Coach Neil’s Blog: The Off Season, Part 2 – “Weakness Focus”.

Now that you have taken time to recover and refresh your life, it is time to move on to the next phase of the Off Season. The next step is to determine which leg of your triathlon is the weakest, and set a plan to help increase its strength.

In the review part of the off season you determined what went right and what went wrong with the past season. Determining your weakest leg in the triathlon trilogy is part of that process. We want to look at specifically at Swim, Bike, Run for now.

One of the best ways to determine which of the three is the weakest is to look at this past season results statistics. Go to the race websites, or your favorite site, to get a look at the gender and age group you were in for that specific race. Look for your individual Swim Place, Bike Place, or Run Place. These three numbers will tell you where you placed in each of the legs. If the numbers are equal, or much the same, then I would suggest working on your bike leg. It will get you the best results fastest and help the run split also. If however you find one of the legs definitely lower in the standings than the others were, that will be the one to focus on.


These would be typical statistics for a experienced triathlete looking to break into the winners circle. You average in the top 31% in your swim, the top 47% on your bike, and the top 20% on your run. You are a pretty good runner and fair swimmer but focusing on your bike will give you the best return for your training time.

Next you need to plan a strategy to decrease this weakness without losing strength on the other legs. You need to realize that this is not the time to be doing speed work or anything hard, but is the time to be looking at the underlying factors to make your selected triathlon leg ultimately faster. Technique and strength are the key at this time of the year. Drills and weights are the way to accomplish this.

Find three drills that specifically work on your weakness. Specifically defining your individual weakness can be hard without help. Examples for individual weaknesses on the bike might be:
* lack of strength in your quadriceps,
* uneven rotation on your cranks,
* lack of endurance on your bike.

General overall drills will help a lot. The harder the drills seem to be, the more you need to do them. Work on those drills for the next 4-6 weeks spending at least 10 minutes on each, three times a week. Four times is better. Immediately after the drill set go to the specific sport you are working on and then do that work out easy, with the intention of feeling the changes you are making while doing the drill. Keep these sessions from 45 minutes to 1 hour each. Keep up the drills past where you know how to do them and to the point where you have incorporated the movement into your normal stroke, or stride.

For more information, see:
* Triathletes Guide to Bike Training, Wallenfels
* Triathletes Guide to Run Training, Mierke
* Total Immersion, Laughlin

Weights workouts should be specifically designed to be triathlon specific and should be done 2 times a week now. Use free weights, machine weights, or stretch cords. Add 4 exercises specifically for your weakness, keeping the total workout to 45 min to 1 hour. Start out with a 50% of max, 8-12 weight routine with 16 reps each, core exercises can be added in between the weight sets. Build to 60% over the next 4 weeks.

For more specific details, see:
* Triathlon Anatomy, Klion & Jacobson
* Strength Training for Triathletes, Hagerman

Working with specific drills and weights will help you focus your training on your weakest part of your triathlon. Keep everything this time of the year at a easy to moderate level and keep the times short 45-1 hour mostly.

If you need specific help get in touch with me here. Starting a conversation about this on this blog will help everyone.


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