Treadmill and stationary bike intervals for preseason running & triathlon

It is true that the temperatures are steadily climbing here in the Northeast, however for some of you (myself included) it will take more than a couple of 45 degree days to get my bike on the road. If you are a fair weather rider or runner there is plenty that you can achieve both on the “dreadmill” and stationary bike to enhance your performance this summer and make the transition from indoor to outdoor workouts that much easier. Don’t wait for the 50 and 60 degree days to get out there, make use of what’s available indoors today and blow your competition away come race day.

In order to begin to understand the transition from your indoor workouts to outdoors you must be familiar with increasing the grade for treadmill runs or resistance level for the bike. When you jump on the treadmill for a tempo run it is essential that you must use at least a 10% grade or 1.0 incline in order to simulate a flat outdoor run otherwise you are essentially running slightly downhill. The same holds true for the bike. If you are at 0 resistance you are not preparing yourself for a true ride. So if you have not been using the incline/resistance function inside, begin by integrating this slowly to prepare you for the coming season. Start your run without an incline and bring your speed up gradually to your comfortable running pace. Once you are 5-10 minutes into your run bring the grade/incline up to 10% or 1.0 and remain there for the majority of your run, or you may modify this by using the incline for 5 minutes, then decrease it for 2 minutes and continue in this manner until your run is complete. After you are comfortable with the 10% grade for your entire run you may begin to build some hills into your training by utilizing the grade at a higher %. If you are really ambitious you may want to attempt to simulate the terrain of your favorite run loop. The added hill work will make you stronger once you get outside. You may want to ease yourself into your rides in the same progression. Begin with lite resistance to warm your legs up, then slowly begin to add more resistance as you get further into your ride or select a preprogrammed workout that will give you a variety of  terrain.

Much like developing strength in your running and cycling through hill work you may also work on your speed inside. The obvious variable in developing speed is to gradually  train faster, so once you are comfortable with running/jogging at a consistent pace you may begin to build in sprint intervals. If you are training to run faster on the treadmill, begin by warming up gradually until you reach a speed that you are comfortable maintaining  for an extended period of time (on a scale of 1-10, think somewhere around a 7), ideally with a 10% grade. Once you have found your comfortable pace begin to build in intervals at a slightly faster pace for 1-2 minutes at a time, then back down to your comfort pace for 2-5 minutes and continue in this manner for the remainder of your run. If you are on the bike begin at a comfortable spin pace, then after your warm up begin to add short sprints, pedalling as fast as possible for 15-20 seconds at a time, then back to your comfortable spin. As your fitness improves, so should the duration of your sprints on both the treadmill and the bike.

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