In triathlon training, we often get stuck training just for the miles and spend a lot of time in the “grey zone” or logging “garbage miles” to see the numbers add up. Training indoors allows us to spend more of our time training more specifically towards our triathlon goals and less time just mindlessly training. No stoplights, traffic jams, or just waiting until you get “out of town” to do those intervals. Get on, get warmed up, and get to work.
For many, indoor training is a great way to get the fitness kickstarted in the winter months with an early spring or summer triathlon as a goal. The side effect of this well-intentioned thought process is that most of us will have to do a majority of our training when the weather isn’t greeting us with warmth and sunshine on a regular basis. Considering most of us have a limited amount of “tough it out in the rain” days in our system, the ease and reliability of knowing you can ride and run in a controlled environment is quite beneficial. Beyond this, a lot of the more appealing triathlons we sign up for are in tropical, or at least warmer climates. Generally being on the warmer side while training indoors certainly has a benefit come race day.
Triathletes are often missing specific or “quality” efforts in their training build up to an event. This can be a different focus for each athlete and dependant on where they are in their journey to the start line. The trainer can be the very best place to do this work, whatever the focus may be. By using the erg mode on a trainer, or a structured Zwift workout, you can hit the watts you are aiming for while letting the trainer set the resistance for you. Overgear work is also another specific type of workout most triathletes can see benefits from and is often best accomplished indoors. It’s often hard to find the correct gradient of climb that provides good resistance for an overgear session outside. On the trainer, it’s quite easy to dial it in with zero distractions while focusing on your RPMs.
Just as the trainer can help with specificity of cycling training, the treadmill can do the same for run workouts. Treadmills give us the ability to stay off of icy, uneven, and sometimes crowded roads when doing specific work in the leadup to a triathlon. The treadmill can be a great place to work on form, as well as a fantastic place to work on higher turnover and stride efficiency. Doing hill work specifically on the treadmill can be integral for building strong form and a stride driven from the hips, without the wear and tear of running downhill after each interval. More focus can go directly into our biomechanics and proper muscle recruitment when on the treadmill and if there is a mirror nearby, even better!
Training indoors isn’t all or nothing, it is often best used as a supplement for outdoor training. There is not a more controlled environment for quality training than indoors. With the ability to integrate pre-built workouts into Zwift, you are set up for some great workouts. Generally, a well-balanced plan will have you do several shorter “quality” workouts a week and they are a great opportunity to move indoors to get the best bang for your buck. Using a workout builder or a Zwift workout will allow you to hit the numbers you or your coach have planned, with no distractions, and in a safe environment so you can focus on your training with zero risk!
Join fellow triathletes to jumpstart your 2020 training. Zwift Academy Tri program will test Zwifters at all levels with six cycling workouts as well as one time trial race and four running workouts as well as one running race. You’ll get fitter, faster, and stronger. Enroll today!