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home » cross train more!

In a swim, bike, run rut? Cross train! It seems a bit ironic that multisport athletes can get tired of training for three quite different disciplines, but it happens. Some time off can lead to more energetic and dedicated efforts later when it counts during the season.

When it comes to aerobic fitness, your heart, lungs, and metabolism don't know the difference between a swim, ride, run, or a cross country ski day. Alternative workouts can be relatively mild like hiking, or as tough as you want with full-effort workouts in other endurance sports. You can stay fit for short breaks in-season, and longer breaks during off-season without the repetition of swim-bike-run that you really do need for race buildups.

Many speed skaters and XC skate skiers bike race during the summer; some have been Olympians in both summer and winter sports.

I've put in as much time on my mountain bike as road bikes over the last few seasons and go none the slower for it on race days. The variety makes the miles more interesting, and pedaling is pedaling until I need to fine-tune my ability to hold the aero TT/tri-bike position.

Sometimes it's good to go slow and still be burning calories. You can call it well-timed active recovery when it comes after a key race that required a fatiguing push during the buildup. Hiking works for me, and if there's some vertical gain/loss involved the legs get a different type of workout than they will from running.

I've coached athletes who play hockey during off-season. Others play basketball, golf, tennis and various other racquet sports. It can't hurt to participate in sports that tune the fast twitch muscles and reflexes. One athlete I coach rides a unicycle to relax and give his core muscles a workout!

I know several triathletes who split their time between tri-training and rock climbing, and some might say they're more physically balanced for it. They would probably say they're more mentally balanced for it. ;-) Some are into investigation of all options and adventure; some are out there for the experience more than the competition, and it's all good...

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