Winter is one season when your triathlon training can really take a hit. With the fall in temperatures and rising chill factors, getting out can be the hardest thing to do.
You probably have in mind a goal of building an aerobic base with base training during the offseason, but harsh winters are restricting you to the comfort of your rooms.
Indoor triathlon training is a great way to stay motivated and up to date with your training regime for the winters.
In this blog post, we shall discuss the pros and cons of indoor triathlon training, and how to start training indoors.
Indoor Triathlon Training: Pros And Cons
It’s one thing to find the motivation and start training indoors, but indoor training does come with some merits and demerits, which are beneficial to know, as it can help us to balance indoor training and outdoor training properly.
Let us have a look at the pros of indoor triathlon training first.
Pros Of Indoor Triathlon Training
The biggest advantage of indoor training is you get quality results out of your time, which means there are no escape routes such as freewheeling or down rolling, when indoor training is concerned.
There is a safety element to indoor training because there are minimum chances of falling, encountering potholes, or even bicycle crashes.
Reduced Maintenance And Cost Saving
You can do away with expensive winter clothing for outdoor training. Also, no extra maintenance cost is required for bicycles, especially punctures, brakes, and so on.
More Miles Per Hour
Since freewheeling and down rolling are eliminated in indoor sessions, the number of miles per hour is greater than outdoor training.
Be A Family Man
Indoor training is a preferable option, especially when a triathlete has to manage family and side by side achieve his athletic goals also. You can babysit at your home while doing a gainful bike session.
Flexibility Of Training Hours
Especially during the winters when it’s chilly during the wee hours, indoor training is the best option since you can crank up the thermostat and train at a suitable temperature.
Replicate Race Conditions
With equipment like a treadmill and endless pool, it’s very easy to replicate the actual race parameters and train beyond your limits.
There are a lot of benefits that you can count on. However, indoor triathlon training does come with a few demerits too. Let us have a look at them.
Cons Of Indoor Triathlon Training
Position On The Bike
Cycling is one discipline that does require you to be on the road, in order to hone your bike handling skills. Indoor cycling training does not really help you to improve your bike skills.
Under Training Of Smaller Muscles
Running for miles on a treadmill can help in strengthening the bigger muscles, but running on roads with carrying gradients and the turns can help in the training of smaller muscles required for running.
Running on a treadmill for hours or cycling on a turbo and staring at a wall can be mind-numbing compared to changing scenery of the outdoors.
Indoor Triathlon Training: How To Get Started
Indoor Swim Training
Swimming is without a doubt, the toughest for most of the three disciplines. All Ironman races and almost a majority of sprint triathlons take place in lakes and open water bodies.
Local Swimming Pools
Winters and bad weather are a hindrance to lake swimming. One can use a local swimming pool in your locality to practice swims and swim-related drills.
Endless pool is another option for a select few, who can actually afford it. An endless pool is a machine that allows a swimmer to practice stationary swimming using a propulsive current.
Legendary triathletes such as Lionel Sanders and Lucy Charles-Barclay are utilizing endless pools for their indoor swim training sessions.
Hit The Gym
Maybe if your local swimming pool is not so local or you are staying in a colder region where the pools are closed for the winters. In such a case, hitting the gym is easily the best alternative.
There are a lot of exercises such as lat pulldowns, barbell rows, etc which can be done in the gym that fire up your shoulders, triceps, quads, and back. These are the same muscles that are used when swimming.
Another great alternative to actual swimming is a swim bench which simulates swimming without having the need to get inside the water.
All set for the swim, let’s care about the other two aspects.
Indoor Cycling Training
Join A Spin Class
Perhaps the easiest way to have an indoor cycling session is to join a spin class at the local gym. The best part about these classes is that they are group workouts and therefore, even the harder workouts are much more enjoyable. Secondly, the progress is systematic and is supervised through a good coach or a well-thought-out training program.
Bike And Turbo
Another option is that if you have sufficient space at home, you can have your own indoor cycling setup. All you need is your own bike and a turbo. You can either mount your rear wheel on the turbo or you can take off the rear wheel and directly mount the drive chain on the turbo to provide resistance. These turbo trainers can measure the power very accurately.
Make sure you are covering the floor with a mat and using a towel while performing a turbo session if you sweat a lot. Using a mat also cuts extra noise that can irritate those living next to you.
Using Wattbike,Spin Bike Or Bike Rollers
Another option for you is using a watt bike or a spin bike at home that can measure your power. Many cyclists also prefer bike rollers for indoor cycling which, initially difficult to master, but later transfer the cycling skills much better to the road.
Indoor Rowing Sessions
Rowing sessions using an ergometer really work up the hip and the legs which are the primary muscles used in cycling. Therefore, indoor rowing can also be a great alternative to cycling on a few days, as it translates very well to cycling fitness.
Last but not the least, zwift sessions are one of the most popular and the most addictive ways to get into indoor cycling. Zwift is a computer game wherein you can ride with friends who have logged on with you on made-up and real-life courses. The game consists of levels and so it motivates and pushes you to improve.
Fight The Boredom
In the run-up to the ironman event, cycling sessions can be as long as 4-5 hours, and therefore, it is important that you keep yourself entertained using some music, or even watching TV so that boredom from staring at an empty wall for hours does not take you off the track.
Indoor Run Training
The only way to train indoors for running is using a treadmill. A treadmill run does not have to be boring and in isolation. You can join a run club wherein you can run in a group to make it more entertaining.
The main advantage of treadmill runs is they are very goal-specific in terms of achieving the desired intensity and efficiency. Most of all, all the variables are measurable and progress can be monitored.
It is preferable to keep a one percent incline when running on a treadmill to get the feel of running on a track.
It’s always harder to run indoors as the scenery is static. So it is better to keep yourself entertained with music or your favorite show if you can.
Indoor Brick sessions
Indoor brick sessions are one of the best ways to close the training week on a high. One can combine indoor turbo sessions and treadmill sessions to form an indoor brick workout. And, if you have access to a pool, you can practice an entire triathlon without having to leave your house.
Indoor Strength Workout Sessions
“Triathlon needs you to have a solid core”, says Lucy Charles – Barclays and therefore, strength training is as important as individual sessions, to achieve that result.
Strength training helps us to stay injury-free and it also improves the strength and performance of individual muscle groups, thus helping in getting stronger across all three disciplines.
Most importantly, strength training can be a great substitute to triathlon-specific training, apart from being a substitute to individual disciplines as well.
For strength sessions, you will need dumbbells, barbells, and basic gym machines like lat pull machines and benches.
It’s important to keep the balance of indoor and outdoor training. While indoor training is more time-efficient and gives you more value for your time spent training, outdoor training enhances your cycling skills like no other and also makes your race hardened.
A healthy mix of outdoor and indoor training is the best way to structure your training.
What are your thoughts on this? Do let us know in the comments…