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: Three Workouts for Motivation in the Off Season

by Julie Dunkle, Coach with D3 Multisport

Most triathletes have a long season of training and racing and after the last big race, you hopefully took a nice break. I like my athletes to take 2-3 weeks of unstructured movement. No scheduled swim bike run in Training Peaks, no need to turn workouts green. Some of my athletes go crazy, they simply want to wake up and see Training Peaks workouts and others are so relieved to see nothing pop up. I find after a few weeks most are itching to get back to routine and this is where it can be a lot of fun.

I shy away from traditional triathlon training during these months to keep the athlete engaged and fresh. I like to address the three following areas:

1. Strength

a. This is the time to work on imbalances, test your single-legged squat, deadlift and bosu ball work and see which leg needs work, I guarantee one leg is better than the other.  Work both legs but add 20% to the “weaker” leg.

b. Get strong.   Track your squats, deadlifts and big muscle group exercise and push the max.  You will be sore (yes, sore) but this is the time of year to do that, without a long run on the schedule or hard bike sessions you can and should be sore.

c. Let the strength dictate biking and running efforts.

d. Do a Functional Movement Screening and find your weakness, imbalances.  Pay the money to get the correctional exercises and add those to your daily routine.

 

2. Address your weakness

 

Most of us want to do more in the sports where we are strong.  While that is fun, is it what you need?  This is the time to do a swim, bike or run block.  Here are a few blocks I have given athletes:

a. Swim Block:  3 weeks with a minimum of 25K per week.  I give them workouts that range from 4-7,000 and let them choose how to get to 25k.  Some will do 10k one day and take a day off, others prefer 3,500 each day, some do 2 workouts a day.  By week 2, the fatigue sets in and generally by week 3 they start to see some real gains.    We keep Strength as #2 priority and biking and running take a back seat.

b. Bike Block:  3 weeks with a goal of  200-300 miles per week depending on the athlete, their available time and weather.   I mix in a few harder efforts, which are optional based on how they are feeling, the bigger mileage is attainable when they can knock out 1-2 long rides outside.   Again, strength is #2 priority and swim and run take a back seat.

c. Run Block:  3 weeks for this block which will vary depending on the athlete, their goals, durability, and base.  The focus is 3 weeks of running 6 days a week building mileage each week. For some,  the goal may be the 30/40/50-miles week, others it may be hitting key runs 2-3 times a week and then the rest is base running.    The running carries the biggest risk of injury so be careful.

 

3. 15 hours in 3 days.  This is a fun one!

1-hour swim, 3-hour bike, 1-hour run – 3 days consecutively.    Determining if this is aerobic or has specific pace, HR, power efforts will depend on the athlete and current fitness.

 

There are many, many ways to gain fitness, have fun and be ready for race season.  These are just a few I like.   My #1 goal for the off-season is DON’T GET INJURED and #2 DON’T gain more than 5% of your bodyweight.  A few pounds are okay and likely a good idea if you race lean, but not any more. than that.

Original article here

 

Why Cyclocross is excellent off season training for Triathletes

From Training Peaks “Four Sports you should do in the off season

Cyclocross

According to the website Cyclova, it is believed that cyclocross originated in the autumn, in the French countryside. Racers riding from one town to another would take shortcuts through farmer’s fields, jumping over fences with an eye on the church steeple marking the next town. During this time, the sport was called “steeple chasing.”

WHY DO IT?
Long accepted as a way for road racers to stay fit in the off-season, cyclocross isn’t much of a cross training stretch for road racers. More recently, mountain bikers and triathletes can be found toeing the start line at a “cross” race.

The sport offers the challenge of riding a bike in mud, sand and grass. Combine that with obstacles and steep uphill sections that require bike carrying, this multi-lap sport is fun for racers and spectators alike.

Most races are some 30 to 60 minutes long, with the leg-searing intensity many racers savor. Fun, variety, challenge and bad weather conditions draw endurance junkies who don’t want to give up intensity in the off-season.

HOW TO FIT IT INTO YOUR TRAINING PLAN?
When participating in cross, it is best to leave any heavy weight training until after the season is over. Cut down the long rides that you’ve been doing all season and include these short, fast races instead.

Read the full story

Tri Coach Tuesday: Holiday Eating Tips

by Nicole Odell, NEO Endurance Sports

 

For me, Halloween is the start of the fall holiday season as we start being presented with plenty of treats. Leftover Halloween candy at home, at the office, then holiday parties, potlucks and seasonal goodies…temptations abound!

 

 

Holiday food is often comfort food, bringing back memories of good times, and also creating new ones. We don’t need to avoid it, but sometimes we can be tempted into eating a little too much. But it shouldn’t be stressful.

