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Off-season training tips

For most in the endurance sports world, the winter denotes the off-season. Granted there are opportunities to race year-round which many people take advantage of (such as my upcoming race at the ING Miami Half Marathon) but a vast majority of people who like to run distances or participate in triathlon aren't specifically building toward a specific race in January and February.

What to do with your workouts?

The folks at talked to three of the sports most respected coaches to ask their ideas and suggestions for off-season training. (You can read the entire article here.)

Suggestion No. 1 involves using the offseason to challenge yourself in a short distance -- either by improving your mile time, a 400-meter swim or a 2.5-mile ride. It offers a look at your fitness and, coach Paul Huddle believes, will ultimately make you a faster triathlete.

Suggestion No. 2 is to think variety and get away from your sports. Coach Roch Frey said a common mistake is that marathoners start adding too many miles too quickly and that triathletes also tend to up the volume too soon. Use the winter off-season instead to keep training fresh and try trail running, paddling and other sport-substitutes. 

But even if you add some variety, sport-specific training can be valuable, said Coach Lance Watson. In this final suggestion it again is not about the miles and volume but about skill development -- classic running drills, balance drills in the pool, bursts of speed on the bike. He also suggests targeting one sport for improvement and signing up for a competition to measure your success.

Meanwhile, in this week's The Biggest Loser recap, Melissa continues to make her case for most annoying person on the ranch. While she lost 11 pounds this week, she is chest-deep in game-playing and make enemies left and right. The grey team, cousins Sam and Koli, continue to become two of my favorites not only for their work ethic but also for the honorable way in which they approach all the members of the house -- something that seems impossible at times. The product placement this week was for Ziploc bags to help keep fresh produce from going bad. The segment has no way but to look contrived, still it was less obnoxious than some of the other product placements on the show.

--- Amy Moritz

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