February is like Wednesday, really. A hump month. Just when you are mentally done with winter, the weather forecast calls for snow yet again. Needless to say, winter is not a European triathlete’s friend. By the time February rolls around, the athletes of the Uplace Pro Triathlon Team are a few months into their training for the first races of the year. For most age group triathletes, the shortest month marks the beginning of their 2013 training. So how can you make the best of the challenges of these last weeks of winter?
Train where the sun is. We do realize that not everyone is lucky enough to have a warm weather training camp partner/sponsor (Sofie Goos and Bruno Clerbout are staying in Sands Beach Lanzarote as we speak). However, even a week of comfortable outdoor training is the best way to get a head start to the season. If you need to work on your swimming technique, now is still the time to do it. On the bike, schedule low-intensity, extensive kilometers. Look for a slightly hilly course to add intensity. In your marathon training, don’t go for too much and too long in this early phase of your season. Pace yourself and mix in concentrated track sessions to break the rhythm.
Be cold-weather creative. Training camps or not, you will have to brave the winter at home either way. Training can be less than exciting after weeks of cold and dreary outdoor conditions. A number of things can prevent winter tedium. Swimming competitions are an excellent way to test the hours you have put into the pool. If you prefer not to compete against swimmers, many tri clubs organize pre-season competitions as well. Running races also provide an excellent training boost and a nice break from the often frozen tracks. Look for a race once every three weeks.
Cycle trainers or rollers are a winter must. However, don’t bore yourself to tears with mindless indoor miles. Many ergotrainers come with virtual course simulators to make your training sessions varied and challenging. It will make a real difference in your training results. Also, don’t forget that power training on the bike is a great way to prepare for the summer months. If you really need to get out of the house, spice things up with spinning sessions in the gym.
The good news: spring is just around the corner. Along with the sun and nicer temperatures will come the longer, intensive training that will get you race-ready.
The Uplace Pro Triathlon Team is the most successful Belgian professional tri team. The team consists of six top Ironman triathletes: Tine Deckers, Sofie Goos, Bart Aernouts, Bert Jammaer, Axel Zeebroek and Bruno Clerbout. For more information about the Uplace Pro Triathlon Team – click here