Updated: Dec 5, 2019
With the rise of social media and applications like Strava it's never been easier to see what your fellow athletes are doing in training. The affect of this has a mixed impact. It's allowed us to learn from others and offer encouragement to those far and wide. On the flip side it distracts athletes away from achieving the targets set in their own sessions. We can often think we're not doing enough - everything always looks grander on Instagram, right?
Now, everyone is aware that consistency is important. Progressing in your core sessions as well as hitting your targets is critical to improving. But, have you ever thought outside the box and looked at applying some unusual methods to take the body out of your comfort zone and really test it?
Here are four approaches that you may not have thought of but could come in handy; another few strings to your triathlon bow! Why not give them a shot?
1. Train on lack of sleep
How many of you struggle to sleep the night before a race? The race nerves kick in, you're up early getting to transition and you're tired. Now, ask yourself how many training sessions have you purposely done with lack of sleep to mirror this condition? Next time you get poor sleep try embrace a tough day of training ahead rather than write it off. Don't forget to catch up on some sleep and recover correctly to avoid injury or illness.
2. Yoga & Meditation
The mental game of triathlon is important. There is no hiding from that. How do you switch off? How do you really relax and recover? Yoga can really balance the stresses of work and everyday life so why not apply that to triathlon? Each training session adds a stress level, often measured in TSS (training stress score). If you use Training Peaks you can see this rise the more you train. If it jumps up too much too quickly it is not uncommon to see this result in an illness or injury (the bain of all athletes!). Don't let this happen. If you don't have the space to add a yoga session to your weekly schedule then try meditating for 10mins before bed. Calm and Headspace are both great meditation apps.
3. Gym, Cross Fit & Pilates
As triathletes we spend most of our time in linear motion. It's rare for the body to change direction but what is happening to those muscles and ligaments? USE IT OR LOSE IT!
Deep into a race when the body is tiring these supporting components come into play more and more as well as maintaining economical movements.
Get in the gym, submerge yourself in a group functional movement or Pilates session and challenge the body. Just because the session doesn't correspond to kilometers doesn't mean it wasn't equally or even MORE important.
4. Heat Training
Finding a way to adapt the body in preparation for your next hot race is important. How do you do this when it's cold outside or you don't have the luxury of living in race conditions? Indoor trainers come to the rescue. Get on there with your ski gear (or equivalent) and you'll feel it. Make sure you have plenty of fluids ready. To add some humidity do this session in the bathroom and have some hot water running with the door closed. If that doesn't make you sweat then you should probably see a doctor!
I'd love to hear some more interesting methods out there that other athletes have tried and tested plus hear the results. Feel free to comment or message me directly.