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Ironman Triathlon Winter training: Maintain fitness, improve technique

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As mid-December arrives the triathlon race season has pretty much come to a close with the Christmas holidays just around the corner but there is no reason to give up on Ironman Triathlon Winter training.

Cold, snowy weather can easily be circumnavigated and there are always ways to not only maintain your current fitness level, but also improve it immensely.

As a rule, Winter is a great time to work on technique as opposed to biking, swimming, and running great distances. The distance part of Ironman Triathlon training can be left for the Spring.

Ironman Triathlon Winter Swim Training

Winter is a great time to hit the pool and work on improving your stroke. Break it down to the basic fundamentals and begin to improve your technique through specific drills that target each specific component of the swim stroke.

For example body roll, arm extension, and proper kick technique to reduce drag and minimize energy use.

Instead of swimming non-stop for lap after lap and putting in long distance, break your workout down into 100-meter lengths while at the same time concentrating on achieving perfect technique.

The one-arm front crawl is perhaps one of the best drills to attempt when trying to improve front crawl technique. Stretch one arm out in front of you and use the other one to power your was across the water. After each lap alternate arms. It forces you to use the best possible technique or you will end up with little forward progress and will swallow lots of water.

Ironman Triathlon Winter Bike Training

The wind-trainer(or indoor bicycle training stand)is perhaps the most valuable piece of equipment a triathlete will ever purchase.

It's perfect for those long cold Winter days when training indoors is the only viable option. Simply park your wind-trainer in your basement or in front of the T.V. and away you go.

There are Spinverval videos available that will guide you through actual Ironman Triathlon bike courses and you can follow along.

There is no need to bike great distances in the Winter months and if you prefer you can also work on cycling technique.

The spin is the key when it comes to making it through the 112-mile Ironman distance bike leg and there are several drills that can help you improve the smoothness and efficiency of your spin while biking on your wind-trainer.

Give the one-legged spin exercise a try.

Rest one leg on a stool beside the bike while spinning with the other. Spin for one minute non-stop while concentrating on maintaining as smooth a spin as possible. After one minute switch legs and repeat five or six times. As your spin becomes smoother and more efficient you can increase the amount of time you spin to 90 seconds, two minutes, or even three minutes.

You can also try doing hill training intervals on your wind-trainer. Begin with a five minute warm-up and then shift into a big gear and stand up on the pedals for 90 seconds much as you would while hill-climbing outside. Rest for one minute and repeat six or eight times.
As you become more proficient, increase the exercise time to two minutes or three minutes, or another option is to shift into a bigger gear.

Ironman Triathlon Winter Run Training

There is no reason you can't run outside in frigid temperatures if you are dressed properly for it. However there is always a chance of taking a nasty spill on icy running surfaces and often it's simply not worth the risk.

An excellent alternative is to find yourself an Indoor track and work on interval run training.

A good place to start if you are Ironman training is six or eight quarter mile repeats with one minute rest intervals. Best results are often realized if you run at a speed that is approximately 60%-65% of your maximum as you start out on the program.

Depending on your fitness level you can increase the degree of difficulty in four ways.

-increase the number of intervals from six or eight to perhaps ten.

-increase the speed of the intervals so that you are running at 70%-80% of your maximum.

-increase the distance you run.

-decrease the interval time between each repeat.

You might also choose to increase both the speed, distance, amount, and length of the intervals all at the same time or any combination of the four.

For instance run 10 repeats an eight of a mile further than a quarter mile, with a 45 second rest interval, and at 70%-75% of your maximum instead of 60%-65%.

Regardless of the workouts you decide to incorporate into your training program there is always an option when it comes to Ironman Triathlon Winter training.

Visit for some essential tools for Ironman Triathlon success.



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