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Embrace the Pain (Cave)

September 10, 2019 - With the winter months quickly approaching and your training moving indoors, check some tips for creating a workout environment that you WANT to be in!

 Winter will be here soon for many of us. <insert heavy sigh> That means the start of the “dark, cold and wet” season in much of North America.  Many triathletes dread this time of year because it brings hours spent in a dark basement riding a trainer to nowhere, or running on a treadmill feeling like some oversized hamster. It might lead to many of us skipping workouts entirely in favor of our comfortable couches.  It is common to hear from many triathletes that they hate training indoors.  However, this is the wrong attitude to have and I want to change your mind.  Although triathlon racing is obviously a sport that is contested in the summer, it is the Winter when growth is created.  The work you do in the Winter (when your competition is having their “off-season”) will pay off with dividends come race season.  But, how do you motivate yourself for yet another indoor session?  If the thought of setting a massive PR next season isn’t enough, the answer is to make your “pain cave” a place you *want* to spend your time. 


During indoor training, everyone has their own way of dealing with the fact that they are going nowhere.  It may take some experimentation to find the thing that makes it work for you.  For some, simply listening to music is enough to power through.  Others prefer to let their brain do some work as well, so they listen to podcasts.  Personally, I prefer to watch episodes of “guilty pleasure” TV shows.  Netflix, Hulu, etc are a wonderful thing for this.  I just put on whatever show I would otherwise binge-watch from my couch, but instead, I do so while riding my bike or running on my treadmill.  It becomes almost a “treat” to be able to watch some old TV shows, and I find myself looking forward to doing it.  Not because I necessarily want to be riding for hours without moving, but because doing so allows me to indulge in an old movie or show I would otherwise not make the time to watch. 


Sometimes entertainment isn’t enough, however.  It also can help to decorate your pain cave with whatever motivates you.  Old bibs, race medals, and/or inspirational sayings are a great way to keep you focused.  I don’t tend to keep my race bibs because by the end of a race they are usually wrecked and disgusting, but I did keep a few from special races.  I have those taped to the wall above my TV.  At first, I thought it was a silly thing to do, but when the workout starts getting tough, I do, in fact, find myself staring at those bibs and drawing some inspiration from them. Being able to look at those mementos can instantly transport you back to that moment when all this training was worth it.


Winter training time is important, but it doesn’t have to be boring.  Set yourself up for success next season by setting up your indoor workout space in a way that makes you actually want to use it.

-Gaby Levinson

Triathlon Coach with AJ Baucco Coaching LLC

AJ Baucco Coaching is world class triathlon coaching for age group athletes of all ability levels. We specialize in Full Service Triathlon Coaching, but we also create Focused Training Plans for athletes that like a more hands off approach. Feel free to contact us with any questions or to set up an informational phone call.

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