4 tips to boost (mental) indoor training tolerance!

February 20th 2019

By Matt Hill
Categories: Triathlon Training

4 tips to boost (mental) indoor training tolerance!

Indoor training, “Yuck”! We hear a lot of you say…

We know that most people prefer to be outside riding their bikes, training in the open air, and taking in the views. However, this isn’t always possible (like in the winter months) and isn’t always the most effective way of training.

Indoor training – on turbos, ergo bikes, spin bikes, treadmills, etc – can provide much more bang-for-your-buck. Bike indoor training should be a triathlete’s primary focus throughout the week, getting in quality mileage without the disturbance and danger of the outdoor world.

It just seems boring.

Focusing on the bike (but the tips work equally well for indoor running, too), here are some tips for changing your view on these sessions going forwards.

1.Change your mindset!

If you are all aspiring triathletes, you need to realise just how important indoor training is. Training indoors is so much more effective than training outdoors because the session can be controlled.

You can control pretty much everything when it comes to indoor training – duration, resistance, cadence, effort, even room temperature! Whereas, outdoors you have traffic, incline/declines, corners, etc.

Realise that training indoors (swimming (obviously in a pool), cycling and running) are the secret weapon of the pro’s, they train exactly how they need to by controlling their sessions – indoors.

PLUS, you can ride your race bike ALL. YEAR. ROUND! Allowing you to get accustomed to being aero.

2. Know your ranges

Training to levels (effort, heart rate, power, etc) means you have ranges. Knowing your range within each level means you can play with the session content. For example, one of our athletes may have a heart rate range of 118-147bpm to be in level 2.

This person has a range to work with and could alter resistance and cadence to change their position in the range – 60 rpm in a bigger gear or 70rpm in a lighter gear can result in the same heart rate.

Use your data to your advantage – to make indoor training sessions more interesting.

3. Perfect your hydration / fuelling strategy

Refer back to point 1; you can control everything – including your hydration / fuelling strategy. It is an ideal time to practice and perfect your intake – experimenting with brands, quantities and intervals. If you plan to use the brands supplied by the race organisers in your A race, buy this in advance and get used to it.

By the time you get to race day, you should know what works for you and exactly how it will be used.

4. Set up your entertainment correctly

The first thing people do when buying an indoor trainer or head to a gym with training bike, is make sure there is some sort of digital entertainment. Positioning themselves in front of a TV, connecting to Wi-Fi, setting up the laptop for training apps, etc.

This can often help alleviate the “boredom” associated with indoor training – although now realising point 1 and implementing point 2 and 3, it shouldn’t be as big a problem! Just make sure that your form of entertainment is positioned in the best location.

When you come to racing (outdoors), you are going to need to be looking forwards to see where you are going! Therefore, for specificity reasons, you want your entertainment positioned so you are looking forwards, not down. Train with your head down and come race day and the days following, your neck muscles are NOT going to be your friends!


Indoor training – on a turbo, spin bike or other ergo bikes – IS very beneficial to a triathlete’s fitness development and will make your weekly schedule more manageable.

It can seem boring at times!

But, with the realisation it is the most efficient way to fitness, knowing your ranges and playing with the session (cadences and resistances) while practicing your hydration and fuelling the session will fly by.

If desired, set up a TV / laptop for more entertainment, just make sure its angled so you are looking forwards – like you would be in a race.

Just don’t go to the extreme and only train indoors! If you neglect to ride outdoors, you’ll not keep on top of your bike handling skills. 1 longer ride each week outside is enough (and often all people can commit to anyway), indoor training 2-3 more times per week will keep you developing!