Free 8-week off-season training plan that's adaptable for every level
Want to start the next tri season raring to go? Then this 8 week off-season plan that involves hitting the bike and run trails will have huge form and fitness benefits
The off-season is an interesting time for triathletes, with most of us now in between seasons and wondering what to do next. Some of us will take extra rest days, some will take complete rest for a few weeks or months and others will decide to try some new style of training.
There’s no ‘one rule fits all’, so you should feel free to experiment with how you spend the off-season. There’s significant evidence to suggest that mixing up your training environments is very beneficial for both the pure physical improvements it can offer, and also the variety of working out in different locations. It feels great training over different courses, so hit the trails and don’t be afraid to get dirty!
This eight-week training plan includes a mix of training options, including going off-road as well as your standard pool, gym and road workouts. If you can find forest trails or parks with hills try out these locations as soon as you can. The strength benefits from training off-road can’t be replicated in an indoor environment – nature gives us such great terrain and we should use it. Lace up your trail running shoes and dust off the mountain bike for this next phase of your training. The plan still has an indoor training element, which follows a similar theme in that they’re aimed at promoting greater power and strength.
It’s also important to retain some swim fitness, so this plan includes one swim per week that focusses on either drills
or fitness. If you’re unsure about any of the swim drill terminology, check 220tri.com for explanations.
There’s a flexibility to this plan that means it can be adapted to all levels. If you’re still new to the sport, steer towards the lower end of the workout duration scale, while advanced athletes can push themselves with longer or more challenging sessions. If you’re thinking about racing sprint- or Olympic-distance events next season, then at this time of year you don’t need to be doing the heavy weekly training hours, so adapt the plan.
As always, include a warm-up and cool-down. Warm-up = 5-8mins of gradually building intensity from easy to vigorous; cool-down = 3-5mins of easy cardio followed by stretches.
Dermott's top 4 off-season tips
Research new areas
Look for trails that offer great running and mountain-biking routes. Get muddy and enjoy the new views. Ask your training friends for their advice
Get the right kit
Make sure your mountain bike is up to the job, and you’ll need a decent pair of trail-run shoes if you don’t want to destroy your
Don’t be afraid
Hit the very hard interval sections on the bike and run with real force. Be prepared to get out of your comfort zone on the tough hill rep sessions. They hurt but they help.
Enter off-road events
If you enjoy the off-road element of training, look for events that include mountain biking or trail running. These races can really challenge triathletes in very different ways. Mountain biking hasn't done Flora Duffy any harm at all!