Tri Training During the Winter Months


Training for triathlons is an excellent way to get and stay in shape, since learning to become a better, faster, and stronger athlete across three sport disciplines is a significant physical challenge.

Depending on where you live, though, triathlon training can be much more accessible and feasible in some parts of the year than others. It’s a no-brainer that you’ll want to swim out in the open water and run and cycle out in the open roads when it’s warm and sunny outside, but what about all those other months of the year when it’s cold, wet, dreary, snowing, or freezing?

Figuring out how to rock your triathlon training year-round, but particularly in the winter months, takes some planning and research, but I think it’s completely doable, provided you manage your expectations accordingly. With a little research to find out what your available options are, and a lot of patience – you may be asking yourself if winter will ever end!? – you’ll be able to get through your winter while still also posting significant accomplishments in your tri training.

Below, you’ll find some of my tips for managing triathlon training during the winter months.

Swimming: commit to masters each week.

Most triathletes I know, as well as people who swear they have no interest in tris, always say that their weakest sport is swimming, and it’s probably with good reason. Compared to the other two disciplines, swimming is arguably the most technical, and it’s no surprise, then, that enlisting the help of a swimming coach – or at least going to the pool when others are there who can help critique your form – will do wonders for your skill.

Obviously when it’s cold outside, you probably will have no interest in swimming outdoors, but you can at least commit to attending masters each week for the duration of the winter. Even if you’re not putting in significant volume when you’re swimming, you can still reap the benefits of instruction and feedback from the masters coaches. Plus, with other people also being there, you can commiserate together.

To further incentivize it, maybe as a reward for working hard at masters all winter, you can treat yourself to a long weekend away to somewhere warm where you could post some open-water swimming at the end of the winter.

Cycling: the trainer will become your new best friend.0002378_tacx_bluematic_turbo_trainer

When the roads are impassable or simply unsafe to ride, you’ll quickly find that your trainer will become your new best friend. Many triathletes I know loathe the trainer, yet at the same time, if it comes down to riding on the trainer for a few hours or not riding at all, they’ll suck it up and do it.

There are many new online training programs available that will help you more easily pass the time on the trainer, such as Zwift Watopia, that will allow you to virtually ride on courses all over the world. If you’re so inclined, you could even pass the time on the trainer while binge-watching movies or Netflix.

One nice thing about using the trainer is that you are in charge of the climate control, so if you’re training for a race in a warm and humid location, you can adjust your home temperatures accordingly while you’re on the trainer to begin to mimic what you’ll experience on race day.

Running: bundle up with a buddy or stick to the treadmill.

Of all the sports in triathlon, running is probably the most durable, in that you can do it year-round outdoors. Provided you dress for the elements correctly, you may find that winter running is actually a lot of fun!

Obviously, don’t do anything that will jeopardize your health or well-being – if there’s a band of sub-arctic temperatures coming through, it’s probably not a great idea to venture outside – but there’s something to be said for running through some freshly-fallen snow or making snow angels outside after you finish a run. If you’re not all that interested in running in the snow, then naturally you can stay indoors on a treadmill and watch TV while you run in place. I personally love running through the snow, but I realize that it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Escape to a hot yoga class.

Even with all the different sports inherent in triathlon training, triathletes will still benefit from devoting some time each week to flexibility and stretching work. If it’s sub-zero outside, you may find the thought of escaping to a yoga class – particularly a hot yoga class – especially enticing. It could be a fun way to mix-up your triathlon training routine, and provided you listen to your body and scale the stretches accordingly, if you’re having any difficulties, your body will likely thank you for the flexibility work, and you’ll leave feeling refreshed and renewed.

Find an indoor triathlon mid-winter.

Finally, I know that some gyms offer their members a chance to participate in indoor triathlons throughout the winter. While it’s obviously not the same as an outdoor triathlon, it could still be a lot of fun to have little time test trials throughout the winter so you can obtain several benchmarks for how your training is faring, without having to wait until the temperatures warm up enough to complete a triathlon outside. Gyms will usually only offer these opportunities to their members, so do your research well in advance if you think you’d want to participate in the event.

While waiting for spring to come might seem like a Sisyphean task when you’re in the middle of triathlon training during the cold, dark, and dreary winter months, know that a little planning will go a long way. It will behoove you to be creative while you wait for spring to show-up, but all the work that you do in those early months will surely pay dividends later, when you’re back outdoors in the open waters or on the open roads.



Marathon Training: Cross-Training Exercises Best for Runners


“For many marathon runners, there are plenty of training programs out there, but one that really helps you prepare is cross training.”

It’s early on an October morning. The sky is tinged with a cold, slowly warming pink as the sun begins to wake the rest of the sleepy, dark world beneath it. Below, there are a few who have chosen to forgo another hour of rest and instead opted to get up and test their limits.

Breaking the crest of the hill is my best friend, running at a steady, loping pace that she could keep up for hours if she had to. She’s training for a marathon, and I offered to come out and run with her, partly for the exercise and partly for moral support.

