17 Mar Winter training with Anne Haug
Make the best of 2020, with the CeramicSpeed-riding World Champion
Like most of us, Anne Haug uses her winter to build for the following year. And like many of us, the German Olympian isn’t in love with the worst of the winter weather. With her coach, Dan Lorang, Anne uses the form from the past season to prepare and build for the next… although unlike almost all of us, Anne most recently used that process to turn her 2018 Kona bronze medal into a gold one in 2019. She’s following the same principle of incremental self-improvement that can apply to every athlete – it’s just that she’s operating at a higher level.
The reigning Ironman World Champion tells us about her winter training regime and her thoughts and advice on some of the ‘accepted wisdom’ around off-season training.
“I’m not a fan of cycling in the cold,” says Anne, getting straight to the point. “I’m very lucky that I have the opportunity to escape the cold German winter and train at Club La Santa, in Lanzarote, where I’ve found perfect training conditions the whole year-round. But even at the Olympic Training Center in Saarbrücken, I find very good conditions for training during winter.
“That’s the reason why I do all my training on the bike indoors in winter. And if there’s too much snow I will also do the run indoors – on the treadmill.
“The focus of training during that time is base endurance, technique and very short, sharp intervals. The work is just to build a solid base for the races. I record all my training data and sent it to my coach, so he always knows what fitness level I have.”Anne’s favourite winter training tip: “Listen to nice music and always think about the goals you want to achieve in the summertime. That’s my biggest motivation.”
Ahead of her brilliant performance in Hawaii, Anne’s season was affected by an injury to her lower leg. It was shortly before the European Championships at Frankfurt, which had been one of the year’s focus points. Even through the disappointment of missing the big ‘home’ race – where she had made her full Ironman distance debut only a year earlier – Anne had to look forward: “I have to focus now on rehab and get myself ready to qualify in August,” she posted on her social media channel in June. “The road to Hawaii has changed, but not my goal to be fitter and better than last year.”
No-one wants an injury, but sometimes their timing can add to a story. And there can even be an element of serendipity to the timing of recovery, peaking and tapering that comes with ‘Plan B’. As Dan Lorang noted in the build-up to Kona: “Her injury gave us an opportunity to do a bit more work on the bike.”