3 D3 Coaches Give you Their Tips and Workouts for a RainyDay

Photo of a lane on a bike path
December 14, 2016

Jim Hallberg


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Coach Mike

I love to run in the rain. It's refreshing, cleansing and I don't worry about how wet I'm going to get or how fast I'm going to go unless I have a specific speed workout that day. I often seek out new routes on rainy days, just to change things up and to keep it different. Most of the time I'll listen to my cadence in the water and take my chances jumping over bigger puddles vs. running around them. There's nothing like finishing a run with rain soaked legs and muddy shoes. Give me a rainy day anytime!


Coach AJ

First, decide if the session is really worth it. If you're just logging miles going out in the rain may not be worth getting sick or worse. If it is a key workout, decide if you can do it inside and stay dry.

If you do go out, check your route first. Make sure you'll be able to do the workout as planned. If you need to do speed work, you can't do that on a muddy trail.

Be mentally ready to have a good session despite the weather. How you approach your training makes the difference, especially when conditions aren't ideal.

Finally, just embrace the weather. There is no guarantee of good weather on race day, so think of it as being prepared for the unexpected on race day. 


Coach Jim

As the weather turns from summer to fall, we might start to be forced to train indoors.

I sit here watching rain fall, for nearly 6 days now, and I'm happy to share some workouts I personally do when it rains.

First a few rules:

I won't run nor would I advise running when you risk your health and safety.

I don't run in lightning, fairly obvious reasons.

I don't run with the risk of slippery conditions such as on trails that can turn to mud and slick rocks.

If I decide to run in the rain, I'll choose either the track or a bike path run trail.

Track sessions

I actually don't mind running in the rain, in fact, kinda like it!  I have done these and have felt amazing running in the rain.

Mile repeats.For example: starting in lane 2 (for the entire 4 laps) and then moving over to lane 3 for the entire next mile. It is a consistent solid run just shy of threshold or 5k pace. It is more than that as you have to now run faster to have the same 4 lap split. I might run 3x2 mile repeats run on the track. I change lanes every mile.

A very similar variation would be to run laps 1-4 in lanes 1-4, and then repeat this process through your 2nd mile.  It teaches a bit of patience, and really dialing some speed control and negative splitting your workouts.  This is an applicable workout for Olympic, Half and even Ironman races with just some modifications in your goal workout pace depending on what your goal race is.

Bike sessions:

A bike workout I really enjoy especially in the winter is a trainer, strength workout. I really feel that with this workout you get a lot of work done in a short amount of time, and yet it goes fast. Plan on about 1:20 or longer.

The priority is not the amount of weight, but executing proper technique. You may go through just the range of motion to make sure you execute properly with 90 degree hip and knee angles, strong back alignment, etc. You may also focus on a slow to moderate load and a faster release. For example, a bench press you may come down and load the muscle slower, but release and execute strong quick force development by pushing the weight back to start position quickly. It develops more power. Keep the weights light to moderate the first few times and get an idea of where your comfortable with your routine.

In my workout room I have my trainer and bike set up in front of an old tv. I also have a Smith Machine, and a weight bench, but these weight machines are not required.

I will start with an easy 20 minute spin warm up 50-60% threshold from Z1-2. Then I will choose 3-4 exercises, (two leg exercises and an upper body exercise and a core).  After my 20 minute spin I will do 1 set of 10 repetitions of my chosen 3-4 exercises and then repeat for 2 MORE sets. I might start with some basic exercises for range of motion. This might be regular squats, bench press or push-ups, and hamstring curls and cable twists.

Once I go through one circuit of exercises 3x, I will hop back on the bike for a building 20 minutes of intensity on the bike. I might go off of my power meter, or just changing gears to ever harder intensity. I might increase my power every 5 minutes and increasing my gearing into a harder gear staying below threshold. I usually focus on strength gearing slower cadence here.  Play around and mix it up. Repeat the 20 minute bike strength cycle.  Each cycle is sightly different than the one before.

On my 2nd cycle through the weights and strength session, I will get off the bike and go through another series of exercises.  A bit more specific now I might do single leg squats or reverse lunges, pull ups, and some dead lifts. Again 1 circuit of each exercises, 10 reps 3x through.

Each set of weights should take 15-20minutes, then 15-20 minute on the bike with a solid effort.  Each circuit of weights I do 3-4 exercises but I change either the amount of weight being used and or make the workout more challenging with individual leg exercises engage the core on the leg exercises and the upper body exercises.

Here is a sample list of exercises that I might do that can be done with or without a weight set with just a little modification such as dumb bells:

Leg exercises: squats, single leg squats, reverse lunges, dead lift, single leg dead lift, single leg extensions without returning back to 90 degree knee flexion, hamstring curls done with a weight bench or a ball. Single leg step ups (without toe push off).

Core: cable rotations, 30 second planks or longer and any other abdominal exercise.

Arms: bench press, Pull ups, Cable tricep pull downs and more,

Plyometrics (advanced exercises): box jumps, jump switch leg lunges, Jump squats with or without weights. Plyometric work can be done with only6 quality reps and in the middle of the sessions before great muscle fatigue begins to set in.

I really like doing this on those longer days but if the weather is bad then maybe a 2hr+ trainer time is not very interesting.  This is great for increasing power and stability on the bike in shorter races, muscle endurance and strength for the longer races.

Remember the stronger you are on the bike, the more amount of time that can be reduced from your races, and the stronger and more resilient you will be to fatigue.

You will also find that you are a stronger runner off the bike with your greater bike strength.

I hope you enjoy these idea on training in the rain   . 

Coach Jim Hallberg notices that some athletes spend too much time focusing solely on their strengths or just on their weaknesses. As a coach, he believes you should work on both. Your strengths can give you a competitive edge in one or more of the disciplines but spend an inordinate amount of time on them and you can forgo progress in other areas. Not enough time and you’ll see them diminish. Same with your weaknesses.  Coach Jim works with you to build a plan to balance the two and make you the best overall athlete you can be!

Coach Jim is a 5X USA Triathlon National Champion, a USA Triathlon Level II Certified Coach and USA Cycling Level II Certified Coach.

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