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Raining sideways on your only day to ride long? Business trip and no bike? When you can’t do the workout you’re supposed to, use these workarounds from Earl Walton, head coach at TriLife Coaching in New York City.
Here’s how it works:
The Problem: Deadline hell. A five-hour ride is a fantasy.
The Workaround: Break it up. “If you’re doing an aerobic workout, your goal is trying to get that amount of time in over a 24-hour period. So if you had a four-hour ride and you ride two hours one day and two the next, chances are you’re going to get close to the same benefit,” Walton says.
The Problem: You’re out of town on a hill workout day.
The Workaround: Stairs. “If the purpose of your workout is muscular endurance and force, instead of doing 10-minute hill repeats [five up and five to recover back down], you can run stairs for the same amount of time,” Walton says.
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The Problem: There’s a hurricane on your only day to ride long.
The Workaround: “If the goal is to train your aerobic base, then you can accomplish that on your indoor trainer,” Walton says. Possibly even in less time than you can on the road. “There are no hills, no coasting and no braking, so you can cut back the amount of time in the saddle and still get the benefit,” he says. There’s no strict rule, he says, but has found this equation to be useful: 2 hours on the trainer = 2:30 outdoors. Keep the main set fairly intact and shorten the warm-up and cool-down.
If your mind gets numb after two hours on the trainer—or other parts of you do—it’s reasonable to fill the time with an aerobic run. “You’re still working the same metabolic system,” says Walton.
The Problem: You’re traveling for two weeks. Your bike’s not.
The Workaround: “The main thing you’re going to do is try to find a bike,” says Walton. “If that’s not possible, then you want to replicate and maintain the range of motion you have on your bike. Talk to a coach about the right exercises for you, but they can include walking lunges, squats and even the rowing machine.”
Another approach when you can’t find a bike: Get over it. “A lack of time in one sport is an opportunity in the others,” he says. “Use the time to become a better runner and swimmer.”
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