As the weather cools down across much of the country, and outdoor conditions become unideal for training, going inside can seem like a loss. You may go through the motions of running, swimming, and biking, but feel like something is lost in translation.
We’re sharing our best practices for making the most of your controlled indoor environment to not only build a base of strength and endurance, but also practice the skills and nuances of triathlon that will serve you well once you’re back outside.
Starting with the run portion. You can dial in the same flat, steady run all day on the treadmill and still be unprepared when you get outdoors. Courses have hills and valleys to navigate and races are rarely run at a consistent pace. It’s essential to replicate a variable environment in your training. Play around with incline, pace, time, and distance within a workout, and from day to day to better simulate the real world. Changing these factors not only builds aerobic endurance faster, but keeps your workouts interesting and more fun to look forward to.
A pool may not seem like an easy comparison to open water, but it’s a great place to hone your technique and body position. Head down, straight body alignment is absolutely the most efficient inside, but in a race you’ll spend almost a quarter of your time with your head raised—inefficient, but necessary to keep a straight line and deal with waves.
To reinforce efficient body alignment we recommend training by “pressing the buoy”. Your lungs, the buoy, make your chest ride higher in the water, forcing hips and muscularly dense legs to sink, like an anchor. To counter that natural buoyancy, keep your head in a neutral position looking at the bottom of the pool, and consciously press your chest down as you swim. To do this, you’ll need to engage your lower back muscles, pressing your chest down will make your hips and legs rise so you’re level, and more efficient, in the water. A coach or friend on deck can give you feedback about your body position. Lower back exercises, like this, are useful companions.
Another good strategy to practice is the head up/water polo technique. Even though it’s an exaggeration of the sighting you’d typically use,practicing the technique will strengthen trapezius muscles so you’ll tire less quickly. For 25 meters, swim with head out, facing forward, back arched, using a faster than normal stroke and kick rate. Then, swim regular freestyle on the way back, sighting every fourth or fifth stroke by using the downward pressure just after the catch phase of your stroke to lift your eyes for a forward glance. Alternate lengths between water polo freestyle and freestyle with sighting.
The most powerful cyclist, the person pushing megawatts, is not always the fastest performer, loads of other factors play into performance. Skills like optimal cadence, body position over various terrain, and efficient gearing are usually best trained by a coach or group on the road. Velocity bridges that gap, giving triathletes the opportunity to work on those strategies in the comfort of their own home. The app features live instructors who not only oversee personalized, science-backed workouts, they are also experts in advanced cycling skills. So you’re not just a brawnier cyclist, you’re a better cyclist, and that translates to faster times on the bike and fresher legs on the run.
To minimize the boredom of indoor training and increase the fun, Velocity lets you see and friend other rider’s video streams. The workouts also have mini competitions built in to hone specific skills and encourage some competitive fun. Indoor tech bonus? You can see other riders’ data in real time, so your numbers have context.
This winter, if you take advantage of indoor training properly, you’re going to emerge from the basement a fit, skilled, and race-ready beast.