How triathletes ride inside

Savvy multisport athletes do much of their cycling indoors. Ready to join the revolution?

Triathletes can be considered master multi-taskers—not only do they juggle three different disciplines, but they make sure to split their training between indoor and outdoor workouts, particularly when it comes to their ever-important cycling leg. "Top-level triathletes will absolutely do indoor rides, even when it's nice out," says Kai Karlstrom, a Tier 4 trainer in Chicago who is competing for Team USA at the Sprint Distance Triathlon World Championships in London this September.

It can be hard to resist fresh air and sunshine but taking shelter has its upsides. But you still need to make sure your indoor rides are preparing you for success on the open road. To simulate the real deal, pay particular attention to fit. "People should get fit on their own road bike—that is a must," says Karlstrom. "You should know relatively how that feels and then you should be able to recreate that on a spin bike. It's going to take some trial and error."

Karlstrom also advises getting into your outdoor position. "It's advisable for triathletes to train in aero position indoors, since they'll have to sit in aero position in a race. It's all about specificity, so regardless of there not being any wind indoors, it's useful for them to create adaptations in that position."

Use these three interval workouts, designed by Karlstrom, to improve your cycling speed and endurance. Follow this guide to gauging your effort, with your rate of perceived exertion falling on a scale of 1 to 10: Zone 1 (RPE of <2); Zone 2 (RPE 2-4); Zone 3 (RPE 4-5); Zone 4 (RPE 6-8); Zone 5 (RPE 8-10); Zone 6 (max).

Workout 1
Warm-up:15 to 20 minutes to loosen up, with some accelerations to pre-load the system
Main Set: 3x (5 minutes in Z4, 2 minutes in Z5, 3 minutes in Z4, 2 minutes in Z5) w/ a 10-minute easy spin recovery between each set
Cool-down: 20 to 35 minutes in Z2/3

Workout 2
Warm-up: 15 minutes to loosen up, then 5x1-minute spin-ups to 100 RPM or more, followed by 1 minute easy spin then 5 minutes easy
Main Set: 2x (8x2 minutes at Z4 w/ 1 minute easy spin recovery) w/ 5 minutes easy between each set
Cool-down: 20 to 35 minutes in Z2/3

Workout 3

Warm-up: 10 to 15 minutes running with strides and drills. Then onto the bike for 5 to 10 minutes easy spin in Z2/3.
Main Set: 2 to 3x's through the following:
Bike - 15 minutes at race pace/intensity. Use last 90 seconds to prep for the run: easy spin and stretching.
Run - 1-mile run off the bike in upper Z4. Try to pace the effort.
Cool-down: 20 to 30 minutes easy spin in Z1/2