During the winter you should be focusing on two things – building base mileage and building strength. The majority of your efforts and training time should be spent on those two goals.
Racing During Base Phase Training
Races are to be avoided. Not all together, but they must fit your training plan and not take away from your training time or effort. Don’t sacrifice a long workout for a race. If your plan calls for a long ride on Saturday and a long run on Sunday, it is possible to race on Sunday. Just add miles before the race. Adding miles before (instead of after) the race allows you to get in the long workout and race at less than race effort.
Increase your mileage during the Base Building Phase. Work in two and four week training blocks. Weeks one and two do the same mileage for the week and for your long workout. Week three increase the distance of your long workout. Week four do the same mileage as week three. Week five is a recovery week – decrease your weekly mileage and the distance of your long workout by 10 to 20%. This will allow your body to recover and rebuild muscle.
By increasing both your weekly mileage and the distance of your long workout, you will be building endurance and strength. But, you need to do a bit more during the Base Building Phase. One of the misconceptions of the Base Building Phase is LSD. LSD is usually referred to as Long Slow Distance. But, it originally meant Long Steady Distance. And it was only one part of the Base Building Phase.
As you build distance and endurance, you should also begin building strength. One workout per week should be devoted to strength building. The best way to add a strength building workout is to add hills. Doing hill drills and repeats builds strength and reduces the risk of injury.
Have a Plan
Your training needs to be well designed. Select a Key Race. This is the race all of your training is geared towards. Plan your training phases back from your Key Race – Taper, Speed Building Phase, Strength Building Phase and Base Building Phase.
Now add secondary races to your schedule. Select races that will compliment your training plan – races that fit the training phase – and races that will prepare you for your Key Race. If you are attempting your first Triathlon, include running races up to the distance of the run portion of your first Triathlon. If you are moving up in distance, schedule a few races at shorter but increasing distances.
Build for Two Years Ahead