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  • Writer's picturePatrick Griffith

The Advantages of Indoor Training

You haven’t seen the sun in months, it’s cold and the roads are covered in ice. Welcome to the Midwest! During the early parts of the year we are often forced into pain caves where sweat and the dreaded treadmill or bike trainer await. If you are like many athletes, this time of the year can seem more tedious to get workouts in and lack of motivation can be at an all-time high. Indoor training is an essential piece to your routine in order for your fitness to be ready to tackle the outdoors and early season racing. 

​Indoor training is the ultimate way to maximize time. It requires very little travel and often requires less training time to get the same effects on fitness. When training outdoors stoplights, water stops, and shoe tying breaks can alter the workout. During indoor training you are forced to continue running or cycling consistently requiring less time for workouts. Indoor training is also a great way to work on shorter speed and power that will develop your base training more efficiently during the early training phases. As boring as a straight line can be it forces the body to maintain a constant speed giving your muscles and brain a set parameter to work at. Working at high speeds or watts for short periods of time can alter your anaerobic threshold and increase your overall fitness for longer intervals down the road. No matter what distance you are training for, using your anaerobic system is important to maintain a strong and efficient body. 

Another benefit of indoor training is the ability to strengthen mental toughness. Indoor training often lacks the distractions that outdoor training provides. Focusing on how your body is feeling and moving often creates a greater perceived exertion. Having the ability to control how your brain responds to increased perceived exertion is essential to conquer the low periods during races. Central nervous system fatigue is often the cause of low points during races. Getting into an uncomfortable mental state will allow your mind to get stronger allowing your body to continue working at a high level for a longer period of time. The best athletes are often the ones who can control how their brain reacts to high levels of exertion. Strengthening this system will allow you to take your racing to the next level.

Finally, indoor training is a great way to enhance a race specific environment. Dealing with low or high temperatures during races is important to allow your body to get accustomed to the environment that you will be racing in. Cranking up the heat during indoor training allows the body to efficiently adapt to a heated environment. If your racing calls for a colder environment getting a few fans blasting in the pain cave can allow the body to adapt to the colder environment. Elevation is also another adaptable environment that works well for indoor training. Cranking up the incline on a treadmill or working simulated climbs for cycling are both ways that create your training to be race specific. No matter what your racing environment will be in the upcoming months it is always important to try to allow your body to adapt to the stresses that you will see during big races.

Although nothing beats the fresh air and scenic view of the trails. Adopting some of the benefits that indoor training provides can help you get to the early season start line in peak fitness. As the spring races start to approach your indoor training will be a cornerstone in your early season success. Not only will your fitness be improved, your mental strength and confidence will also be at an all-time high. Now crank up the music and get after it! 

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