Tri Coach Tuesday: How to Stay Fit this Off Season

By: Peter S. Alfino, Level II USAT coach, Owner Mile High Multisport, LLC

 

The off season is where the greatest improvements in your fitness can be gained if you take the correct approach during your off season. What you do and don’t do right now will go a long way in how you race when it counts. My experience has shown that most triathletes don’t make the right decisions at this time of year to help them make improvements down the road. Get adequate rest and a solid preparation phase before beginning your base building phase of training. So how do you know what to work on?

 

REST :

There has to be a period of significant rest between your last key race and your preparation period. I’m not talking taking two days off. If you haven’t given both your body and your mind a period of rest and rejuvenation you will end up injured or flat at some point in the future. How long to rest and recover depends on your tenure in the sport, how long your last season lasted and what was the impact on your body and mind from you last race of the season. Adding that one last race of the season i.e. I just did a full Ironman so I might as well jump into this half two weeks post race or I might as well run that marathon 4 weeks later, is common amongst those people new to the sport. That last race typically pushes you over the edge. Know when to call it a season and avoid the temptation to keep adding races to an already long and rigorous season. Significant rest means 4 weeks at minimum of structured training and possibly more. During this time you can do some light activity such as short 30 minutes swim sessions, hikes or shorter bikes up to an hour. Intensity should be limited and you should spend the majority of your time in zone 1.

 

PREPARATION PHASE :

When you start back with a formal plan you need to allow 4-6 weeks for the muscles to adapt back to a routine. Emphasis should be on lower intensity and form should be emphasized over duration or intensity. Now is the time to really think about range of motion and improving form in all disciplines. It is a great time of year to start working on your limiters.

Strength training: you broke down a lot of muscles during the race season. Time to build strength. Not only will this help you with power but this will aide you in preventing injuries.
Yoga/Pilates: Great time of year to incorporate Yoga or Pilates into your routine. Improved strength, flexibility and symmetry
Pool: Time to focus on improving your stroke, body position, kick and arm turnover. Get videotaped and work with a reputable coach. Join a masters program
Running Drills: Drills and speed skills at this time of year produce improved running economy. Shorter more frequent runs versus fewer longer runs
Cycling Drills: Speed skills such as spin ups, higher cadence work, ILT’s,( Isolated Leg Training) improve your cycling efficiencies. Sessions on the trainer are shorter although if the weather cooperate there is nothing wrong with a long slow ride in zone 2.


So this off season get rest, slow down, analyze your form and incorporate the necessary work to make improvements when you don’t have the pressure of getting fast for an upcoming race. If you can be patient, your chances of making physiological gains next race season have just improved.

Peter S. Alfino is the owner of Mile High Multisport, LLC. He is a level II USAT certified coach based on of Highlands Ranch Colorado. Contact him at Pete@milehighmultisport.com

 

Original posting here

Tri Coach Tuesday: Improve Your Swim

By Peter S. Alfino

Owner and Founder Mile High Multisport www.milehighmultisport.com

During the off season we are faced with many choices on how to make improvements so that we are better prepared for the next season. Now is the perfect time of year to focus on improving your swim stroke. Over the years I have conducted many swim lessons and although I have seen many flaws, improper hand entry is one of the most common errors I see. If the hand doesn’t enter the water properly, you have significantly reduced your chances of catching the water up front.

Your hand should enter the water at the 11 and 1 o’clock position on a clock (imagine a railroad track in which the tracks run through your shoulders and alongside your body). The hand will enter the water somewhere between your elbow and rest. Finger tips enter the water first, followed by the wrist and elbow. It is important that you maintain the finger tip, wrist, elbow alignment throughout the entry and the front part of your stroke. Imagine a steel rod which extends from elbow to finger tips. The wrist does not flex.

The hand should enter through an imaginary mail slot, finger tips, wrist and elbow and the elbow should never drop below the wrist or finger tips. The hand sets up somewhere between 4-6 inches below the surface of the water. Since it is hard to gauge this in the water think about your hand setting up under your shoulder. The trajectory of the hand is forward. Think about running the hand along the imaginary rail road track.

A good drill to practice proper hand alignment is the pause drill. In this drill, the entry hand pauses about 3 inches before the surface of the water. As you pause, ask yourself, is my hand in the proper alignment (elbow above wrist and finger tip). The lead hand should still be up front. Once you pause the lead hand enters the water at the same time the stroke hand begins to pull.

When doing drills, I would encourage you to wear fins as they act as training wheels in the water. Once you have perfected the time of this then you can take the fins off until you have mastered the drill again. This drill is one of my favorite drills as it promotes property hand entry and front quadrant swimming.

Pause Drill from Mile High Multisport, LLC on Vimeo.

 

Original post and more training tips on milehighmultisport.com