T3Multisports is passionate about your training and development. Our goal is to provide different articles on all aspects of the sport of triathlon and cycling to include equipment, nutrition, strength training and general health information. All articles are for you the reader to review, question and find what is right for you.
Off-Season and Pre-Season Training Thoughts
Triathlon season has come to a close and now what should you do? Well, first I would say congratulate yourself for completing last season. Take some time to rest and recover, reflect on your past season and what you would like to accomplish next season. This is also a good time to consider school sports programs or a single sport’s club activity for variety and cross-training (doing something to work your other muscles) this will help improve your balance as an athlete.
Most importantly have fun and maintain some level of fitness; it will keep you healthy and prepare you for more structured training sessions in the future especially during pre-season conditioning. During the off-season one of your goals should be to address limiters (weaknesses) as they pertain to you the individual athlete. Remember all triathletes have limiters in each discipline.
Pre-season is the time when you should work on your overall physical conditioning for triathlon. You should include some strength training during this period. When I speak of strength training for youth; I am referring to using your own body weight, not free weights or machines…save that for your upper teen years or adulthood. What I am addressing here is developing the whole athlete. Stronger, well-rounded athletes tend to have less injuries and are able tolerate more structured specific training throughout the season. Body weight exercises include push-ups, pull-ups (palms facing away from you), chin ups (palms facing you), sit-ups, non- weighted squats and lunges, the use of a stability ball and associated exercises; these all build good strength without the use of weights.
As you continue your pre-season training you want to focus on the three disciplines of triathlon: Swim, Bike, and Run. This is the time to work on your good technique not speed; it is also a time you may want to seek out a coach for each sport or a USAT certified coach that has a youth specific focus. Using a qualified coach specializing in youth and junior development can help ensure you are getting the most out of your training program. Youth coaches observe the big picture and consider the physical and psychological develop of our young athletes.
Now to address your swim, bike and run workouts; they all should include a warm up, technique and drills, a main set and cool down. This training format tends to work best because it allows you to warm up the muscles that are going to be used throughout the training session and to avoid injury. It has been my experience that conducting technique and drills at the beginning of the training session when you are fresh and the most focused provide the best training value. Next comes the main set, the meat of these workouts may consist of multiple swim sets, cycling on a trainer or an outdoor course for time and running repeats on the track or just a measured course on the trails or some other soft surface. All of these workouts should be followed by a good cool down to bring the heart rate back down to normal and a good stretching session to finish out the workout.
Triathlon is a great sport; it is a life sport! Each one of you that participates in it or any multisport activity should be proud of your accomplishments. Enjoy the off season, train smart and safely. I look forward to seeing you at the races next season.
Boris Robinson is a USA Triathlon Level 2 Elite Coach, a USA Cycling Level II Coach, and a member of the National Council of Youth Sports. Contact at: coachBoris@