Having a great “next year” starts much sooner than you think. Inside Endurance Nation our focus begins in the winter with our OutSeason® training program.
The OutSeason® is a no-nonsense, highly-focused training block designed to improve critical bike and run fitness. It is synchronized with the time when you have minimal volume demands in intentional, but the fact that daylight is in short-supply and the weather is sub-optimal is just a coincidence.
Like any training block, however, your experience will only be as good as what you put into it. So here is a quick overview of all the things that you’ll want to have lined up as you head into this critical training phase.
Bike Equipment and Resources
This is where we do the bulk of our winter training, so plan accordingly! We recommend the following equipment to maximize your winter cycling time:
Indoor Trainer (Fluid) — You lock your rear wheel into this torture device and you can ride yourself into a new zip code of pain. We recommend a fluid trainer for excellent resistance and minimal noise. Be sure to add in the front wheel “riser block” so your bike is level as well as a “sweat catching” bib for the top of your bike and even a rubber floor mat to protect your floor from sweat. Bonus items include fans and/or a dehumidifier.
Trainer Road (www.trainerroad.com) — A subscription service that provides you with Virtual Power (TM) and visual workout models, Trainer Road has revolutionized indoor cycling. All you need is a trainer with a wireless bicycle computer and you can take your riding to the next level. Note that all of our OutSeason® workouts are on the Trainer Road system for our member athletes!
A Powermeter or Heart Rate Monitor — Even if you have Trainer Road, we recommend having your own external effort-measuring device. The winter is a great time to learn tons about your body and how you can handle increased workloads; without a monitoring device you won’t be able to target the right zones for work or rest…and you’ll have no record of how you have improved across the training block.
Additional Items to consider include Training DVDs, additional dish towels to drape over your bars as needed, wipe sweat and keep things going. Don’t forget to move any bike computer magnets / mounts to your rear wheel so you can track time, speed, and distance on the indoor trainer!
Run Equipment and Resources
The equipment you choose for running will really depend on where you plan on spending the bulk of the OutSeason®. Some folks can’t bear the thought of running inside while others have zero desire to tempt frostbite and black ice.
Treadmill or Treadmill Access — If you are lucky enough to have your own treadmill, then you bear the responsibility of knowing you have zero excuses as to why you missed a workout! Seriously though, a treadmill will ensure that you have consistent training despite the conditions outside — and consistency is what builds champions. Even if you can’t purchase one, you can join a gym where you can access a treadmill. Just be mindful of peak workout hours and be sure to pay attention to the etiquette on just how long you can stay on that treadmill before you have to share.
Running Tights & Outerwear — Whether you are indoors or out for the OutSeason®, being able to get out side for some running is nice. But usually conditions conspire to make extended time outside practically unbearable. This year make your life less miserable by investing in some quality running tights to stay warm, as well as a good outer jacket layer. Cycling jackets are typically great as they have multiple vents and zippers that allow you to dynamically regulate your temperature.
YakTrax or Similar — These slip on treads are great for running in slippery conditions such as packed snow or ice. While you have to be super careful when running outdoors, and we don’t recommend putting yourself in harm’s way, YakTrax are strong and stable enough to make any run many times safer that it would have been without them. Be sure to buy the right size for your running shoe and don’t wear them indoors!
Additional Items to consider include a nice wicking base layer for under all those winter clothes, mid-weight gloves with a removable liner, a skull cap for the cooler days and even bike sunglasses with clear or light-colored lenses to protect your eyes from the cold, wind and snow.
Swim Equipment and Resources
While we typically put actual swimming on the back burner in the winter, that doesn’t mean you can’t improve. We recommend a set of stretch cords as you can use these to build critical shoulder and back strength in preparation for the season. Simply add some core work and push ups and you have your own mini-triathlon gym in your own house.
Also, don’t forget to ask for some swim equipment upgrade gifts over the holidays! Swim suits, goggles and caps are all great stocking stuffers and will make returning to the water less of a drag come next year!
What else do you think can make – or break – the winter training cycle? Please share your comments below!
Want to learn more about Endurance Nation and experience the OutSeason®? Become a Team Member and Coach Rich will make your Triathlon Season RoadMap™ and Coach Patrick will call you to walk through your season and the Team experience. What are you waiting for?