With the Standard Bank Durban 70.3 and the 5150 Bela Bela events rapidly creeping up on us, your training and race preparation should be in full swing by now.
Whilst it’s not easy training through the dark and cold of winter, it is important to maintain consistency and stay focused on your goals.
With all the indoor gyms in South Africa, it’s easy to move your sessions indoors if the weather outside is playing havoc with your training schedule.
Whilst indoor bike sessions can be quite boring, there are many advantages:
There is constant resistance on the back wheel and therefore no time for free-wheeling.
An indoor turbo session can be tailored to meet your specific needs, abilities and fitness levels. So even if you are doing a group session, you can work at a level that is suitable for you and not have to worry about getting dropped.
There are no outdoor factors influencing or affecting your indoor trainer session, such as robots, wind or traffic. So sessions can be specific and can be repeated in the same controlled set up. Using power, rpm or heart rate allows you to monitor your intensities and progress.
The variety of sessions that you can do indoors is endless. Short sprints, longer tempo intervals, big gear repeats, time trials - or you can simply focus on pedalling technique by incorporating single-leg cycling drills.
You can do a different session every time you ride indoors. Variety relieves the monotony and boredom many associate with turbo use.
Another advantage of training indoors is the ability to use the treadmill for your run. When training indoors, you can also practise transition training and brick sessions, by hopping off your trainer and onto the treadmill.
Running on a treadmill provides a flat, cushioned surface which is easier on the ankle, knee and hip joints than running on the road.
With treadmills, you can design variable workouts by controlling the speed and elevation. You can also do uphill workouts without the muscle damage from downhill running. The first time you hop off your bike and onto the run should not be in a rush as it will hurt like crazy.
Once you have put in a couple of solid weeks of base training, it is vital to incorporate brick sessions into your training.
A brick usually refers to bike-run training, but you should also practise swim-bike sessions. Brick sessions don’t always need to be done hard and at speed.
Your legs will feel like jelly getting off the bike, so start easy so as to get used to the feeling of running off the bike. Even if it’s only 10 minutes initially, and as you get stronger and fitter, you can incorporate some longer and faster runs off the bike.
The same applies to the swim- bike brick. You will need to get used to the feeling of standing up after being horizontal in the swim, running to and hopping onto your bike, and switching from using predominantly your arms and upper body in the swim – to primarily your legs and lower body on the bike.
When you do these brick sessions, be sure to work on getting through your transition as quickly as possible so as to simulate race conditions.
In order to get the full effect of triathlon training, do some swim sessions in your wetsuit, and practise taking your wetsuit off, putting your helmet, sunglasses and shoes on and hopping onto your bike. Practise taking off your cycling shoes and helmet – changing into running shoes and starting the run.
All these sessions can be practised indoors if necessary in winter, in a safe and temperature controlled environment.
So whilst it may be cold, dark and wet outside – there is a variety of interesting and enjoyable sessions to be done indoors and therefore no excuse not to train.