 

 

Here are some guidelines I like to follow to keep everything in check over the holidays:

– Continue to exercise. It doesn’t have to be “training,” but try to do something active for about an hour a day.

– Plan your meals for the week so that the foundation of your eating stays healthy and you are still eating regular meals. Plan around the festivities, and have snacks like celery sticks and other veggies around that are ready to grab.

– Take smaller portions of treats and eat them slowly. If you know you have multiple parties going on, you can still partake in the treats, just eat less of them.

– You are in control of what goes in your mouth. It’s OK to just smile and nod and turn down a second piece of Auntie’s pie.

– Have a normal meal with plenty of protein before a party, especially if you tend to graze a lot.

– Drink a glass of water in between alcoholic beverages if you drink.

 

One day of indulging won’t hurt… it’s the multiple days that add up. So just pick your day and enjoy!

 

And if you remember just one thing, have that be “everything in moderation,” and appreciate the season where we get to spend some extra time with friends and family.

 

Original post here

Tri Coach Tuesday: 4 Keys to Winter Training

by Eric Kenney, EK Endurance Coaching

 

 

1. CONSISTENCY

Being consistent is so important. It is better to do 6 x 45-minute trainer rides before you do 1 x 5-hour ride and nothing else all week. Think of your weekly training as a set of intervals. You rarely go out to do a threshold workout as 1-hour, all-out effort. You break it up into 10- or 20-minute intervals. Same thing here. Plan ahead and “pay it forward” a bit by saving some energy (both physical and mental) on Wednesday so you can get in another session on Thursday or Friday. It’s not the training you do this week; rather it’s what you do for this 3-4 months.

Here, EK Endurance Coaching training pyramid shows you consistency is the foundation for EVERYTHING. This is not to say you have to train as long or as often as you might in spring or summer but you do need to find a manageable workload you can consistently complete.

 

2. STRUCTURED ENDURANCE TRAINING

Something many people don’t realize is that if you are working at your lactate threshold or below, you are getting the same adaptations as you do from doing long slow distance (LSD) training. What’s the catch? Well of course, the harder you ride the less time you can hold that effort for. But it’s winter and you are reading this because you don’t want to spend three hours on your trainer on Tuesday morning. So the old adage of “if you only have a short amount of time go hammer!” is sort of true in this case. However, do it with purpose and structure. Our Hour Of Power cycling workout library is designed for just this. Quality training that keeps you focused (distracted) while still having fun and getting your workout in.

A solid standard trainer set might look like this. This one isn’t the most exciting but it gets the job done:

Warm up:

  • 15 minutes easy

Main Set:

  • 10’ Zone 3-upper Zone 3
  • 8’ higher power than last interval
  • 6’ higher power than last interval
  • 4’ higher power than last interval
  • 2’ higher power than last interval

Take 2’ rest between all intervals

Cool Down:

  • 5- 10 minutes and you’ve done a nice hard, aerobic descending interval set that goes by quite quickly and can be done in 1 hour.

 

3. WEAKNESS TRAINING

I have been talking about and practicing this in my coaching since I began working with athletes over a decade ago. If you want to improve, you must discover your weak areas and bring them up to par for your goals.

I have done webinars, written articles on our blog, and had teams hire me to instruct them on the ways to find what your true weak area is and then how to train it. What you need here is:

Numbers:

They don’t lie. I have seen this many times with athletes, including myself. We think we are good at something we want to be good at, when in reality, we are not. Get a power meter and do the proper field testing.

An objective view:

This is where a coach can be critical but it doesn’t necessarily have to come from a coach. A trusted, experienced teammate or training partner can help an enormous amount.

Work without ego:

I have quoted GI Joe before in regards to training. “Knowing is half the battle”. Now it’s time for the other half. The WORK! I always say to my athletes “You have to train with what you have, not what you want to have”. Be patient, improvement won’t happen overnight—but it will happen if you keep at it.

When training your weakness in the winter, break it down to its most raw element. I had a conversation with a road cyclist in the winter of 2008- 2009. I determined he had weak neuromuscular power. He had trouble with high-speed crits and repeated accelerations in races. So are we going to have him do jumps and sprints with short rest and mimic crits on the trainer doing lactic acid bath workouts? No. We are going to focus on that maximum power. Different types of short, maximal efforts with long rests. Over the course of six weeks that winter we improved his 5-second power by 14%. From 1250 to over 1400 watts. That year he upgraded to Category 1, getting good results in hilly road races, TT’s and short crits.

 

4. FLEXIBILITY AND REST

Rest is very important—maybe the most important part of your training. Just because you are not logging 3-hour rides doesn’t mean you don’t need off days, recovery rides and stretching. Often I see more tightness and injuries in winter than in summer. Why? I feel it’s because athletes don’t take the time to cool down as much and stretch/recover properly. When their last interval is done, all they can think is, “Please get me off this thing!”. They grab some water and food and then are off to wherever. Stretch! Cool down after hard sessions! That extra five minutes now will pay you back the next time you throw your leg over the bike.

