Emily Iredale: “It’s time to embrace getting muddy!”

British athlete shares her winter training tips


Top British age-grouper Emily Iredale shares her top tips for winter training across all three tri disciplines, her favourite cardio breathing drill for swimming, and the gear she relies on to keep her warm and dry.


220: What is your top advice for the off-season?

Emily: Its really important to take a bit of time off at the end of your main season – both mentally and physically.

I was very ready to have a break after the Xterra World Champs in Maui. I’ve done a lot of races this year – mountain biking and triathlon – and I do it because I love it, but I want to keep loving it! 

You need to be ready and look forward to next year and the exciting things that it will bring.

What are your favourite swimming drills?

My favourite swimming drills are using fins to get a strong kick (and go super fast!), and a really good cardio breathing drill given to me by my good friend Charlotte.

This involves breathing every three strokes, then every five, then every seven, then every nine strokes – 25m each. 

It’s a killer but you can concentrate on your stroke, and breathing every three seems like a breeze after nine! 

What do prioritise for bike training?

Everyone hates it, but the turbo has its use in winter. Get some turbo-training DVDs – 3 Legs Cycling TV do some good ones. 

Long base miles where you aren’t getting hot and sweaty and then cold on the road are good. 

Also, winter is a great time to go for some social rides, with tea and cake stops – just to keep warm, obviously!!

How do your running sessions change in winter?

Similarly to the bike, the speed sessions stop and the long steady base work comes in. I love running off-road so it’s time to embrace getting muddy!

Do some friendly local XC races to keep your mind focused if you need a race fix. Get a couple of pairs of trainers so you always have a dry pair – even if they aren’t clean! 

Also Sealskinz socks will keep your toes toasty. I love my Saucony Exodus trainers – they’re super warm and grippy.

How do you change your approach to nutrition?

I still eat plenty of carbs – pasta, brown rice, and lots of lovely green veg – spring greens, broccoli, spinach, to keep healthy.

I make sure I have some kind of protein-based recovery drink and a banana after a long session.

Is there any winter-specific training gear you cannot do without?

My SealSkinz socks are amazing at keeping your feet warm on the bike, plus I love my Gore Countdown MTB gloves – it’s no fun having freezing fingers and toes! 

Endura neoprene overshoes are a godsend – dry warm feet, and clean shoes! I also can’t be without various buffs for keeping my neck and head warm.


Emily can be found on Twitter at @emilyiredale