As we head into winter months, many athletes across the country are faced with less than ideal conditions for running and cycling outdoors. Colder temperatures, icy roads and shorter/darker days are a few of the reasons why athletes use the winter months to retreat to indoor training. While the treadmill and trainer are often met with a bit of dread and resistance, we’ve collected a number of ways to keep motivation high and workouts interesting as the miles shift indoors this winter.
1. Workout with a “challenge partner”
We all have runner/cycling friends that are hard to keep up with during regular outdoor workouts. This winter, plan a few gym visits with your challenge partner and snag two treadmills or trainers next to each other at the gym. This allows for workouts alongside a partner who can push you outside of your comfort zone. Run or cycle together to a timed interval workout (sprint for 1 minute vs. 400m) so that you and your challenge partner are on the same workout cadence.
2. Plan workouts to your favorite playlists
One of the up-sides to a treadmill/trainer workout is the ability to completely control your conditions. Plan ahead by arranging your favorite 45-60 minute indoor training playlist (here’s ours!), making sure to mix faster tempo songs with more mellow tunes. When the tempo of the song changes up, adjust your pace and effort to match it. This will result in a mixed workout of maintenance miles, tempo pushes and fartlek efforts. The frequent fluctuation and focus on your music will help the workout fly by!
3. Binge-watch a show
We love a good multi-tasking opportunity! Indoor distance workouts are the perfect excuse to binge on the latest television series/podcast that you’ve been meaning to catch up on. During one of your winter training months, set out a goal to run or bike to the entirety of a series. Episode cliffhangers provide extra motivation to return to the treadmill/trainer.
4. Mimic your race course
There’s nothing better for preparation than having the chance to run your race course pre race day. But this is not always a possibility (physical distance and winter weather conditions are two preventatives). As an alternative, indoor trainers are a great option for controlling speed and elevation over the course of a certain distance. Start by studying your course map and understanding where along the course you will face elevation changes & challenges. Bring those numbers to the trainer and mimic your course terrain while also testing goal pace along the way. The focus on actual course challenges will help to negate the monotony.
5. Game-ify your training
If you’re really looking to upgrade your indoor training, consider game-ifying your miles. Programs like Zwift will track your performance on the trainer or treadmill and translate your efforts into a competitive game environment. Plugging in with thousands of other gamers on the same course adds a group ride/run element to your indoor training.
Bonus tip: follow MittenRunner's lead and get in the holiday spirit with a #merrymill!
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