Be flexible. If the weather turns nice, bag the structured trainer workout and get outside! Not feeling the mojo today? Save it for tomorrow’s session. Be dynamic and flexible this winter. Think long-term. It’s not the training you get in this week, it’s about the all the training you get in these 3-4 months.

The fact is that riding the trainer can be like getting out of bed. It’s rough! But the act of starting is often the worst part. Get on, warm up, just spin, and after a few minutes images of racing, working hard for teammates and making the winning break will soon fill your head. Do this over and over again, and you will be on your way to having the best season ever.

 

Complete article here

Weekend Preview: Optimize Your Off Season

Triathlon Events

Thursday November 2nd

 

Optimize Your Off Season

Boulder



Cycling Events 

Thursday November 2nd

 

Lighten UP Boulder Event

Boulder


Saturday November 4th

 

Rhyolite Kick It

Castle Rock


Palisade Orchard Tread CX

Palisade


Subaru VeloSwap

Denver


SHIFT – A Primal Party

Denver


Sunday November 5th

 

Shimano CX Series – Sienna Lake

Broomfield

Women’s Wednesday: Injured Triathlete- Fat, Drunk, and Out of Shape is No Way to Go Through Life

By Alison Freeman

Fat, Drunk, and Out of Shape is No Way to Go Through Life

That’s the line that’s been going through my head almost daily for the past four weeks, ever since my off-season got extended well beyond what I’d intended. (And yes, it’s an Animal House reference.)

I’ll back up by saying that I am a strong believer in the importance of an off-season, on having some time when your focus isn’t on training: When fitting in your workout isn’t the driving force behind how you organize every day. When you have the option to go for a hike or take a yoga class instead of a swim/bike/run workout. When you ease back on the miles and give your muscles and your joints some time to recover.

And that’s why I extended my off-season from the originally planned four weeks to a solid, plenty-of-time-to-get-antsy, eight weeks. I was really enjoying the hiking and the yoga and totally blowing off masters swim and drinking margaritas at lunch. Part of the reason I enjoyed it so much, I think, is because I knew (or rather believed, incorrectly) that it was pretty finite. And then on September 9th I developed a stress reaction in my foot. (How I managed to do that on reduced mileage is a story of total idiocy that I won’t include here. Just chalk it up to my being a moron.)

Suddenly my off-season was extended to … twelve weeks? sixteen? I thought I handled the news pretty well, but looking back on it I was hilariously, quietly, unknowingly, losing my marbles. I figured I was really taking things in stride because I wasn’t making a big deal of the stress reaction. Sure, I couldn’t run for 4-6 weeks, but I could swim and bike and I wasn’t training for anything so really it wasn’t a big deal. People would ask me what was new, and I wouldn’t even tell them about the stress reaction. I mean, when a triathlete doesn’t talk about an injury you know that shit has gotten weird.

So, I can’t run. I am just working out aimlessly, with no goals and no plan and no purpose. Fall is crazy, crazy quiet when you’re a triathlon coach because most of your athletes are in their off-season, so I don’t have much work to do. And since I don’t have a lot of work, and don’t have to be feeling good to tackle some tough workout the next day, I am consuming a glass (or two or three) of wine every night. But if I average out the whole year including my big training weeks where I didn’t drink at all, it’s really totally fine.

Fat, Drunk, and Out of Shape is No Way to Go Through Life.

Clearly it’s time to pull it together: I find a plan on TrainerRoad and start burying myself in some sweet spot bike workouts. I hatch plans for multiple projects: I’m going to write a blog! (Evidence of this effort is obvious.) I’m going to finally organize all my coaching systems and notes into a Filemaker database! (That’s what happens when you were once a management consultant.) I’m at least keeping myself occupied … but something’s still off.

It took me another week to put my finger on it, but then it hit me: I am filling my weeks with coffees and lunches and have absolutely nothing to say during any of them. I don’t even know who I am when I’m not training for something.

Does that statement make me sound totally unhinged? Or at least massively addicted to training? Sure, I’ll own that. But batshit crazy or not, this is where I am. So my off-season now has an official expiration date of Oct 31st. It’s time to pick an Ironman for 2018 and start setting some goals for next year. And then maybe I’ll start to feel normal again.

Optimize Your Off-Season

Boulder

 

Join CMS for a presentation by Chris Lee, AJ Baucco, Cameron Dye and Rebecca Suckow on how to make the most out of your offseason while still keeping it fun. The key to your next season starts in the offseason.

