The fall can be an awkward time of year for many triathletes. Your A priority race is likely in the books, but the weather is still warm enough for some great training sessions. If you use this time to your advantage you can make winter, and the following spring one of your best. Here are a few ways to enjoy fall and make it count.

First, set a goal. This should be a process goal focused on something you can control. Examples would be to swim three days a week, or to run more hills in your workouts. This will give you a sense of purpose as you work towards your goals. Without a race on the calendar, it can be easy to let workouts go. Having this goal should motivate you to be diligent in your training. This will also help give you direction.
This can be a great time of year to work on building your base endurance. Since the weather is warm enough to continue riding and running outside, use it to your advantage. Take these last days to go for long rides and runs. These can even be mountain bikes or trail runs. By using six to eight weeks to build your aerobic endurance, you can use the winter months to work on building your bike and run threshold. Using the winter to build your base is, for most athletes, a difficult proposition. Long trainer rides in the basement can drain you physically and mentally. It’s better to use shorter workouts, say a 90’ trainer session, to build power and keep your sanity. If you use the fall to build your aerobic base, then winter to bump up your ability at threshold, you’ll come into spring firing on all cylinders.
Fall is also a good time to work on your weakness. With no A race coming up, you can focus on your weakness while simply maintaining the rest of your fitness. Become a stronger runner by adding two more runs to your weekly schedule and pulling back on your cycling. Work to become a more efficient swimmer by swimming four days a week. You can also add in elements like stretching and strength training.
Take this opportunity to try something new as well. Cyclocross racing has boomed over the past few years. With a fun atmosphere and short races, jumping into a ‘cross race may be just what you need to stay motivated to ride your bike. Find some run trails in your area and set out to figure them out. Everyone has that road or trail that they’ve wanted to Mike Fall 2014 Kenosha Passexplore but haven’t- so go exploring. Even if you simply run or ride your usual route in the opposite direction, that can be enough of a change to keep things interesting.
Finally, become a mentor to a friend and help them get involved in the sport you love. Take them for a short spin, show them your run routes and give them some tips in the pool to get them excited about triathlon. Giving advice to a beginner not only helps them but it will also help you think about your own training as well.
The fall can be odd, you want to keep it fun, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see a reward at the end. Rather than letting the next few months pass without a purpose, take some simple steps to make them work for you.
 
Written by D3 Coach AJ Johnson. Learn more about how his training style will get you the results you seek!

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