Hate indoor training? Keep an open mind, embrace the challenge, and you’ll eventually start enjoying it
Indoor training, especially running on the treadmill, can be a dreadful task for a lot of multisport athletes. Enjoying the sun and the vast outdoors is, after all, why you joined such a sport in the first place.
Yes, nothing beats riding or running outdoors, I’ll give you that. Staying cooped up can be boring, but hear me out.
Despite all the disdain about covering miles without leaving your home, there are definitely advantages to it. Time efficiency, controlled environments, and safety are just a few of the benefits of hopping on your trainer or hamster wheel. However, we’re not here to point out why you should include indoor training in your program. Instead, we’re here to show you how you can endure the task at hand.
Okay, this is pretty obvious right? Well, yes and no. It’s pretty apparent that keeping your attention fixated on a screen can help pass time; however, the type of show you watch also matters.
From experience, watching movies can be distracting as it requires a lot of mental bandwidth. There are times when I’m in such discomfort that I can no longer catch the plot, moreso the little details, of a movie that I end up losing interest in it.
Instead, I like to watch shorter segments like “Saturday Night Live,” late-night talk shows, and even music videos. These have the advantage of being “dispensable.” If you forget what happened five minutes ago, it’s easy to start over with a clean slate.
Tip: I like to plan out my show schedule for the workout. I start off with the longer segments that interest me the most and end with segments that either feature a lot of music, or don’t need a lot of attention. That way, I’m able to enjoy the shows I like when I’m not too tired.
When we were younger (or maybe until now), video games were a popular pastime. We’d spend hours in front of the computer and eventually lose track of time. Luckily, this is still something we can do while on the trainer or treadmill.
Apps such as Zwift and Rouvy tap into your competitive nature as a multisport athlete. Instead of aimlessly pedaling or stomping away, you can now interact with people from all over the world. Not only can you “race” with these users, you can also set personal goals such as reaching the top of the leaderboard for a KOM (King of the Mountain) segment.
Various events and challenges are also up for grabs on these platforms. The best part is, if you have a smart trainer or smart bike, resistance and gradient are simulated by the app so it feels as if you’re actually riding outdoors (well, almost, anyway).
Tip: Try out different apps to see what you like best. There are apps that simulate riding outdoors via actual video segments, or you can choose an avatar and ride imaginary routes. There are even apps that just guide you through workouts without any bells or whistles.
Do the math
Sometimes, turning on the TV or radio isn’t a viable option. But there’s still a way to survive the workout ahead of you. Again, as with the previous tips, it’s all about keeping the mind busy. And nothing keeps the mind busier than a little mental arithmetic. I know I’m starting to geek out here, but give it a chance. It’s better than staring into a blank wall or dare I say, skipping the workout.
Personally, I like to divide the workout into time segments. For example, for a 1.5-hour workout, I aim for six sets of 15 minutes and compute my way through each set. I focus on the set I’m in and see what percentage I’m at within that segment.
Yes, it sounds confusing, but that’s the point. It’s to keep your mind preoccupied such that you lose track of time and pain.
Tip: Mix things up. Sometimes I’d divide it into 15-minute or 30-minute segments. The effort I put in is also a variable in the equation. For harder efforts, I like to keep the mental segments shorter so I’m able to trick myself into soldiering on to each milestone.
Work out with friends
Misery loves company. This is certainly true in the endurance circle. We like to experience (and conquer) challenges with our closest friends. And in a pandemic where social distancing has become the norm, we yearn for more social interaction.
This is a great way of staying in touch and keeping fit as well. Think of it as a way of keeping each other accountable. You can also imagine that whoever is absent from the session is probably the main topic.
Tip: Group classes on platforms such as Zoom are a great way of staying fit. Sometimes, it’s nice to see what other people are doing and in doing so, you stay motivated. Understanding that you’re not the only one suffering or sweating it out will definitely keep you focused on the task at hand.
To wrap things up, let me say that indoor training is not something you should frown upon or completely avoid. There are times when it’s necessary and unavoidable (e.g. lockdowns, typhoons, etc.). But apart from that, there are huge advantages to making it a part of your weekly routine.
There’s one thing you should remember though: It’s only as difficult as you think it is. Keep an open mind, embrace the challenge, and I guarantee you that you’ll eventually start enjoying it.
Have some training questions, feedback or suggestions for future articles? Drop a note in the comments section below or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You can also get in touch with Don directly here.