Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Why trainer and treadmill work are (in my opinion) important to any good training program...

There, I said it.  The boring, mind numbing, OH-MY-GOSH-THIS-WORKOUT-IS-NEVER-GOING-TO-END, work that involves a treadmill or a bicycle trainer (better known as dreadmill and drainer, muahahahahaha) is important to a triathlon training program in my opinion.  With winter setting in for the Northern Hemisphere, many of us relegate ourselves to hours of indoor riding/running.  Despite the mindsuck that is trainer riding/ or treadmill running, this is something that is an important piece of the triathlon puzzle for me.  Here's why:

No breaks, unless I take them.
When I'm out for a ride on the road, even on the flats, I can get to a point where I can stop pedaling and coast for a bit.  Not true on the trainer.  If I stop pedaling, the trainer stops.  Constantly pedaling, constant effort.  It's the same on a treadmill.
Of course, there are the breaks that I take... More on this in my next blog post...

Increased resistance... (trainer)
I've found that it takes more effort to push those pedals a similar distance when my bike is properly installed on the the trainer.  And, depending on the model of the trainer, I might even be able to increase the resistance even more.
Increased speed... (treadmill)
I've found out how fast I can really go under controlled circumstances, leading to greater gains in the wild.  Ideally.
Unsolicited advice:
The biggest thing here is if you are running this seriously that you care about times and gains and are keeping track of your miles, you should consider investing in a high quality gps heart rate monitor.  One that can keep track of your mileage inside and out.  The reason here is that I started to discover inconsistencies between treadmills and their speeds.  The key is that I calibrated my gps monitor about two weeks after I buy every  new pair of shoes. I'll post more about that later this month.

You can keep it where you want it for as long as you want it.  Well, if your legs hold out!!!  Thanks to tougholdbuzzard for pointing out this one, you can keep your cadence where you want it for a specified amount of time.  Combined with resistance, this makes for a MEAN workout!  This goes for both the bike and the treadmill. No dodging or running from dogs, cars, geese, or snakes (Texas, remember?)  I seem to remember my running and cycling mentors nagging me to keep my cadence high for both cycling and running, and, well, my training still reflects that teaching.  So, depending on what metric you use for training, cadence can be an important factor.  It's one of the few that I look at on a post run analysis (distance, speed, time, cadence:  that's it)

Inclement weather...
Pretty obvious here.  But what sends one person indoors may just be another day on the course for another...

The pros do it...
 Do I need any other reason?  Okay, so I'm kidding.  But, the pros do it. Companies that make money producing indoor workout videos for cycling make a big point of counting how many of the podium winners at each big race use their videos.  Lately I've been hearing more and more about treadmill videos!  But pros don't typically do useless workouts.  And as I get more and more educated about the elements of workouts the pros do and why, I'm adapting my workouts as well.

I want to point out that I'm not saying take ALL your workouts indoors.  I'm saying that I think I should do a few workouts a week indoors, and that I think treadmills and trainers are valuable to a triathlon training program the way that a race belt is to a marathoner.  Valuable, probably helpful, but not necessary.

There are many more reasons...  I'll update my blog post as readers give me some great reasons.

Why do YOU take your workout indoors, and why do you believe it's a necessary part of any good training program?


  1. The good thing about the trainer is you can keep your cadence where you want it for as long as you want. You don't have to break up your ride with road hazards like lights and dumb, distracted drivers. I have always said you take a drivers test to get a license not a IQ test! As for the treadmill I could take it or leave it. I gave it a shot but outdoors is for me.I can see the benefit of it's use. The key is to keep moving during the winter months indoor or outdoor.

  2. Thanks, tougholdbuzzard! Your comments are always so great! The post has been updated to include your insight!

  3. I hate the trainer. did i say hate? HATE!!!

  4. I know the feeling Anon! There are definitely those days where I dread indoor workouts and will whine and complain until I can find a way to get outdoors! I think your comments have spurred a new blog post...