The Indoor Training Revolution – Go Like A Pro!

Over the last few years, there has been an explosion of indoor training methods and technological leaps that have made triathlon training more accessible than ever. Is indoor training solely for the colder months or can it be integrated into your regular training plan to maximise gains?

Are you confused as to where to start with it all or do you just want to make sure you’re on the right track? Don’t worry as you’re not alone. We contacted one of the best in the industry, Triathlon Canada’s Head Coach Jono Hall, to explain how indoor training can sit within your regime.

So Jono, when the conditions are just too extreme to get outside, what is the key to success?

One thing about living through a Canadian, or any Northern Hemisphere winter, is that you’ll need to train indoors. If I am prescribing indoor training, then I need to be creative to make it exciting and worthwhile. With regularly updated technology and web-based platforms, it is easier than ever to find something to do while running on the treadmill or riding the home trainer.

Does indoor training have a specific benefit?

The specific benefits are related to the mental toughness needed to complete longer or more intense workouts. The training benefits are similar, but it is more mentally taxing when indoors. It can also be easier to achieve the required outcomes indoors rather than outdoors. For example, if I prescribe a set of 4 x 4min @400watts, the session is the same both indoors and outdoors, but it may be easier to achieve indoors due to traffic and other influences.

Can indoor training completely replace outdoor training?

To a point, yes, but the one thing you cannot replicate indoors is the skill component of riding or running. I am a massive believer in skill acquisition. We have all seen athletes who can produce the numbers on the trainer or treadmill, but when you put a corner in front of them on race day, they can’t even get close.

You will succeed best when it is combined with outdoor training. My approach has always been to up-skill before the winter to ensure that the athlete is prepared before they spend long periods training indoors. Skills are not just about performance but also crucial for safety.

How do you get the best bang for your buck out of indoor training?

Intensity is the low hanging fruit for indoor training. Short, intense sessions with a clear purpose are best – then you can just dial them in and execute.

You should also periodically check to make sure what you are doing indoors transfers to outdoors so we can match indoor training with outdoor specific preparation.

Do you think the evolution of indoor training has improved the triathlon experience?

Without a doubt. Indoor training can be the decider between people being able to train and compete or not. Indoor training is not exclusively used in winter or because of environmental challenges, it can be time constraints with work, or family, or location.

What are the key things to remember when training indoors?

5 Indoor Training Tips
  1. Remember to drink more fluids as you’ll get hotter and sweat more!
  2. Try to simulate the position on the trainer that you would use outside on the bike
  3. The treadmill does a considerable amount of the work for you and treadmill speeds can be way off
  4. Run with a power meter like Stryd and you can compare sessions easily
  5. Don’t lose the social side of the sport; a lot of us get into triathlon for the social and outdoor lifestyle

So what’s the final word on the indoor training world?

I’d say training indoors certainly makes you appreciate the chance to get outdoors when it finally comes!

Jono Hall knows all there is to know about finding the balance between indoor sessions and outdoor workouts. Implement the above advice and don’t be afraid to switch it up to amplify your training and get more bang for your buck whenever you train!

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