Dear coach: What is the smartest thing I can do in the off-season to improve for next year?
The off-season is time for you to take a break from structured training and to refine your technique.
Now is when you should spend some time resting and cross-training in some sport other than triathlon. This is referred to as a transition period. Allow all those little injuries or niggles to heal. Maybe you want to try out some snow sports such as cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Perhaps it is time to hit the trails on a mountain bike or try cyclo-cross. Ever want to try inline or ice skating? All of these will help to maintain your hard-earned fitness but will give you a mental and physical break. These activities also use different muscle groups that will benefit you next season.
You should also look at your race results and see where you stumbled this past season. Does your swim have you playing catch-up on the bike? Is your cycling always leaving you with dead legs on the run? Do you loathe running up hills or going long? Find a certified coach to do a video analysis of your swim or run technique and prescribe some drills to make you more efficient. Get a good bike fit or enroll in a technique clinic to learn skills that will carry into the new season.
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