For the majority of triathletes, or polar bears, for that matter, this winter has been one of the most challenging on record. Unless you're fortunate enough to live in a more temperate climate, snow — not to mention wind, ice and bone-numbing cold — has turned bike training into a question of survival.
While there are plenty of great ways to burn calories, train muscles and build stamina during winter, there is no substitute for "getting specific" going into spring. To have fun and get the most out of the first race of the season, you need to log consistent miles on your bike right now, so that your muscles will know what’s expected of them on race day. And there is no substitution for the real thing, particularly for triathlon newcomers.
But with the usual routes blocked by drifts or rendered unusable by icy ruts, triathletes have had to retreat indoors to prepare for the season. Indoor training comes with a couple of common complaints: heat and boredom. Both obstacles can be overcome with a little creativity:
- To help address over-heating, reach for synthetic cycling clothing rather than the traditional cotton T-shirts and shorts. At a minimum, wear cycling shorts with a proper chamois to avoid chaffing and assure a comfortable seated position.
- Always make sure you have 16 to 20 ounces of fluids for each hour riding indoors. A good suggestion is to have one bottle with sports drink and one with water for longer rides.
- Invest in a portable fan and park it in front of your indoor bike.
- For motivation, join a spin class to take advantage of the group dynamic. Classes can be found free of charge at health clubs and offer the opportunity to suffer with 20 or so of your closest friends.
- If you just can’t drag yourself to the gym, throw in a movie or create a motivational playlist for your iPod. Just put your mettle to the pedal and get going. Spring will be here before you can say “vernal equinox.”
Indoor Bike Workout
- 60-minutes, preceded by 10 to 15 minute progressive warm-up
- 4-6 “big gear” repetitions at a low pedaling cadence — 3 to 5 minutes each at an intensity level of 7 or 8 out of 10.
- 2-3 minutes of recovery spinning between each interval.
- 5-10 minute cool down spin
Zoom Performance is a professional endurance coaching company working with athletes from beginner triathletes to Ironman World Championship qualifiers. Certified coaches provide customized programs along with metabolic testing, bike fit, one-on-one analysis, clinics, and sports nutrition programs to allow athletes to take it to the next level. Find out more information at www.getzoomperformance.com. Where your success is our goal!