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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.

CAUTION: When getting into your wetsuit, sharp objects can penetrate the rubber of your performance wetsuit. Long fingernails and other sharp objects could make small cuts in the surface of your wetsuit if caution is not exercised. These small cuts are not covered under the manufacturer warranty and are the responsibility of the owner. When trying on a wetsuit, it is best to clip fingernails and/or to be especially aware of your nails.

Make getting into your wetsuit simple with these 9 steps

1. Step into the wetsuit with the zipper facing behind you.

Image result for putting on wetsuit

2. Pull the legs of the wetsuit about 1-2 inches above your ankle. If you are having trouble getting the wetsuit over your foot, you can put a plastic grocery bag over your foot and then pull on the wetsuit.

3. Raise the wetsuit up around your waist. Work the wetsuit towards your crotch area until all air pockets have disappeared. For an ideal fit, the wetsuit should feel snug and almost tight around the waist and legs.

4. Lift the wetsuit up around your arms or shoulders depending on the wetsuit model.

5. For a full suit (long sleeve), pull the sleeves 1-2 inches past your watch or wrist area. When pulling on the sleeves, pull on the rubber between the elbow and shoulder.

6. To maximize the range of motion and comfort in the water, it’s important to take your time fitting the arms. Point your arms to the sky and start working the wetsuit material towards your shoulder. The wetsuit fit is correct when there is no gap between the wetsuit and your armpit. Excess rubber should reside above the shoulder. Repeat for both arms.

7. Have a second person zip and secure the collar. Ask the person assisting you to be careful that the zipper does not catch in the protective back flap. Having another person secure the back mechanisms will prolong the life of the rubber and help prevent your zipper from getting stuck in the closed position.

8. The wetsuit should feel tight around your neck causing the wetsuit to move with the neck. If your neck moves freely inside of the wetsuit, readjust the collar. If you choose to use lubrication products, make sure it is a non-petroleum based lubricant.

9. A proper fitting wetsuit should feel almost uncomfortably tight out of the water. The suit will naturally expand and become more comfortable once in the water and in a proper swimming position.

Follow these steps and getting into your wetsuit will get easier over time. The advice will also help prolong the life of your wetsuit. Take care of it and it’ll take care of you! Looking for your first wetsuit or to upgrade? Check out Roka wetsuits!

Is your body like a racecar?

Maybe you should think of your body as a racecar! For long-distance racing (swimming, biking, running), nutrition is the key to success. That is assuming you appropriately trained for the race and pace yourself based on your training. The biggest thing we see is the lack of knowledge around calories and the fear of not having enough salt. Cramping, bonking, blowing up, are all things we want to avoid. What causes them?

Cramping

Cramping is caused by overuse and lack of sodium. Cramping in a short-distance event is due to overuse and not the body’s lack of sodium. Cramping in a long-distance event can be due to sodium, but it can also be due to overuse. If it is due to lack of sodium, it will not be in one isolated area, like your calf. You will feel the cramping across the entire body. Once this happens, it is nearly impossible to recover during any mid-distance event.

Bonking

Caused by running out of fuel during a long-distance event. It is almost impossible to truly bonk during a short event (less than one hour).

Blowing up

Blowing up is the most common issue that most people confuse with the other two. Blowing up is caused by going too fast. Using your muscles at a level for which you did not train them will cause them to cramp up. If you can average 20 mph at your local TT of 15 miles, this does not mean you can hold this average for the bike of a half or full Ironman.

To keep it easy, you want to think of your body like a racecar. Your car needs three basic things to keep running: Gas, oil, and electricity. Click To Tweet

3 basic things the body needs to perform at a long distance event

The three things your body needs to perform during a long-distance event are water, calories, and sodium. Everyone’s body processes calories, water, and sodium at different rates. It is not possible to replace everything you burn in terms of calories, but the replacement of water and sodium while you slowly dig a calorie hole is the key to success.

Your body needs calories like a racecar needs gas.

Gas is like your calories. Calories are the fuel your body needs to run.

Gas is like your calories. This is the fuel your body needs to run.  Calories can come in the form of Clif Shot Energy Gels, Clif Bars, Clif Bloks, chews, breakfast, or any other food or liquid that has calories. Watch your sports drinks as they may have calories as well.

Oil is like your water. Water lubricates your joints and allows your engine to process and burn fuel.

Electricity is like your sodium. Sodium is what your body needs to allow its muscles to fire.

You can be low in these different areas, but being empty in these areas is what causes major trouble. The purpose of this analogy is to help people better understand what is going on with your body. Checking on properly identify nutrition issues and better keep your body running like a racecar.