Indoor training for triathletes

Treadmills, turbo training and more

Let’s face it, training outside on a cold and wet night just isn’t that much fun really is it, so here are my top tips for making the most of training indoors. You should start by making it relatively interesting for yourself, after all most people aren’t that keen on training indoors, but you can certainly make it easier for yourself but making a few preparations.

Will Clarke

Written by Will Clarke

Will is a British triathlete. He's a former U23 World and European Champion, competed at Beijing 2008 and has twice been British national champion.  He now competes on the World Ironman 70:3 circuit.

Go in with a plan

This is a big one; without a plan, you have will have no direction and likely no motivation. If you make up the session once you’re on there you’re likely to short change yourself. It can also help to plan sessions in advance so you can see the periodisation see the development and improvements and you know where all your effort is heading.

Build yourself a ‘pain cave’

Now is the time to build your ‘pain cave’. Invest in decent turbo trainer, a fan, TV on the wall, stereo with some music rigged up, motivational posters and whatever you can think of to make turbo training more fun. Turbos can be boring, but to be honest it’s probably some of the best bike training you can do, and it’s time efficient, especially for triathletes and time trialists. You have no reason why you should stop pedalling and you don’t have to wear so many layers, so you can really nail some time spent in the TT position.

Treadmill sessions

Treadmill sessions can also be handy in just the same way turbos can be. Treadmill running can be a good opportunity for you to work on your cadence and if you have a mirror in front of you can be good for checking yourself out, sorry, checking out your form! The other good thing. If you slow down then you’ll fall off the back of it so it’s a good way to get the most out of yourself. I’d recommend a session such as 5km at your threshold pace, say 15kph for example. Then run 1k above and below threshold. So 16kph for 1k and 14kph for 1km so you’re pushing up that threshold pace. You can repeat that a few times to get somewhere between 9km and 11km of fast running.

Gym and run

Good thing about being a member of a decent gym is it’s all there for you, and working hard in the gym, especially in the winter period, can be fantastic for your strength and summer racing. Concentrate always on your core and glute work which will transfer nicely across the three disciplines of triathlon, but also try to get some other work done like squats, step ups with a weighted bar, pistol squats, pull ups and many other strength exercises. Another way to get a workout that offers good bang for your buck is to combine it with some running inbetween at pace. For example, three rounds of a circuit with 8 minutes of running at a strong pace between.

Increase your swimming

If the weather isn’t great and you are driven indoors then why not work a bit harder on a sport where you don’t have to be outside? Most of us could do with improving our swimming and winter is often a good time to do that. It builds up a heap of fitness with no real impact on our body, and if you can transform your swimming then you’ll have a nice leap up in the race so you’re always up there. Even though it may replace some of your biking and running sessions, you’ll really notice that swimming you did when you feel fresher on the bike and run as a result.


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