Tim Don: “Have a winter plan with some small goals”

British pro gives off-season tips


Tim Don shares his top tips for off-season training across all three disciplines, which include allowing for Christmas excesses and becoming reacquainted with the CompuTrainer…


220: Can you share your top advice for the off-season?

Tim: Take a break first – let the body and mind have a rest, build up slowly and have a winter plan with some small goals.

Allow for Christmas and a few setbacks with the weather etc, and make sure you enjoy it! 

Also, try to mix it up a bit with mountain biking, cross-country duathlons and gym work.

What are your favourite swimming drills?

The best drills are the ones specific to my stroke, so working on body rotation and body position, kicking on my side helps with both of these for me, as well as some sculling.

What do prioritise for bike training?

For me it is about being flexible: if the weather is good in Boulder I ride on the road, long and easy.

I do all my quality training in the winter indoors on my CompuTrainer. It is such a good tool I love it, plus there is nowhere to hide with it.

How do your running sessions change in winter?

Once I have had a break I start by building up my running for about six weeks to 100km per week .

Then I start to put some build runs and tempo runs in, but not at full gas. 

I always run to my current fitness – and winter is about building for me – so come March I am ready for some race pace-type work.

How do you change your approach to nutrition?

I always try and put a few kilos on over the winter so I am a bit more relaxed with what I eat and when I eat it . 

I try not to blow up in sessions either, so will always eat well the day before a big session, and have plenty of food and drink with me during the session. 

I am lucky in some ways as once I start my quality work in March on the bike and run, I tend to trim down quickly . 

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

When I am in Stellenbosch [South Africa] in the winter I need  sunscreen, but this year I will be in Boulder, USA for the whole winter, so some very warm gloves and socks will be needed for biking and running.


I’ll also need a big towel as I will be swimming in an open-air pool, so the run to and from the changing rooms has to be fast and warm!