Energetic Triathlete Indoor Workouts for Winter

For triathletes, there’s nothing more distressing than missing their workout routine due to inclement weather. Winter is not the friendliest weather when it comes to working out. It’s hard enough to get up from the bed on a cold, snowy morning let alone braving the chilly weather to get some exercise. Hey, it’s not without reason that some animals go into hibernation during winters.

But, winter doesn’t necessarily have to spell doom for your workout routine. If you have the motivation to kick out of hibernation mode, we have some great indoor workouts for triathletes below.

Indoor Running Workout

When it’s so cold outside that you can literally see your breath, it’s time to dust off that trusty old treadmill. If you don’t own one, get into a car (preferably with seat warmers) and drive to the nearest gym because we are about to tell you some really effective indoor running workouts using the treadmill.

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Active.com, an online community dedicated to active lifestyle, quotes Melani Hom, founder of a leading Washington D.C. -based triathlon training group, as saying, “a treadmill workout is a way to enhance your speed, confidence, and your overall endurance.” The following exercise has been recommended by Hom and it’s called “The Ladder”:

  1. 5 minutes running at an easy level (e.g. 9:00/mile).
  2. Increase mile pace by 30 seconds (e.g. 8:30/mile), hold for 3 minutes.
  3. Increase mile pace by 30 seconds (e.g. 8:00/mile), hold for 2 minutes.
  4. Increase mile pace by 30 seconds (e.g. 7:30/mile), hold for 1 minute.
  5. Decrease mile pace by 30 seconds (e.g. 8:00/mile), hold for 2 minutes.
  6. Decrease mile pace by 30 seconds (e.g. 8:30/mile), hold for 3 minutes.
  7. Repeat steps three times.
  8. Cool down

Incorporating intervals, according to Hom, emulates a track workout and lets you focus on a quality versus quantity workout.

Professional triathlete and Ironman Triathlon World Champion Mirinda Carfrae swears by the effectiveness of the following treadmill routine.

  1. Warmup with some strides on the treadmill
  2. 10×3 minutes at best effort with three minutes rest between each
  3. Cool down

Indoor Cycling Workout

The Official Ironman website recommends this extremely tough (so tough that they call it the beastly bike workout) indoor trainer session to help you pick up speed:

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Warm up:

  1. 12 mins easy spinning at a cadence of 90+. Build over the 12 mins, with the last 3 to 4 mins steady
  2. 10 x 10 secs seated sprints on 1 min (50 secs spin between each effort) – cadence 110+
  3. 3 mins easy spin – make sure you are keeping hydrated as you get ready for the main set

Main set:

  1. Russian Pyramid x 2 (Stay seated for all efforts. Push as hard as possible, keeping in mind that each set will take 12 mins.)
  2. 5 secs sprint/55 secs easy spin recovery
  3. 10 secs sprint/ 50 secs easy spin recovery
  4. 15 secs sprint/ 45 secs easy spin recovery
  5. 20 secs sprint/ 40 secs easy spin recovery
  6. 25 secs sprint/ 35 secs easy spin recovery
  7. 30 secs sprint/ 30 secs easy spin recovery
  8. 35 secs sprint/ 25 secs easy spin recovery
  9. 40 secs sprint/ 20 secs easy spin recovery
  10. 45 secs sprint/ 15 secs easy spin recovery
  11. 50 secs sprint/ 10 secs easy spin recovery
  12. 55 secs sprint/ 5 secs easy spin recovery
  13. 60 secs sprint
  14. 3 mins easy spin, then repeat the above set. After you complete the second set, do 4 mins easy spinning

Warm down:

  1. 8 x 1-leg riding only, alternate each 55 secs with a 5 sec change-over, continuous.
  2. 6 to 10 mins easy spinning warm down

Indoor Swimming Workout

For a lot of triathletes, swimming in the pool is completely bereft of joy. But when it’s too cold to swim outside and you don’t want to miss out on your swimming routine, it’s time to make friends with that heated pool.

Active.com recommends practicing transitions to keep your pool workout from getting monotonous. This type of training where you transition from one sport to another is called brick training and you can do it indoors or outdoors depending on the weather by just substituting a running track for treadmill and a bike for indoor cycling/spin class.

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Inside Triathlon magazine recommends the following swim-bike brick workout for some off-season training:

Warm up:

  1. 10 minutes on the bike
  2. 5 minutes in the pool

Main set:

  1. Swim 600 meters- 200m fast and 400m at mid-race effort
  2. Bike 15 minutes – 4 minutes at race effort/1 minute recovery- repeat three times
  3. Pedal or swim 5 minutes easy between sets
  4. Repeat 2-5 times

To read more about indoor swim-bike bricks, take a look at this post “3 Indoor Swim- Bike Brick” on triathlon.competitor.com.

Boxing great, Muhammad Ali, famously said once, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” Winters are just a test of your endurance and perseverance as an athlete. Don’t make it an excuse to stop your training because real athletes never rest until they better their best!

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