The winter can cause havoc for triathletes as the usual outdoor sessions need to shelved for safety reasons. But, as we all know, messing with our schedules sends us into a spin! So when we need to find alternatives and train indoors, we need a plan – cue my eight-week schedule that will help you make the most of your time indoors.
It’s true that as athletes we need to experience the same conditions that we might encounter on race day. But
it’s not necessary that every single session has to be outdoors. In fact, there are so many advantages to training indoors that a large number of athletes choose this as their default – stories of multiple Ironman champ Lionel Sanders and his monster indoor workouts are
the stuff of legend.
When you take your training indoors there can be no excuses for poor performance because of the weather, no chance to say your average speed was down due to high winds! But the key advantage to training indoors is that you can execute sessions exactly as they should be done and everything is measurable – time, distance, speed, power, there’s no cheating it. An added bonus with your bike training is that you don’t need to do a 2-3hr ride as every pedal stroke indoors really counts. Consider how much time on the road might be spent freewheeling (never mind the drafting effect if you ride in groups) – you don’t get that indoors. As a rough guide you can reduce the duration of your usual road session by 15-18% and still get the same benefit. What’s more, the tech improvements with the likes of Wattbike and turbo trainers mean you can really simulate your own bike set-up.
For this training plan to work, you do need access to the following facilities: a pool, an indoor bike of some variety, and a treadmill. For the majority, you’ll need to hit the gym and make the sessions count. If you’re new to the gym environment then spend a bit of time getting familiar with the equipment and ‘etiquette’, e.g. it’s best to ask if you can hog the Wattbike for 90mins before assuming that because you’re a triathlete it’s all yours! And remember, when you’ve used the equipment, it’s your job to wipe it down!
How to train smart indoors
For the long bike sessions, download some good music and movies onto your iPad or set yourself up in front of the TV.
GET KITTED UP
Take all of your training equipment with you and try to use your own cycling shoes if possible.
DON’T FORGET THE PLAN
Take the plan with you. No excuses for getting to the gym and not knowing what to do!
RECORD AND REVIEW
Record and review your data from sessions to help you monitor areas for performance improvement.