Joe Beer: “Nurture your body this winter, don’t hammer it”

Award-winning coach shares his tips


Award-winning triathlon coach and long-standing 220 contributor Joe Beer shares his best advice for the off-season.


Joe will be speaking at The Triathlon Show 2014, taking place at Sandown Park, Surrey on 28 February to 2 March. For more information head to

What is your top advice for the off-season?

In November and December look to stay healthy and well, training less than you could if pushed.

Take an extra non-training day, focus on skill and the beginnings of strength work, but do not try to get ahead of your competition. 

What are your favourite swimming drills?

It depends on the swimmer’s bad habits but I do like: minimal splash 50s, getting in a wetsuit once a month (minimum) to practice sighting, catch-up drills holding a float in front of you, and kicking longer distances – say 200m, not just 50 metres.

What do you recommend prioritising for bike training?

Time in the saddle, learning to spin efficiently in the 80 to 100rpm range. Ensure that time in race position is done on the turbo once a week, minimum.

Few people are really efficient on the bike, so rollers are a great tool to focus the balance and smoothen the pedal action of those who stomp and swerve too much.

How should running sessions change in winter?

You need to realise that top-end speed will drop, as will your aerobic threshold.

This means taking it easy, and perhaps inserting short bursts of six to 12secs to liven up runs. But keep away from super-high intensity running.

Nurture your body this winter, don’t hammer it.

What is the number one mistake that triathletes make in the off-season?

Trying to get more done and become faster too quickly. You’re training your body to adapt slowly and muscles/ligaments to deal with increasing loads.

This will take time and is not found in a six-week interval plan or a new “I’m going to train seriously now” attitude. Build slow, recover well. Relax. 

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

My four, no five, must-have items are:

Firstly, cycle caps to put under your helmet, even if you have a skull cap, to keep rain off your specs and reduce glare from the low sun.

Secondly, a DryRobe Advanced: its just silly to get cold before or after any session. Worth its weight in gold.

Thirdly, a Lumie Bodyclock to wake you gradually on early and dark mornings. If you can add a lightbox on your desk then even better still.

Fourthly, Neovite colostrum – you can check the science here. It helps keep you healthy, and is used by many top performers and health-conscious age groupers.


And finally, Compressport compression socks are great not just for training but also walking with the kids, travelling…