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Winter triathlon training: what to concentrate on

Top tri coach Andy Bullock explains why the off-season is the perfect time to focus on weaknesses, build strength and maximise recovery…

The off-season is the perfect time to focus on weaknesses, build strength and maximise recovery

Once you’ve taken a well-earned break post-race season, it’s time to focus on some key areas of training that will ensure you start next year fit, strong and raring to go. Tri coach Andy Bullock explains how to start the new year with a bang…

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

Andy: Maximise recovery. Very little in nature flourishes all year round and this is certainly true for athletes.

Take your time to relax and let your body unwind from a hard season of racing. Make sure that when you get back to training you do so gradually, incorporating easy sessions and a good recovery routine.

What are your favourite swimming drills?

My favourite drills fit into two areas. The first is to improve body position by doing drills such as kicking on your side and six kick, one stroke, six kick (6-1-6).

The second is to improve the feeling of catch and propulsion through drills such as sculling.

What do prioritise for bike training?

Along with working on an aerobic base through long and sociable steady rides, it’s good to build strength through the winter.

This can be done by increasing the number of hills that you ride up or if you don’t have too many hills, spend a bit more time in the big ring pushing a big gear.

If you do ride up hills, remember to work your descending skills on the way back down too!

How do your running sessions change in winter?

Run sessions can move to spend a little more time working on a weakness, be it technique, strength, endurance or speed.

Running hills is again useful here as they will help you develop a strong technique (focus on running tall with high hips) and also give you a good cardiovascular workout.

For the remainder of the sessions, working at a steady effort to improve aerobic base is good.

How do you change your approach to nutrition?

Remember that everything is about balance and that the off-season coincides with Christmas, which can be a time to relax a little.

Away from this you might want to consider working on getting into good nutritional habits such as reducing the amount of processed sugars in your diet.

Also, make sure your post-training recovery nutrition is optimised, using something like milk or a recovery drink.

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

Warm clothing is a must for the UK winter; a warm body functions much better than a cold one!

On the bike gloves, waterproof overshoes and something to keep your ears warm is a very good start, along with a good windproof jacket.

For run sessions some good leggings and a base layer that will help keep your upper body warm.

Image credit: Getty Images

Profile image of Andy Bullock Andy Bullock Triathlon coach


Andy Bullock is one of the country's leading triathlon coaches, working with all levels and abilities from beginners to elite; juniors to adults. His qualifications include: MSc Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology, MSc Exercise Physiology, Level 4 Nutrition Coaching, Level 4 Strength and Conditioning, Level 3 Triathlon Coaching, REBT Primary Practicum, and ASA Level 2 Swim Teacher. His coaching experience includes: British Paratriathlon National Talent Squad Lead Coach; Triathlon England South West Regional Head Coach; Lead Coach on national junior training camps and Paratriathlon race trips; BAD Tri Head Coach; Personal triathlon coach to professional and age-group triathletes as well as small groups.