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Off Road Triathlon Training

Back in 1996, Off Road triathlons were born on the great Island of Maui. Since that time, the sport is gaining popularity. Most of the off road triathlons are organized and affiliated with the global brand of XTERRA, which offers a Global tour and a World Championship. Historically, the World Championships was located on Maui, but recently has moved to Italy for 2022, 2023 and 2024. European XTERRA races have exploded recently with huge participation and popularity.

To become an off road triathlete most athletes either need to learn how to swim coming from a mountain bike background, or they need to learn how to mountain bike coming from a triathlon history. In both cases, these newer activities can be rather technical but yet enjoyable and challenging.  Let’s assume that some basic technical skills are present in these two disciples and move towards some specific skill and physical training that will assist in preparing for your first off road race of the season or maybe your life.

There are 3 aspects of the swim that need to be simulated in training that will help you come race day.

Practice the swim start and crowded turns around a Buoy.

Schedule Swim lap exits, short runs and re-entries into the water

Practice fast swim exits and wetsuit removal

The mountain biking tends to be the most challenging of the three disciplines. These aspects must be incorporated into your training to reduce the chances of mishaps and maximize your speed

Practice putting on your helmet and mounting the bike then putting on your gloves while maintaining control of the bike (more difficult with wet hands from the swim)

Experience high speeds on loose ground

Practice climbing on steep terrain with good traction

Practice climbing on steep technical rooty or rocky terrain

Practice descending steep switchback descents

Practice descending loose rocky terrain and try to increase speed

Practice dismounting and mounting your bike when you need to run/walk for fast speeds or safety concerns

The cross-country run is a test of fitness and pain tolerance. Most Off Road races have you rack your bike, then after a short transition, you start running uphill. You need to have fast feet and superior fitness to start strong and finish even stronger.

You should practice the following scenarios to master the run portion of an Off Road Triathlon…

Running off the bike with fast feet and controlled pace

Running up long and steep hill when fatigued

Running on loose rock or rooty trails

Running fast on smooth trails

Running safe but fast on technical trails

Jumping over logs or ducking under trees while running fast

Running on sand and loose rock

If you dare to experience this fast growing sport this season, attempt to incorporate at least a few of these aspects into your weekly training. This physical and skill training will certainly prepare you for everything that you will experience in the common off road races. Play safe and see you on the start line!

CoachCal has 10 World XTERRA Age Group Titles and will be racing the 2023 World XTERRA Championships in  Italy on Sept 23rd.   Visit his web site for the latest in off road triathlon coaching. Go to www.criticalspeed.com