The early season is all about either building strength or ironing out quirks in technique, so when the main part of race season hits you’ll have strong muscles and great form for more intense training.
In terms of the different disciplines, this might look like:
Early season is the perfect time to have some swim analysis done. Get your coach or strong swimmer pal to watch you swim and help identify the main flaws in your stroke and your drills. By building corrective drills into your workouts, you should start swimming more efficiently before the real heavy swim volume or intensity starts.
For the majority of us, the early season coincides with unpredictable weather, so it’s a good time to get into the gym for some strength and conditioning work (focusing on quads, glutes, etc.), and do over-gear work on the trainer (big-ring, low-cadence stuff). Both have the benefit of building the “über pumper” leg muscles that should set you up for some pretty fast bike splits come race season.
I am a big fan of logging solid early season miles in zone 2—this has the dual benefit of building your run stamina/aerobic base and chipping away at the off-season pounds that have been creeping up. Every long run should start with 10 minutes of running drills (e.g. butt kicks, bounding, strides, etc.) with the purpose of embedding the required good form into your long runs.
This early-season advice for triathletes comes from coach Steven Moody. Dublin-based Moody is Triathlon Ireland’s 2017 coach of the year. He has 15 years of experience and is Triathlon Ireland, ITU Level 2, and Ironman U certified. Moody can be found at Smartendurancesolutions.com.