Indoor Training & Fighting Old Man Winter.

Well, it seems that I waited just a little too long to post on this particular topic since the weather finally has broken this week!! (fingers crossed that we’ve truly turned the corner and that this is the case…)

As I write, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the temperatures are rising, and the mounds of snow are slowly melting and disappearing down my driveway. Nevertheless, the fact that we’ve been enduring one of the coldest winters on record, and still have feet and feet of snow on the ground has not been lost to distant memory or will be easily forgotten. Neither is the fact that my days of actually getting outside for some bike rides is still a couple weeks away.

And here is when the choices in athletic goals and my region of residence (Northeastern U.S.) collide. If you’ve been reading a long with my blog, you will know that I started training for my race schedule in Mid-December. If you live in the Northeast, you also know that our weather turned very cold about the same time and really did not ever return to a ‘normal’ winter. (I was also reminded of this weekly by my lovely pipes continuing to freeze in my house and all the fun that was had with that… but I digress.) Despite the fact that we’ve had a gnarly winter, I’ve been putting in the time swimming, biking and running. This means miles and miles in the pool, on my bike trainer, and on the treadmill. Only a few weekends did I decide to bundle up and brace the elements for my long runs to help me prepare for my upcoming half marathon.

Most people can think of nothing worse than lap after lap, minute after minute, and mile after mile in the pool, on the trainer, or the “dreadmill” training. In the past, I was right there along with everyone else, complaining about how boring it was, how awfully painful, and long the workouts were. However, a funny thing has happened. It started last year, where I actually didn’t really mind the treadmill SO much because I found I was rarely just jumping on and running a steady pace for the entire time. I was going through challenging workouts with my heart rate training that varied my HR and speed during the time and I actually looked forward to my runs indoors. Swimming started to become more fun because I was setting pace and endurance goals. And this year, I’ve found I actually don’t mind being on the bike trainer – in part due to the challenges of playing with my power meter and hitting my targets throughout the workout.I am starting to appreciate the indoor workouts as tools for building strength and preparing for hill climbing. Also, there is the fact that you have to remain focused on the task at hand and mentally tough which is key when you start getting into longer endurance events. In fact, I was actually happy and excited for my long brick sessions indoors the past two weekends.

Yes, it may be time to have me taken for a mental check up… but in all seriousness, I am learning that it really takes understanding why you are doing a certain workout, the benefits obtained, and a little creativity to make this whole winter training bit not so bad. (Although I know I will be VERY happy to finally bust back outside on my bike. I do still prefer the ability to enjoy the scenery and coast down hills over staring at the wall and constantly trying to hit my cadence and power goals!)

If you are looking for some ways to mix up your own training indoors, here are a few tips and examples of workouts (Note, I am not a coach or a medical professional… these are just a few things that I do to bust boredom and I have found that work for me…):

Swimming:

  • Sets of descending 50s or 100s – try to do a set or two of 4×100 yds or 10x50s – swim the first one at a comfortable pace and then try to swim each subsequent 100 or 50 faster than your prior.
  • Swim ladders – figure out the distance you want to swim, do a warm up then start building: 50 yds, 100 yds, 150 yds, 200 yds, 150 yds, 100 yds, 50 yds – before you know it you’ve done your distance needed and started to build endurance too.

Biking:

  • Warm up for 15 minutes, then vary 10 minutes at a faster pace/cadence, 10 minutes slower pace/cadence/harder gear, alternate for desired time and then cool down for last 5-10 minutes. If you have a HR monitor or a power meter and know your numbers some more fine tuning can be accomplished.
  • You can also do sections of sustained pace (20-30 minutes), and mix in tougher intervals of 2-3 minutes with 1 minute rest in between (15 minute block), return to sustained pace before cooling down again.

Running:

  • Warm up for 10 minutes, alternate easy pace and faster pace efforts for 1-3 minutes for 20 minutes, cool down.
  • Play treadmill roulette – let your music decide what pace, speed and time you spend for each interval. I found this workout a couple years ago and love to use it when I am not feeling overly motivated to run.

If you want more ideas or to grab some workouts from actual coaches… check out these links: Indoor bike training:

http://www.bicycling.com/

http://triathlon.competitor.com/

http://www.usatriathlon.org/

http://www.active.com/cycling/

http://www.ironman.com/triathlon-news/articles/

And indoor treadmill training:

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/

http://www.active.com/triathlon/

http://triathlon.competitor.com/

Happy training!! Now for a recap of my workouts from the past 2 weeks:

Weekly Workouts//

Week 1:

Monday – Day Off

Tuesday – Bike 90 minutes, Hill Climbs

Wednesday – 2000 yd Swim & 30 minute Run

Thursday – 2400 yd Swim

Friday – 50 Minute Base Run

Saturday – First Brick of the Season! Bike: 2 hrs, 40 min/Run: 20 min

Sunday – 1 hr, 20 min Endurance Run

Week 2:

Monday – Day Off

Tuesday – Bike 55 minutes, Power Test

Wednesday – 2500 yd Swim

Thursday – 60 Minute Run – with Speed Work

Friday – 3000 yd Swim

Saturday – Brick Session – Bike: 3 hrs/Run: 30 min

Sunday – 1 hr, 30 min Endurance Run

Photos//

My ride got a sweet upgrade – seriously it’s the little things in life, like new bar tape that make me smile!

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The official unveiling of our Team Betty kits was last week – will be rocking this on the course this year!

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Another gorgeous sunset in ENY.

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Post outdoor run… trying to get my body used to pounding the pavement again. On this particular Sunday that meant facing 20 degree temps, wind and snow…

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SU Game with some friends!

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Getting crafty – whipped this one up sans pattern. Sometimes, when something like this actually turns out as envisioned, I impress myself. (I’d had the fabric for almost 3 years and finally just went for it.)

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Flashback to Tour de Cure in Saratoga last year and my first century ride – Tour de Cure used this photo of me and the two women that I rode with last year on one of their FB promos this week!

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Winner, winner chicken dinner! I was so pumped to win these earrings last week! They’re from Heather who makes jewelry in Albany, NY – you should check out her awesome designs and her Etsy shop!

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A little post-run icing. Just one of the things I am trying to keep up with to stay injury free to the start (and finish) line of Ironman Lake Placid!

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Bronco has become very close with my bike… lots of cuddle time in the car. 🙂

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Got to love when you receive a message like this.One of the best girls nights ever!

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More craftiness. Finally wrapped up this beauty.

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My new kicks for the 2015 season – finally ran through last year’s sneakers. Looking forward to rocking these! (And pretty awesome that they match our Betty Kits!)

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Well, hope you’re all having an awesome week and hopefully getting to enjoy this little break in the weather – here’s to hoping that spring is finally here!!

Cheers!

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