For those of us in the northern hemisphere some are in the last few weeks of training for a late season race. Others have already started their offseason. That equates to shifting training indoors for me. I’m from Pennsylvania and having been a triathlete for over 35 years. I’ve certainly spent a fair bit of time training indoors. Part of how I have stayed predominately injury free and hungry for another season of racing after almost 50 years as an endurance athlete has been some down time at the end of each season and then having a good preseason to lay the groundwork for the upcoming year.
So, this is a great time for those that did not grow up as a swimmer. You can work on technique rather than going hard. The best way to do that is under the guidance of a coach and surrounding yourself with good swimmers. Find a masters swim program that has a coach on deck. Have the coach help you with technique. Then spend some extra time in the pool working on the skills the coach teaches you. Swimming is also a great way to destress your body in the off-season. Just keep the sessions aerobic!
Using these programs will help build strength, a smoother pedal stroke, endurance and speed. I think the most important thing to avoid getting bored is variety. Doing sets that mix high smooth cadence, low cadence for power building and then normal cadence, one leg drills, long tempo intervals, etc.
For those that are doing a spring IRONMAN you may need to do long rides inside. For that you can combine interactive programs, the sets mentioned above and watching a fast-paced action or thriller movie. Indoor riding for many has become a year-round activity because of family and work schedule, lack of safe roads near nearby and the consistent repeatable workouts that can easily measure your progress. The more you can vary your workouts the better. And if you can have others join you it will definitely make your workouts more enjoyable. The nice thing about riding inside with others is even with a wide range of fitness nobody gets dropped and nobody has to wait up for someone else!
For me that means mixing up the elevation and changing speed or cadence. One of my favorite workouts is to warm-up and then gradually increase the speed every minute. A trick I use to make longer tempo runs easier is to crank the speed up really high for about 20-seconds, then settle back down. This makes the tempo speed seem easier! Using the treadmill on a set speed and working on increasing your run cadence without increasing speed is another nice workout.
Building your core strength is a great way to prevent injury. Working on muscle weaknesses or an imbalance can help with recovery from past injuries as well. Two or three strength sessions a week at this time of year will pay off come your first races of 2019.
For me, nothing beats a ride or run out on quite country roads. But when the weather, time or daylight won’t allow that then indoor training can be a nice diversion. It certainly beats frostbite or hitting a patch of ice and winding up on your backside!!
To see what Ken is up to and to have him help you get to your races next season visit Endurance Sports Travel
I am the Founder and CEO at Mark Allen Coaching. I am proud to have been voted in an ESPN global poll "The Greatest Endurance Athlete Of All Time." During my multi-sport career I won the Ironman Triathlon World Championship six time, the inaugural Triathlon World Championship at the Olympic Distance in Avignon, France, and at one point in my career I won 21 straight races across every derivation and distance. It was a great career, but that's all it would ever be unless I was able to share all of the experience and methodology we invented long before smart watches, power meters, and flashy uniforms. That's why I started Mark Allen Coaching, as a way to return to others at least the part of the gifts I received.