Two Pro Triathletes Share Secrets for Effective (and Enjoyable) Winter Training

5 tips from Brendan Halpin and Ian Mallams of the Cycling House to keep you training all winter

Winter is upon us and for most of the country that means road and trail access is limited. For a lot of triathletes this may mean that training suffers in favor of eggnog and pumpkin pie. But, a dip in training during winter months makes getting ready for that spring race more challenging. So what’s the best way to fight the winter weather? We asked our experts for their secrets for endurance athletes to stay fit in the winter.

Winter can be especially hard for triathletes who are used to training in various disciplines throughout the week. Monotony can develop quickly. Brendan and Ian, our two resident pro triathletes share their favorite tricks to keep moving and stay fit in the winter.

1. Find a buddy. Ian has found that linking up with another endurance junkie in during the winter months helps hold him accountable. It’s very easy to sit by a warm fire and snuggle up with a batch of warm cookies, but having a reliable training partner can help give you an edge over the food coma.

2. Brendan likes to take the winter to focus on his technique. During warmer months triathletes tend to spend a lot of time putting in volume, which means technique can occasionally suffer. Spend January working on that swim stroke so you can be faster when it counts. On the trainer incorporate some high cadence, single leg drills, or focused time in the aero position.

3. Strength Train. Winter is a great time to hit the weights. Of course, you can add in the core work for runners, but take time to focus on swim specific shoulder lifts and exercises to get more power from your legs on the bike. Ian’s go to exercises, when he can’t make it to the gym, are diamond push-ups, one legged squats, and leg lifts. Add in lunges, burpees, and pull-ups and you got a great start to a living room workout plan.

4. Go have a drink with friends. By nature, successful triathletes are serious and focused when it comes to training. Winter can be a great time to back off a little and have some fun. Like Ian warns, this does not mean to go tear down the town five nights a week, but taking a little me-time during the off season will help keep you fresh for the year of training.

5. Establish a winter goal. This is important for any athlete looking to stay fit in the winter. But for triathletes this is critical. Triathletes are competitive and there are not many races during the winter to gauge fitness, so your goals may need to be more training focused. Try setting an hour goal for the week for each discipline. Seeing your training in writing will give you something to focus on until it’s time to race.

But don’t forget to take some time to recover. Your body performs best when you’re well rested and well fed. Even Eddy Merckx used his off season as an opportunity to eat cake and smoke cigarettes.


This post originally appeared on the Cycling House blog; for more visit their website

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