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The Top Pros’ Killer Base-Building Workouts, 2022 Goals, Offseason-ing, and More

There's no break like a pro break.

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With most major races still months away, what’s a professional triathlete to do during the in-between? Many scale back the intensity of their workouts or indulge in some epic extracurricular activities (see: Linsey Corbin, Paula Findlay, and Eric Lagerstrom’s recent summit of Mount Bachelor on Nordic skis). Others don’t take much time off at all and continue to race in warmer locales. Here’s a look at what four of the most accomplished pros on the planet opt to do with their offseason in the hopes of setting themselves up for success in 2022.

Photo: Brad Kaminski
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Sam Long

26, Boulder, CO 

2021 highlights: Long came into 2021 hot, finishing third at Ironman Texas 70.3 in April and quickly following that up with a second place at St. George 70.3 after a hard fought battle with Lionel Sanders. He then secured wins at both Ironman Coeur d’Alene and Boulder 70.3 before ending his season with a bang, placing second at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in September.

Goals for 2022: “One, be a better swimmer and come out in a better position in races. Two, target the big races. Three, keep having fun and loving the sport.”

First Big Workout Back: “I’ve already started to nail some key workouts as we head into the 2022 season. With the Ironman World Championships being in May, my year looks different than in the past with an earlier and stronger ramp-up. Recently, I have been doing a key hill run workout each week. I progress from shorter/faster repeats of around 30 seconds to 3-minute repeats. I also just did my first big brick workout of the year on Sunday. It was a 1 hour, 30-minute ride with 30 minutes above Ironman pace and a steady 18 miles running after (averaging 6:17 pace). People can see my entire build-up on Strava.”

Favorite off-season activity: “Catching up with friends and family over dinner. In the past, I’ve done more traveling and would spend a few weeks on the ski slopes and cross-country skiing. This year I have passed on that entirely, and I’m hoping it will pay off.”

Who makes you antsy to follow on social media during the off-season? “This may sound rude, but I’ve tried to stop paying attention too closely to any of my competitors. It takes me out of my own process. So I guess everyone and no one?”

RELATED: 2022’s Multisport Movers and Shakers: Sam Long

Photo: Nils Nilsen/Getty Images)
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Andy Potts 

45, Colorado Springs, CO

2021 highlights: Potts got a strong start to the season with a podium spot at Challenge Cancun in May (he was third to Spain’s Javier Gomez and Switzerland’s Ruedi Wild). He then shifted focus to Tokyo, where he competed as a guide for blind triathlete Kyle Coon in the Paralympics, and later wrapped things up with a seventh-place finish (and the second-fastest swim split) at Indian Wells 70.3 last month.

Goals for 2022:  “I want to post my fastest Kona race ever. As I get older, that is getting harder, but I still feel like I am improving. And I want to show people that despite being 45, I can still go really fast!”

First tough workout back after the off-season: “An hour time trial on the bike followed by 4 x 1-mile on the run going for best average. This is a hard workout but strangely enough, I like it a lot. It shows me exactly where I am.”

Favorite off-season activity: “Skiing with my family.”

Who is off-season #goals for you? “Ryan Reynolds. He knows how to go hard no matter the season. And I like to follow awesome surfers because of the art and expression they have with their craft.”

RELATED: The Triathlete Hour Podcast: Andy Potts Remembers When it All Came Into Focus

Photo: Brad Kaminski
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Taylor Knibb

23, Boulder, CO

2021 Highlights: Arguably the breakout star of the year, Knibb landed in the spotlight after her impressive win at WTCS Yokohama, where she nabbed her first Olympic berth (she later placed 16th in Tokyo and helped the U.S. Mixed Relay team earn a silver medal). Even more impressive? A win at the uber-competitive Collins Cup (clocking a faster time than the otherwise-unstoppable, triathlete of the year Lucy Charles-Barclay) and a podium spot at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in just her second shot at the distance as a pro.

2022 goals: “Continue to enjoy the process, stay as healthy as possible, and to learn as much as possible.”

Favorite off-season activity? “In November and December, I really enjoyed getting to spend time with my family, but once I finished up my two-week break, I started to get back into swim-bike-run training. Even though there is no racing yet, I don’t really think of this time as ‘off-season.’ Now I’m really enjoying being back in Boulder and getting back into a routine.”

Who is off-season #goals for you? “I’m impressed by and happy for everyone who listens to their body and does what’s best for them in the ‘off-season’—or whatever they’d like to call it—to best prepare them for their goals in the 2022 race season. I’m just grateful and excited to be back training.”

Photo: James Mitchell
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Haley Chura

36, Bozeman, MT

2021 Highlights: One of the speediest swimmers and runners in the sport, Chura—a multi-time 70.3 champ—finished third at Challenge Samorin in August and narrowly missed a podium spot at Ironman Coeur d’Alene in June, turning in the best swim split (49:40) and the second-fastest run (3:05:46) of the day.

2022 goals: “One, run a sub-3-hour marathon off the bike. Two, finish among the top 15 pro women at the Ironman World Championships in St. George. Three, set myself up to attempt a sub-2:37 stand alone marathon sometime before 2024.”

First tough workout after the off-season? “Tempo runs are a sure sign that training is getting real. I usually do tempo runs on the treadmill with a heart rate monitor. I’ll target my half-marathon heart-rate range and adjust the pace as needed. My first session of the season is usually fairly short, maybe 3 x 8-minute tempo efforts with 4 minutes easy jogging in between. As I gain fitness over the season I’ll increase the interval duration and the pace, while maintaining the same heart rate.”

Favorite off-season activity: “Staying up really late. I love reading, watching movies, or chatting with friends, and just enjoying the quiet and dark of evening hours, especially knowing I don’t have a morning swim alarm.”

Who makes you antsy to follow on social media during the offseason?Sarah Bishop posts very entertaining content of her life as a pro triathlete, coach, and mom of four. Just observing her high-intensity workouts and playdates exhausts me, but I think her most impressive metric is how she’s able to do so much and still get 8 to 9 hours of sleep!”

Who is off-season #goals for you?Lucy Charles-Barclay. She told me she off-seasons hard, really taking time off training and prioritizing nights out with friends and high fashion, and she’s obviously doing something right. Lucy also said she listens to Imagine Dragons and I’m not sure about the science behind it, but I figure it can’t hurt to add some ‘Thunder’ to my playlist.”

RELATED: Haley Chura’s Tips for Crushing the 100×100 Pool Swim