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Get set for training this winter

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Whether you're an Olympian or a first-timer, Sinan Osman who coaches at the Leeds Triathlon Centre knows the importance of staying on track this winter.

“Enjoyment is the best thing for motivation.”

Osman, 55, is a full time British Triathlon coach, working with Yorkshire Academy to get young talent on the first step of the elite ladder, as well as coaching the talent pathway within Leeds too.

Osman said: “It was the base for Alistair and Jonny [Brownlee] and that era, also with Vicky [Holland] and Jess [Learmonth] - they're all still in Leeds and the younger generation are coming through now, with Georgia, Alex spent his formative years here, Sam Dickinson's here too.

“There's a lot of very talented senior and junior athletes coming through and that draws more people to Leeds Triathlon Centre.

“If you look at the medals being won at major events, a lot have come from Leeds and it's brilliant that we have that legacy. We like to share our success, but also the success of other clubs and triathlon all over the country has a really strong development and legacy in place.”

Since it was founded in 2004 in partnership with Leeds Beckett University and University of Leeds, the group has grown year on year to the point where over 60 athletes are now supported and actively training within the various squads, delivering a world class environment for elite and developing athletes alike.

Osman, who set up a kid’s triathlon club - NYP TriStars - in Ripon in 2012, is now hoping to spread his passion for triathlon with others off the back of the Tokyo Olympic legacy, and motivate them to keep active over the cold, dark days of winter ahead.

Osman said: “In a lot of sports, you have to motivate the athlete to do the work, but in triathlon, you're spending a lot of time trying to get them to do less because they're so keen - it doesn't really matter the age.

“Triathletes can be obsessive and so the key for them is learning more to switch off. Having a good break at the end of the season is really good to get people excited to get back to training, and also give their body a rest and slow down a bit - anything between two to four weeks.

“There're certain things that everyone has to do in winter training, but some are adaptable and vary for people.

“Everyone has to be happy, healthy, fit and motivated to train. If you're not at that start point, it doesn't matter what the session is.

“A warm up is so important, particularly in winter as injuries are more likely to occur if your muscles aren't warm.

“If you're going to do interval training or something high impact, your body has to be ready and so you must get it fired up and activated physiologically, muscularly, neurologically, but also mentally to get yourself in the right mindset to train.

“Three lots of 30 seconds of strong activation should be really good to help warm up too, but when it's really cold, be mindful that it will take longer to get yourself warm.”

As well as warming up for your run, swim or ride, Osman advises to change up the activity to make it more interesting from your day-to-day training.

He said: “The variety of the sport allows a lot of fun. We have six pillars of athlete development, and one is training as play - that I think is really key.

“If you're finding things difficult, then find new ways of doing it, for example, go mountain biking out in the woods, meet a new group of people for a cross country run, just mix it up. It can be monotonous training on the same lane or in the same pool looking at the tiles.

“Active recovery is good to get back into it to build a good aerobic base through the winter months and also recharge yourself physically and mentally before getting into a new season, whatever it is that motivates you, and the most important thing is that you enjoy doing it.

“Enjoyment is the best thing for motivation.”

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