ice, massage). Commit to caring for your body so you can race faster!

2) Drill work and strides = ability to get going FAST

Yes, run drills are crucial to the run and developing the leg turnover needed to gain speed. Look at elite runners, their cadence is 90+. Commit to 1-2 days of drill work along with 6-8×100 meter strides to aid in the cadence adaptation. Run drills will also help build up leg tolerance through the jumps, skips, and bounding. This means fewer chances of injuries. (visit www.bobbymcgee.com for a great booklet on running drills)

Examples of run drills include:

         – skipping (various speeds, heights, movements)

         – one leg drill

         – karaoke

         – bounding

         – Russian soldier

         – butt kicks

         – leg swings

         – high knees

3) Sign up for a race

When focusing on the run, set a goal race, lke the

Add a goal race, like the Austin Marathon 5K, when focusing on the run during the offseason.

Instead of going for your typical track session during the week, move things around and sign up for a 5K or a 10K.  Two great options are the Austin Marathon 5K on Feb. 17th and the Cap10K on April 7th. Utilize this opportunity. This will hold you accountable to getting the quality work in and teach you to run fast. It opens your eyes to how to run and challenges you to develop your running quickly. The key is to be smart and not over race. Your friends won’t remember what you did in February! Another great opportunity is to attack the Greenbelt. Move to the softer surfaces at least once or twice a week if possible. Give your legs a break from the pavement, especially on recovery days.

Use these 3 tips to gain an edge during the run and enhance your running this offseason. Enjoy this winter’s journey!

Don’t allow this year’s training to disappear during the offseason

Offseason to a lot of triathletes means taking time off from October to March to help re-energize for the following season. Others focus on different sports to get out of the winter elements. The rest just simply take time off.  How can you train during the offseason and keep triathlon fun on a year-round basis?

The goal should be purposeful training — focus on a few key elements with your training.  A great place to start is working on your physiology and the changes you can make over the winter months.

During #triathlon offseason, two key components to altering your physiology include increasing power-to-weight ratio and improving your cardiovascular network. Click To Tweet

Some athletes start the tri season in February in good cardio shape, but have added some extra holiday weight. Some have gone to a few too many holiday parties. They’ve ignored the fact that they are going to rev things up next season and start from square one. It is best when your body weight doesn’t fluctuate up and down. Keeping it constant is best for your cardiovascular system.

Running

Continuing to run can help maintain body weight during the offseason.

Add a half marathon to your winter calendar and continue training in the offseason.

The best way to keep the weight off is to run, but not like Forest Gump! Have a plan to continue running by entering a half marathon in the early part of next year. There are two great events coming up: 3M Half Marathon and the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon. The key to improving your physiology and keeping the weight off is to work on your stride rate. This means faster, possibly shorter strides during your long runs to improve the cardiovascular development in your legs. Try to pick up the stride rate without increasing your pace per mile or effort. A faster stride rate will help you develop capillaries deeper in the muscle. This will help fuel the legs better and flush lactic acid quicker. A good 3-6 weeks of this technique will help you keep the weight off until its time to work on the strength building phase of your training plan. Maximizing your power-to-weight ratio will allow you to find greater efficiencies across all three sports in triathlon.

Swimming

In addition to working on a faster stride rate in running, there are other ways to increase the cardiovascular network using the other sports.  In swimming, you can incorporate longer, aerobic sets with shorter rest intervals. A good example would be 4-6 x 800s as a workout. Of course, you may say “how boring can that be?” So working on your technique during these sets is a must. Try taking a technique clinic to make sure you learn the proper forms of efficiency swimming.  Long sets with bad technique can set you back rather than move you forward.

Cycling

Cycling in the offseason can improve your cardiovascular system.

Cycling in the offseason can improve your cardiovascular system.

With regards to your cycling, keeping a heavy emphasis on high cadence work will also aid in increasing your cardiovascular network. This may keep you in smaller gears than you are used to and maintaining your cadence at 90+ rpms for 70% of the ride time. If you don’t have a cadence meter, a good substitute is to count one leg for 15 seconds and multiply by 4 to get your rpms. During the winter months, we find ourselves riding indoors and on a trainer more often. Focusing on high cadence in these indoor sessions will give more purpose to your training. Spin classes are a good place to work on this. However, using your own bike with a trainer is best as you keep your body position constant to how you will be riding on the road.

Setting goals and having a purpose for your offseason training will help you stay motivated and focused during the winter training.  Best of all, these few tips will help you have a much more successful racing season in 2019.