Indoor Training

[caption id="attachment_4621" align="alignright" width="275" caption="Riding Indoors Can Be Boring But Effective"]bike_trainer_triathlon[/caption] We are about to enter the cold months of winter and that typically means all training will be brought indoors.  I am not a fan of indoor training.  I do not enjoy spending mindless hours on the treadmill or the bike trainer.  Yes, there are very good reasons for using them but I still prefer to be outside and one with nature. If my training calls for speed work running I will head to the track and get it done there.  Very rarely will I ever run on a treadmill.  I find it boring and many people say that you develop mental strength during that but I would argue that as you are running up and down hills or around a track repeatedly you are developing race day mental strength.  At no point during a race will you jump on a treadmill and run mile after mile. How is the mental strength developed on the treadmill going to help you when you have to finally tackle that hill that never seems to end?  If you don't run outside how will you know that feeling? As for the bike trainer I would more than likely get on that in my garage (The Humidor) for speed intervals.  The reason I will do my speed work on the bike trainer as opposed to outside is that it is not very often you can find a one or two mile stretch that has no stop signs or lights.  WIth the road turning and undulating getting the speed work in makes it more difficult than running.  With that being said though I will pack up my bike and drive to Texas Motor Speedway (right Shannon) and ride around the 5 mile track there that has no stop lights and is typically car free. It should come as no surprise that in the past week I have come across two articles about running on the treadmill.  One article points out the psychological factor of getting outside versus training indoors.  The other article is about new technology that can make running on the treadmill more bearable because it allows you to feel as if you are outdoors while running in a climate controlled room. The article discussing the psychological benefits of running outdoors versus running on a treadmill can be found [HERE.]  The author (James Fell) points out that there are a deluge of studies that indicate that there is not much of a difference found in physiological results from running on a treadmill versus running outside.  The difference, according to the author, comes from the psychological.  The whole mental strength on a treadmill theory seems to get debunked in this article.  Here is an excerpt:

Research backs me up on this. A 2004 study from Duke University's department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences found some telling evidence that convinces me that I'm not actually crazy when I lace up my running shoes at minus-20 degrees Fahrenheit. After testing and interviewing 60 runners in different environments, the researchers found that the people who ran outside ran faster than the people who ran on treadmills, yet they had lower perceived exertion and the "highest levels of positive engagement, revitalization, tranquillity, and course satisfaction," according to the study, which was published in Psychology of Sport & Exercise.

In other words, the people outside like it more and work harder without realizing it. I should note that the tests were conducted during warm weather, but I'm confident that similar results could be expected once a person has become acclimatized to all-weather running. Then I read this article [click here] on the 3GO Magazine website.  This is a great idea and comes on the heels of having looked into Trainer Road.  These two products look great, but for me will not be a substitute for riding or running outside. What are these products you are asking yourself.  They are interactive ways to run on a treadmill or ride on the trainer that are meant to mimic the outdoor experience and provide you with data on your heart rate (running) or power (riding.)  These are terrific ways to judge where you are at in your fitness. Both systems will give you instant feedback of your training session along with the view of a specific course, or you can watch a movie and still get the results posted on the screen.  It seems like this is a great way to get your training in, especially if you live in the North when there is ice and snow on the road, and find out where you are. Those boring days may be gone, but they will never replicate the feeling of being outside with nature and hearing the sounds that come from the birds or the wind.  

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Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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