How To Use The Winter Training To Make Maximum Performance Gains

Winter Training

Winter can be a tough time for triathletes. The cold weather and shorter days can make it harder to train, and increased chances of illness can make it difficult to stay healthy. However, with a few simple steps, you can learn to love winter and make the most of your off-season training.


Using Dr Will Mangar’s explanation, most people in the UK are deficient in vitamin D during the winter because our bodies create most of it from direct sunlight. Vitamin D is essential for bone health, and a deficiency has been linked to upper respiratory tract infection. To avoid these deficiencies, we should all take a 10-microgram vitamin-D supplement from October through to March.


Hand sanitiser is used extensively in UK hospitals because it has been shown to reduce MRSA infections by more than half. This is a result of the Department of Health’s Clean Your Hands campaign in the mid-2000s. Many triathletes carry a small bottle of hand sanitiser with them for similar reasons. You should do the same to avoid infection and maintain your training schedule this winter. Be sure to choose a sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol content for the best results.


One way to reduce your chance of getting sick during the winter is to clean your water bottle valve. Performance biochemist Dr Rob Child says that farmers often use cow manure during the winter to fertilize their soil. This and other debris can end up on UK roads and then be picked up by the wheels of cars and onto your water bottle. He recommends wiping your bottle valve each time you use it to stay healthy.


Your chronotype shows when you naturally perform at your best, which is determined by your circadian rhythms. People can be morning people or evening people based on this. If you’re a morning person, you’ll perform better in the morning, and if you’re an evening person, you’ll perform better in the evening. Knowing your chronotype can help you plan your day so you can be at your best when it matters most.

The Seahawks American football team changed their training and flight times based on their players’ sleep patterns. They knew which players would be more likely to have the energy to win at the end of games. You can take a quiz online to find out if you are a “lark” or “owl.”


Even though triathletes are highly motivated, this can sometimes lead to them not getting sufficient recovery which can be negative. It can be difficult to keep track of whether someone is overreaching or overtraining, but the LSCT Test (Lamberts and Lambert Submaximal Cycling Test (LSCT) is a short, structured test protocol that we use to assess the fatigue state and training readiness of cyclists and triathletes) designed by Robert Lamberts can be helpful in this.

A 17-minute submaximal cycling effort on an indoor trainer is required for the test, which can be done with either a heart rate monitor or a power meter. The test consists of 6 minutes at 60% of maximum heart rate, 6 minutes at 80% of maximum heart rate, and 3 minutes at 90% of maximum heart rate, with 30-second buffers in between each stage. In the end, there is a 90-second period where you stop cycling and sit up to monitor your heart rate recovery.

If your heart rate (HR) is struggling to drop during the final minute of your workout, it’s a sign that you’re close to overtraining. You can become your own coach over time by noticing what your average HR is during the first three active stages of your workout. This method is proven to also work for swimming and running.


Lotte Kraus, an expert on bike fitting, argues that female triathletes are not likely to be sitting comfortably. She explains, “We know that there are different loading types on the saddle. Some riders are more front focused; some are more toward the back. Much of our data suggests that women’s pressure points are upfront.” According to Kraus, many women’s saddles are designed for comfort and have a large cutout in the middle, which can actually cause discomfort and make riding less efficient.

According to Kraus, one important factor to look for when choosing a saddle is the width, which should be wider for women due to their wider hips. However, he also says that a padded saddle in the front may also be appropriate for road use.


If you’re looking for a workout platform that will give you a competitive edge, Zwift is a great choice. You can compete against other online users in running and cycling challenges, and research suggests that this can be a great motivator. In fact, Kansas State University found that subjects who exercised with someone they thought was stronger than them increased their workout time and intensity by a massive 200%. Just be careful not to push yourself too hard – if you’re constantly falling behind, it could lead to discouragement.


Psychologist Yannick Balk explains that physically tired people also find it harder to detach emotionally, which can lead to stress and illness. He suggests daydreaming as a way to help relieve this stress.

