Raise your hand if you hate to run on a treadmill? How about doing two or more hours on spin bike? I always get some kind of grumble from the athletes I train, when I give them an indoor specific work out. There are some concerns about indoor training to be careful of; however there are plenty of advantages too. Let’s take a few moments to discuss both. We will begin with the treadmill and the advantages and disadvantages of running inside.
One of the biggest advantages to running on the treadmill is the ability to pick and maintain a constant pace. I can make myself run at a certain speed for tempo runs, even when I have no pacer. I can also choose different inclines when I want to train for a race that is hilly or has bridges. Of course you can always guarantee a run when the weather is bad, during our rainy season it is a surefire way to get in a workout.
As nice as all that sounds, there are disadvantages that we need to talk about also. The treadmill can change your stride which can cause injury long-term. You want to be careful and not run too close to the front were your arms are cramped. Also make sure to pick your feet up and not let them just drag along. Since the treadmill pulls you along it is easier than running outside so it is recommended to add 1% to the incline to simulate running on the road. However when running with an incline you must be careful to not aggravate injuries such as shin splints, Cramps or Achilles pain. Running on an incline can increase or aggravate these injuries.
On to the bike.
Spin classes seem to be very popular. Many people prefer spinning classes versus riding on the road because of the safety concerns. The spin bike injuries are usually due to poor fitting. You would want to be sure that the seat height and handlebars are set up best for you. Ask an instructor to be sure.
If you’re training for a race on a spin bike be sure you get shoes that clip into the bike pedals so you can get full rotation of the pedal
stroke. That is one disadvantage of just using the cages on the pedals is that you cannot pull up and get a full rotation of the pedal stroke. One big advantage of spinning over riding on the road is that interval training is much easier. If you want to do a controlled set interval for an hour inside it is much easier than one worrying about traffic and lights on the road.
The biggest complaint I hear about indoor training in general is how boring it is. I can understand this as someone who is used to doing the
majority of my training outside. Now with a toddler most of my training is indoors so I have to make the best of it. Some tips that I suggest are save your best TV shows and music for your indoor sessions. Find something motivating to watch on TV. For me it is usually “Amazing Race” or “Biggest Loser” and right now it is “So you think you can dance”. I create a playlist just for that dreaded treadmill run. Another trick is to change your pace every 3 min. this gives you something to think about which takes your mind off the boredom. Another option is to put a towel on the timer so you’re not just staring at a clock as the seconds ticked by. Most of all as Chris McCormack, one of the best
triathlete’s, says “embrace the suck”.