I had done a couple of laps but (at the time) I was no runner, and was now sitting on the pavement next to dewy grass stretching. Since I’ve started stretching she’s passed me a couple of times on the track. As she continues her training, she is looking for more and more ways to push her limits so she can achieve the best time while being able to actually finish the run.

For many marathon runners, there are plenty of training programs out there, but one that really helps you prepare is cross training. Cross training involves runners, or any other type of athlete, partaking in a combination of exercises from disciplines other than their own. The purpose of this is to improve overall fitness, and for runners it can have other benefits as well, such as quicker recovery time, the prevention of further injury, rehab of an old injury, and it can be a great way to change your routine up if you get bored. Here are some tips to remember when choosing what kind of cross-training you want to do.

  1. Low to No Impact Exercise: Running is a high impact exercise, which means that it can be hard on your body. The reason for this is the range of movement you complete as you run. While most exercise involves the contraction of muscles, running actually requires the extension of muscles, specifically in the knee, to support other muscles being stretched. When cross training, it’s a good idea to choose an exercise that is low to no impact. This will give your muscles a chance to rest.

Recommended Exercises: Swimming, Cycling, Yoga, and Pool Running

  1. Exercise New Muscles: It might be tempting to find an exercise that will strengthen the muscles that you use to run, but in reality cross training is a great opportunity to exercise muscles that you don’t normally use when running. These muscle groups could have been neglected as you’ve been marathon training, so they’re not all that strong. There are plenty of exercises that offer the opportunity to exercise new muscles.

Recommended Exercises: Swimming, cycling, yoga, strength training

  1. Injury Recovery and Prevention: What’s great about cross training is that many exercises can help you recover from injuries. The easy way to do this is to choose a low to no impact exercise, like the ones listed above. By exercising unused muscles, you can lower the risk of them having to overcompensate while you’re running your marathon. Luckily, there’s a ton of exercises you can do to recover from and prevent injuries.

Recommended Exercises: Low to no impact exercises, new muscle group exercises.

Whichever exercise you choose, know that cross training is a great way to prepare yourself for the enormous undertaking of a marathon. By cross training, you will give your body a chance to recover, grow strong, and it may even help you beat a personal record!


Cross-Training to Avoid Injuries

Ella Magers running

Cross-training is a kind of training involving two or more sports to help improve fitness and performance. Any athlete is prone to having injuries most especially if the kind of training that she is going through may not be appropriate to what she really needs or may have worn out her muscles from too much working out.


Cross-training helps build strength and flexibility that a single type of training may not be able to completely provide. It also kills the boredom out of simply doing the usual training routine. More and more players from different sports are already incorporating cross-training with their routine because they have seen the impact that it does to their performance.

Cross-training should not only involve wanting to increase your fitness and capabilities but also to be aware of how to prevent injuries. Athletes should not only be focused on improving their skills or agility but also to be cautious with their physical health, most especially after a competition.

Benefits of Cross-Training

Athletes may come to point wherein they feel that no matter how hard they train, changes are no longer evident. Hitting a plateau is perfectly normal.

To be able to surpass that phase, there is a need to modify the usual training technique used, and incorporating other kinds of training may be the best solution. Athletes are able to reinvent themselves by combining different disciplines into one great routine to help them perform better on their respective fields of sports.

Here are some of the advantages of engaging in cross-training:

  • With cross-training, you can include different disciplines to increase your fitness level. The conditioning type of cross-training involves increase in muscle mass, loss of unwanted fat, improvement in cardio capacity, and also faster feet movement – all in a single workout.
  • Continuous training may wear out muscles, tendons and ligaments, and this may cause injuries due to the amount of stress from working out too much. With cross-training, you are able to strengthen other parts of your body and help the injured parts to rest. It makes an athlete become healthier and more complete.

How to start cross-training

Before going all out and trying out your first cross-training experience, you may need to study up on best practices. One good way of getting valuable information would be websites like that focus on helping athletes and running enthusiasts.

Here are some of the best cross-training options for runners:


Biking can be a very effective form of training for runners. Through biking, the body is able to do more work with less stress on the body because it enhances cardiovascular fitness, thereby promoting better circulation of blood to the lower limbs.

Replace two sessions of your running activity with an hour of bike sessions at least twice a week to quicken your stride. Find a route that is mostly flat to allow balance of moderate resistance and quick motions at 90 RPM, which is equivalent to 180 steps per minute.


Swimming can be an alternative way for runners who want to improve their endurance. About 20-40 minutes of swimming, twice a week can be beneficial.

What makes cross-training successful is its potential to not only improve physical strength and endurance, but also boost the immune system. Added to that, cross-training makes workouts more fun!

Having the same kind of workout routine can be a bore, most especially if you notice that it’s getting more difficult to achieve your goal of strength and endurance. With the help of cross-training, you should be able to enjoy your next exercise routine while getting the exact same results.