Things to Master in the Off-Season to Run Faster

1. Understand what you want to do and what you need to do.

The winter can be a good time to think about what you want to achieve in the coming year and how best to prepare yourself, says Jenny Simpson who is an amazing American middle-distance runner, Google Jennifer Simpson, she is quite an amazing athlete, also suggests taking time to look back at your previous races and see what went well and what you could improve on. You can then start training again gradually, working towards the goal you have in mind.

If you didn’t reach your goals in your last marathon if you didn’t run as fast as you wanted to in your 5K if you weren’t as strong as you wanted to be in the last miles of your half marathon, or if you only realized after you set a new PR that you could have gone much faster, you can figure out what needs to be improved and plan accordingly for the next season. This might involve coming up with new goals with the help of a running coach or training group.

Simpson says that during the winter, your training plan might start with a relatively loose set of weekly activities, but you should gradually build up to a more rigid set of daily workouts that are more closely tied to your specific running goals.

Simpson reflects on the feeling many runners have of their work being incomplete and suggests thinking backwards from goals to get an idea of what needs to be done to reach them. This, she says, is what the time runners can use and then focus on what they need to do to improve.

2. Build Your Mileage Slowly.

After a strong performance at the New York City Marathon, Thweatt is taking a break to recover and reset her mind. She eased back into training after a break and is looking to improve her PR.

She started by running a few days a week at a slow pace, then gradually increased her speed and distance. She began doing fartlek runs, which alternate between fast and slow speeds, to help improve her overall fitness.

Thweatt believes that winter training should be focused on the basics and kept simple. She only does effort-based workouts rather than fast, fancy workouts. The goal is to build a foundation that will be necessary come spring and summer when she starts to race.

Thweatt’s long runs will extend to 20 miles and she’ll run up to 92 miles a week. She’ll also add some tempo runs (faster pace) and eventually some speed work on the track (like 5 1-mile repeats with 3-minute rests).

Even if you’re running a lot, if your long runs don’t max out at a certain distance, you might not be prepared aerobically.

Thweatt believes that even if you are only running shorter events like a 5K, 10K, or half marathon, you need to lay down a foundation before you can build speed. You don’t need to run 100-mile weeks, but adding one long run to your weekly mileage slowly will help you build a base. This base will not only help you run faster in the spring but will also help prevent injuries.

3. Run Fartlek, Not Speed Workouts.

Fartleks, (which means “speed play” in Swedish, is continuous training with interval training. Fartlek training is generally associated with running, where it is also called “wind sprints,” but can include almost any kind of exercise) are a good winter training workout because they are so adaptable, Simpson says. Touching on speed in the winter without the intensity or stress of a more structured workout is a good way to do fartlek runs without worrying about your actual pace or looking at your watch for splits.

When you’re about to do a fartlek, don’t be intimidated by it. Simpson says that it’s not much different from running 5 x 1 mile on the track. The only difference is that Fartlek is less structured and more appropriate for this season.

4. Get stronger.

Simpson uses her strong physique to help her stabilize her form during a race, as well as to give her the explosive power she needs to sprint to the finish line.

Simpson says that without a good foundation of balance, explosive movements will be difficult to do. The lowest common denominators needed for this are balance, foundational strength, and a strong core.

The winter months are the best time to join a gym and begin a strength-training program, or to keep up with one if you’re already a member. The type of program you choose can vary depending on your goals and interests, but it’s important to start slowly and be consistent with your workouts every week. You may also want to consult with a strength coach who understands the needs of runners.

According to Simpson, the key to getting stronger is working on your core, glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves, but start small and be consistent. If you cannot visit a gym regularly or have free weights, you can still gain strength with bodyweight exercises, pedestal and plank hold, and plyometrics movements and jumps. Simpson says that core work is easy to do around your house, but the key is to be consistent.

Simpson says that you should ease into strength training slowly at the beginning of the year. He explains that if you gradually get back into a consistent weightlifting routine in the winter, it will allow you to be tough in the weight room when you need to be during the spring and summer. However, if you try to start a strength program when your season is already underway, it can be difficult to maintain. Therefore, it is best to start strength training at the beginning of the year so that it becomes part of your routine.


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