Six ways to keep training in winter

Use the off-season to try out some new tactics, like 'doing a Brownlee' when the weather gets rough

Six ways to keep winter training exciting

Finding it difficult to get excited about winter training? You’re not alone – so we’ve put together some off-season training ideas for you.


Remember to log all tweaks in your training diary, so you can track what you’ve tried, what worked and what didn’t..

Single sports

This allows you to overload on one sport, while dropping down to one session each for the other two. Some athletes actually give up a sport in order to rest up and regain motivation for later in the year.

Don’t be afraid to focus, but remember that your body can get injured if you go overboard, especially with running, which may be as little as 20-30% of your normal training.

Caffeine load

It’s the cheapest way to a better session, but best used for quality efforts. From a simple cup of coffee to targeted sports nutrition, try loading on caffeine before harder efforts to see if you respond well or not.

Look out for jitteriness as this may hamper you when you move to open-water mass swim starts. Also beware of a reliance on caffeine to train, as this can mask fatigue.

Assess wetsuit speed

We all know that we should be faster in wetsuits, but just how much is down to skill and how much is down to fit? As long as the local pool allows it, and it’s not too warm, test yourself over 50, 200 and even 750m. You’ll also learn to feel how you sit differently in the water.

Be hardcore

From time to time everyone needs to ‘do a Brownlee’ and just get out when the weather’s bad. It’s good for the soul but also prepares you for the mental battle of racing in poor weather. You can guarantee that bad weather will rear its ugly head on a race day at some point.

Beetroot juice (nitrate) loading

It appears to work for the majority of athletes, is easy to take and, unless you hate beetroot, is another tick on your five-a-day list. Drinking 250ml twice per day for 6-14 days is enough to test your stomach and measure any physiological benefits.

Indoor rowing

Coach extraordinaire Bill Black was doing this 20 years ago with World Champ Spencer Smith. It works loads of muscles directly applicable to tri, providing a great aerobic upper-body exercise to complement the lower body focus of bike and run beautifully.

Try the following:

Warm-up: 10mins, mid Z1, 20-24 strokes per minute (SPM).

Primer: 3mins, including 20secs all-out and 40secs recovery.

Main set: 6 x 1,000m, around 24-26 SPM, HR steady upper Z1.

Cool-down: 5mins light rowing.

(Images: Ben Winston)


What do you find helps to keep winter training exciting? Let us know in the comments!