It's the end of summer in the west so we all know what that means, it’s smoky! With wildfires raging in California, southern Oregon, and many parts of Idaho, we are getting bombarded with smoke in the Sun Valley area. This has probably been one of the smokiest summers I have lived through so far. On the Gold Team, we shift practice inside if the AQI is over 60 for intervals and over 100 for distance sessions. In the past few weeks it seems like we have had more smoky days than clear ones, and these smoky days call for a lot of inside training.
Training inside can be extra boring and sometimes, time seems to be slower when doing distance workouts on the treadmill or SkiErg. After spending many hours training inside due to smoke, I have found some ways to make the time go faster. These indoor workouts are also good to do during fall when the weather hinders us from getting in the workout we desire.
My favorite inside workout is intervals on the roller ski treadmill. This luxury has become almost necessary for us in Sun Valley because of the smoke. The treadmill helps us keep the same prescribed roller ski workout without altering much more than the warm up and cool down. We generally warm up on a spin bike and or SkiErg before jumping on the treadmill to save time. I know access to a treadmill is very limited, so here are a few other activities I like to do to help pass the time in the gym while doing distance workouts.
My second favorite workout is SkiErg speeds. Warm up on the running treadmill, spin bike, and/or SkiErg, and then do 15-20 reps of 15-second speeds with 2 minutes and 45 seconds of rest. 45-60 minutes will pass very quickly during these speeds. It also never hurts to get some speed and power work in as well. This speed workout with shorter speeds and ample rest is not very taxing either so it is easy to substitute for a distance workout. Finish off with another 15 to 30 minutes on the running treadmill, spin bike, or SkiErg.
When the primary goal of the workout is just level 1 easy distance, another good workout is what I like to call the ultra combi. The ultra combi is a short 10-15 minute rotation of all the cardio equipment in the gym. It could look like 15 minutes at SkiErg, 15 at the RowErg, 15 on the running treadmill, and 15 on the spin bike. Complete that twice and it’s a two hour workout finished in a flash.
If the workout prescribed is a long distance workout, a classic way to pass time is with a movie or TV show. I find it helps quite a bit if the show or movie is very engaging, but not so engaging that I stop exercising because I’m too distracted. It's about that happy medium! I also find it is easiest to watch while on the spin bike because there is less movement then on a running treadmill or Erg. The excess movement makes me dizzy sometimes.
Lastly, it's good to evaluate your training and body and adapt the session to fit your needs. If there is a very easy distance session planned, sometimes I find it more beneficial to get in an hour or so of mobility. There are plenty of yoga and mobility videos on youtube that are great to help facilitate some active recovery.
When the weather doesn't allow us to train outside safely, it is still important get in the training we need to be fast and fit during the winter. Adaptability and acceptance are crucial in being able to keep the training hours up while having to train inside. Accepting the circumstances and just getting the workout done is the most important thing. It always sucks when training is altered due to uncontrollable events, but there is always something productive to do in lieu of the prescribed workout.