The evening will include a fun, interactive presentation about common biomechanical issues for triathletes, how to identify these issues, and how to overcome these issues through functional movement targeted training programs. You will get insight from a strength & conditioning specialist, phyiscal therapist, and pro tips from 2 top professional triathletes.

We will conclude the evening with a happy hour style Q&A and free raffle.

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS:

Chris Lee
– Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist
– Corrective Exercise Specialist
– Functional Movement Systems Lvl. 1
– B.S. Exercise Science & Physical Education
– Former Head Coach University of Colorado Swimming
– Stages Cycling Certified
– Triathlon Coach

AJ Baucco
– Professional Triathlete
– Triathlon Coaching Systems Developer
– Triathlon Coach

Cameron Dye
-Professional Triathlete.
-2017 Lake Geneva Escape Series Olympic Tri 1st
-2017 Boulder Peak Tri Olympic 1st
-2017 NYC Tri Olympic 1st
-2017 St.Anthony’s Olympic 1st
-2016 Island House Triathlon 2nd

Rebecca Suckow
– Doctor Physical Therapy
– Former NCAA Soccer Player

 

Event details and registration here

 

Tri Coach Tuesday: ‘Off Season’ What Does That Mean?

by Eric Kenney, EK Endurance Coaching

original posting here

 

Every Fall I talk about the same thing. Over and over. Why? well, people still ask, athletes still don’t know, and every year there are new athletes, new dreams new goals and new ambitions.

 

I wrote this first article many years ago. I have made some additions and updates, it needs more updates I’m sure. This is the first of three articles and they address what I feel is the most important time of year and the most important training you will do all year!   Every year people ask my clients how they are so strong in spring and how they seem to never burn out, never get injured, and improve every single year.  the next three articles will get you in the right track.

It’s the “Off Season” what do I … not do?

          Article one in our three part series

 

I get this question often this time of yr. “how do you NOT train?” Especially for the competitive cyclist or triathlete who has been racing all summer, sometimes every weekend, not training hard and racing all the time can feel very strange.

The Off Season: First off I want to stress the word “OFF” in off season. Off means Off! The first and most important aspect of your next season is being totally fresh and completely motivated for next season. Now is the time to start that process.

Less is better here. Catch up on work, family, and drop off the bike at the shop for a tune up. Have them check it over for cracks in the frame along with full safety check. Racing is very hard on your equipment. The key with this phase is to make sure you are 110% ready to start training come the start of your program. The under trained, over motivated athlete will beat the perfectly training under motivated athlete every time! Come the beginning of “base training” you should be itching to train. It should be all you think about, so when its 20 degrees and freezing rain, your pumped up and ready to put in a solid training effort! This is also the best time to sit down with your coach and/or teammates to discus what your goals will be for next year. How did you perform this year? What was good? What was bad? What will have to be different with your preparation for 20, etc

Update:

Ok some terms we need to get straight.  “Base” is not a verb. it is not an type of training. it describes a time frame. Some coaches use other terms like foundation phase, etc. so just drop it from your vocab.   “Speed” is also NOT a type of training but lets say it is.  Speed is relative.  Take two athletes, tell them to do “speed work” of their choice and you will see totally different workouts.  I always say “start with the science, then work in the real world, your resources, etc”  What energy zones are you training? What are you focusing on during the training sessions? Are you lactate threshold intervals? VO2 int. tempo (Zone 3) work? what? start there. if you want to call it “speed work”, fine.

Here are several easy steps for an effective off season

  1. Off time: Take an extended time of ZERO training. This will be different for every one. 2 weeks for some, 2 months for others. How ever much time you need to be totally rested and motivated to train again.

2. Recovery: Any lagging injury’s? Bike not working quite right for the last 2 months, been wanting to get that nagging cough looked at. Do it!! Get a massage, go to the doctor, dentist, what ever you need to do to feel 110 percent physically and mentally for the next season. This is active recovery, taking aggressive action towards healing. These are the most important aspects of off season training.

3. Maintenance training: After this you may be ready to train but your program doesn’t start for another month. What to do? Many pro’s and age groupers alike will take part in “unstructured training ”Its best to make is something different than your primary sport, try something new. It will most likely improve some skills needed in your primary sports. Just stay active, (cross training) will maintain your base fitness and, depending on your activity, can address your weakness leaving you fit, motivated and with stronger limiters than you had last year. A perfect way to start your next season!!

4. Cross Train! Go Mt. biking , running, play basketball, tennis whatever you like and have put off  for the past summer. Working on stuff like this will help keep you injury free next year.

5. Most important have fun! Do those old training rides you did when you first started riding. Plan a trip. I have done a few long rides with friends in the fall that have proved to be lots of fun and great endurance training.