Benefits of Cross Training During Non-Triathlon Season!
By Coach Sarah Portella
Triathlon season is over. Now what? Are you an athlete that is ready to pack it in for the winter and hibernate? My guess is probably not! While you might be tempted to throw the trainer away and donate your run shoes, those feelings only last for a little while before you are itching to do something. ANYTHING.
The ending of triathlon season should be a joyous time. Don’t think of it as the off-season, but as an opportunity to try new things and exercise in different ways than you could during the peak of race season. In fact, I would say it is good for your mental health to turn off the triathlon training and focus on different types of exercise for a couple of months. Below I’ve listed out some great cross training alternatives to help you through the winter and leave you feeling strong and excited about the next triathlon training and racing season.
- Strength Training. I know. It’s probably a love hate relationship for most of us during the season. But during the time after triathlon season, it is a great opportunity to get to the gym more often and focus on building strength holistically, so we are strong and less prone to injury for the upcoming season.
- Cross country skiing. Do you live in an area that is blessed with inches upon inches of snow? Try this. Enjoy the outdoors while also developing a very strong aerobic system. Skiing recruits A LOT of muscles so you can be guaranteed to get a full body workout.
- Mountain Biking. Build your bike skills during the off season by exploring nature by bike and it’s a fun way to get outdoors during the cold months. Mountain biking is great for your bike skills. It builds explosive power, it forces you to work on your pedal stroke and efficiency, and it is just a mental break from the constant grind of being on that TT bike.
- Trail Running. Another fun way to get outdoors in the cold. Just like mountain biking, trail running gives you a mental break from those constant road miles while also building strength in your legs and making you more resilient.
This is just a super short list of what you can do during the winter months. The key is finding something that gives you a mental and physical reset from triathlon training so that when it’s time to dive back into training you are excited to get back to the structure. Other options could include cyclocross, dedicated swim training (work on limiters!), hiking, etc.
Discuss your ideas with your coach! Chances are your coach will be excited that you want to do something other than swim, bike, run. Your coach will also be able to structure your winter schedule in a way to make sure you are getting the rest and recovery you need while also reaping the benefits of the cross training you are doing.
Remember the non-triathlon season is a time to de-stress from the season and to reset your mind and your body so you can continue doing the sport you love for many seasons to come.