As triathletes, we are perhaps more attuned to having to undertake training sessions indoors more than other athletes, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take every opportunity to head into the great outdoors and enjoy as much fresh air as possible in the form of outdoor workouts.
Of course, living in the UK means that for the most part, swimming is done in local pools and for a number of months a year this is the only option, but from April – October (depending on your location and your hardiness to cold water) Open Water Swim venues are open across the country and can be embraced with open neoprene arms.
There is nothing quite like open water swimming to get the heart and mind working, adding a bit of variability to your training, and escaping the endless repetition of smashing out lengths at your local pool.
The impact of an outdoor workout in your local open water swim venue really can’t be underestimated. It builds water confidence, helps your body acclimatise to the different temperatures faced, gets you used to other conditions such as murky water and the impact of sunlight (check out the Vapour goggles with polarised lens to help with this!) and allows you to practice sighting. Head over to your local open water swim venues and try them out. They are usually run by super friendly folk who are only too happy to help beginners. Be sure to check what facilities and safety provisions are in place too.
No open water lakes near you? Then have a look for a local Lido. These open early in the Spring and can still offer you some training in your wetsuit and a bit of fresh air to get your outdoor workout fix. Inspired to embrace open water but need a wetsuit? Why not look at the entry-level Advance which also happens to be the only 10/10 wetsuit in the world.
On to cycling! Are you a fair-weather cyclist? Is the only option a turbo session in the shed/garage? If you have answered yes to either (or both) of these, think again!
With the advancement of clothing technology there is no such thing as bad kit, just the wrong kit for the weather condition. Hitting the road in the dark, wet winter months is not the most appealing of activities but with the right kit and the right mindset, you should still consider breaking the monotony of sitting on the Turbo. Embrace the weather when it is good!
Running is probably where, as Triathletes, we spend most of our time doing our workouts outdoors. However, are you bored of running on the roads of your local estates? Then why not hit the trails. Need some focused speedwork? Then head to a running track and embrace your inner 400m runner. If you do find yourself hitting the treadmill in winter during the long cold months then why not swap your RX3 compression shorts (you are using these, right?) for the RX3 tights and hit the cold night air, and if it's raining outside remember that nothing makes you feel more warrior-like than running in a downpour.
Even strength and conditioning sets can be done outdoors, just find a patch of grass and a bit of open space and hit those crunches, planks and push-ups. No excuses.
Remember that staying safe is of course key whenever you're outside, so make sure that someone knows where you are going, the activity you are doing and how long you are expecting to be out. Dress for the weather, use sun cream and take lots of water if it’s hot, or add layers and waterproof clothing in cold conditions (still not forgetting the importance of hydration of course!). Be sure to use a tailored open water swim venue with appropriate lifeguard provisions, and even then consider using a safety buoy as standard, such as our Swim Safety Buoy and Dry Bag.
So there you have it, lots of tips and ideas to consider, now just make sure you make the most of your outdoor workouts. Happy training.
Written by Zone3 Ambassador Philip Keel