Winter training - Richard Anderson, Team KMC
The winter months can be a difficult time for endurance athletes. The days are short, the weather is rubbish and race season is months away. There are so many excuses not to train consistently… but if you want to nail a big season, excuses are not an option.
So what is the best way to attack winter when your big races are in the summer? It is probably easier to start with some of the things I think you should avoid!
What not to do...
Whilst you should definitely take a break after your last race of the season, it should probably be more in the region of 2 weeks than 6 months! I tried this once and came back about 10kg heavier and a lot slower (as shown below)!
Take no break after your last race
Again I've had bitter experience with this one. The result was both mental and physical exhaustion before the season even started.
There is a temptation to keep yourself motivated by entering lots of lower key races. I think they have their place in a good winter program but there is a risk of being in peak condition for an April parkrun (see photo!) rather than your July A race!
Neglect your race nutrition
After months of living off gels, electrolyte and recovery drink you might be tempted to be less scientific with your nutrition through the winter months. This is short sighted. The better you fuel, the better you train, the better you recover and ultimately the faster you progress. Winter is also the perfect time to refine your race day nutrition and work out the perfect formula for fueling your big summer races.
What works for me
Having discussed what not to do, I thought I'd share my approach to winter 2019/20, which is being overseen by my coach, Paul Savage (www.physio-coach.co.uk) For context my A race is the Lakesman iron distance triathlon in July.
The secret is consistency, here is a typical week:
|||| Swim (4k endurance) |
|Tuesday|| Easy run (4-6 Miles)|| Turbo (1 hour 30 sweetspot intervals) |
|Wednesday|| Easy run (4-6 miles)|| Swim (4k tempo/ threshold) |
|Thursday|| Easy run (4-6 miles)|| Turbo (90 minutes ironman pace) |
|Friday|| Swim (2.5k sprints/ threshold)|| Turbo (45 minute steady with sprints)|
|Saturday|| Long run on the fells (2-4 hours)|||
|Sunday|| Long ride (4-7 hours)|||
Not rocket science, but I try to make my training as specific to my key races as possible. This is how:
- I do hard bike sessions on my time trial bike in race position.
- My swim sets include long intervals at Ironman race pace.
- I fuel long rides and runs using the full KMC range, just like I'll fuel the Lakesman bike and run.
Anyone who knows my history will know that until the last few years, I was anything but. However I'm now a reformed character… For example:
- I do as much of my running as possible off road to reduce injury risk (better photos too!)
- If I feel ill, tired or injured I rest.
- If the weather is bad; wrap up warm, have good quality waterproofs and be prepared for the very worst!
- If it is icy, stick to the turbo.
So that's what works for me. I'm not saying it will work for everyone but it is the approach that I've honed for over 10 years and it is the formula I hope will take me to a sub 9 hour Ironman in June.
Happy training folks!
- Rich, Team KMC