'Tis the Season (For Indoor Training)

Upon waking this morning, the weather forecast on the morning news show informed me that it was 12F (with a 'real feel' of -2F).  Combined with truckloads of snow and ice, it looks like it's another day on the indoor trainer or treadmill.  Yep, it's winter in the northeast, and 'tis the season for indoor workouts on the treadmill and bike trainer - AKA the dreadmill and brain drainer.

This isn't to say that I'm opposed to running or riding outdoors during the winter.  I've been outdoors to get in a workout numerous times this winter with my usual running crew and rode quite a bit outdoors last winter.  But, heading out the front door when it's below freezing to run is not my favorite thing to do at 515 AM.  I know there are a number of people out there who live in areas where it's much colder than this and get out to run and ride......my hat goes off to them.  I guess as I get older my threshold for suffering in cold temps has diminished.

It's tough for me to to get over the mental hump of accepting that getting mileage in on a treadmill is just as good as being outside.  Most of that opinion is due to the fact that there's no wind, the treadmill mat is moving and not providing the resistance you'd get on the road and, well, it's really boring.  I can't get more than 6 miles on a treadmill under my belt before losing my marbles.  Tragically I know a few folks that can get in two-plus hours on the treadmill.  Amazing.  I'd rather be outside.

A friend of mine, Joe G, wrote about running on the treadmill just recently.  It was a bit of a relief to read as I had just been on the treadmill that morning and, in addition to being bored out of my mind, was sure I was working harder, and at a faster pace, than what was represented on the on the treadmill display.  Low and behold it quite possibly was - due to the combination of a particular gyms ability to keep the equipment calibrated and a number of other factors it seems that the speed displayed on a treadmill display is very likely slower than your actual pace.  Great, another thing to factor into my indoor workouts.

As I said, my capacity to suffer through cold weather has diminished over time.  So now I deal with having to suffer through boredom (whether on the treadmill or bike trainer - both offer zero change of scenery).  I'm not sure which is worse, but the bike trainer is starting to edge ahead in the boredom factor

It doesn't matter what I do...... throwing in some "hills" and tempo / threshold repeats, watching TV, listening to tunes on my iPhone / iPod, I just can't wait to get off the damn trainer.   I put in a two hour ride on the trainer last winter - had to stop half way through for a short mental break.  The bike trainer is something that I am happy to have during the winter months, but when I'm on it, more often than not, I can't wait to get off.  Again, I'd rather be outside.

Looking at my upcoming racing calendar for 2011 I know that all I need to do is just ensure that my base mileage is well maintained over the winter - I don't need to do any crazy mileage - and I'll be able to ramp up training, distance, and time, come March and April.  Hopefully spring will come early this year.  And let's face it, the treadmill and bike trainer are part of the deal during the winter - they're both a necessity.

And as I wrap this post up, I'm about to head into the "office" for an hour or so of time on the good old brain drainer.....I mean bike trainer.  At least tomorrow will be a pool day and that will be a bit more exciting.