Indoor Triathlon cycling training. Almost everyone has to do it sometimes! Maybe its dark or raining. Maybe you don’t live near safe cycling all the time. Maybe there is 2 feet of snow on the ground. Maybe with your kids and schedule you can only workout at 11pm? (I do this often myself)
I have a new client getting set up for his first Ironman next year (in Denmark! Woohoo! T1 Triathlon is going global!) and he was asking for advice on getting set up for indoor bike training. Turned my advice to him into a post for anyone.
Here is what I recommend for a basic setup for indoor triathlon bicycle training:
- You can use your good bike, but it does get sweaty, and its a pain to put it in and take it off the trainer if you alternate between inside and outside.
- Triathlon bikes (time trial frames) can get very uncomfortable for really long trainer rides
- This is a great use for your old road bike from 8 years ago that still works but isn’t that great anymore- leave that one on the trainer!
Rear Wheel Skewer:
- Trainers eat rear wheel skewers. You don’t want to use your expensive black titanium ones that match your race wheels. You DO want to use a skewer with a round head so when you really crush it in your trainer, it wont get dented or sit weird. Something like this.
- Do not do not do not use your race tires on a trainer! Race tires are fragile little things. The LAST place they should go is on a trainer (which eats rear tires)
- I use continental gatorskins on my trainer (they are what I use on my road bike as well- They almost never flat. Not very fast, but who cares on a trainer?
- Ive never quite understood special trainer tires, unless you KNOW you will NEVER use that bike outside.
- You do NOT need to spend a lot on a trainer for triathlon! You are going to be doing a lot of slow steady training, and not a lot of hill sprints. The really expensive trainers have really high top power settings, which road cyclists use for intervals, but traithletes don’t need very often.
- The cost to those high power settings is money, and that they often have HUGE resistance jumps between gears, which make long steady workouts hard because you cant quite find the setting you want.
- I know this is heresy, but magnetic (rather than fluid) trainers work GREAT for traithlon! (And they cost less)
- If you get a magnetic trainer, be sure to pay the little bit extra for one that has a handlebar mounted resistance knob.
- Trainers I have liked:
- Watching good TV is the differnce between working out more or working out less and hating it.
- I use netflix and watch long TV series since I spend so much time doing it- West wing, the wire, and game of thrones, baby!
- If you turn on captions or subtitles you can follow the dialogue without having to deafen your whole house with the volume!
- You need a huge fan. Read that article. Think you already have one? You need more, and yours aren’t big enough. This is the one I use. I use 2 placed about 18″ from me. Yes they blow papers off my desk and make a big mess.
- You need something to keep your bike from scratching your nice floors. I use a Yoga mat.
- You need to keep your sweat off your bike, or it will become encrusted. I use this towel widget and love it.
- You need something to keep your front wheel up in the air. For bikes that come on and off the trainer, I like this one. For bikes that never come off the trainer, you can remove the front wheel entirely, and use these special stands that replace the front wheel.
A few tips for getting set up on a trainer:
- Make sure to use a lot of pressure on your rear wheel roller- screw it in pretty hard. If it squeaks, or if you spraying molten black tire goo everywhere, it is too loose. Loose trainer rollers lead to melted tires VERY fast.
- Make sure to pump up your tires to 100 psi too- low tire pressure on trainers also melts tires.
- Make sure some wind is blowing across the trainer unit itself- all that power gets turned into heat, and those resistance units can get crazy hot if you dont blow air on them
- Make sure your front wheel is level with your now-raised rear wheel, or the fit wheel feel odd
As always you can: