Have you already taken stock of your fitness activity during these months of lock down? Did you, like me, run on the treadmill while in quarantine? Personally, I’ve never run exclusively on a treadmill for seven consecutive weeks. The most important thing that emerged is that I have trained for an average of 65kms per week, my tendon has been sore for a while and I have not gained any kilos of extra weight. I can now say I found myself in a great physical state when Phase 2 began!It is never easy for an athlete to change his habits and adapt to new ones. After the first week of confusion, I set myself a new routine: 6 running sessions of 9-11 km each, including a double with a morning session without eating and an evening session with a 12-14 km long one. Essentially, this is very different from my usual training table.
Personally, I’ve always had some resistance to indoor training; born and raised in Patagonia, for me distant horizons and the wind in my face are synonymous with ‘home’. Running indoor is a great variation for our training. Believe me, you’ll need it even after quarantine. Of course, running indoors isn’t the same as outdoors. It is certainly essential at the beginning, to moderate the pace.Since surgery on my Achilles tendon in 2015, I had a few sessions on the treadmill as a part of my rehabilitation. Erika Csomor, a very strong Hungarian athlete, winner of countless Ironman races and all the distances and specialties of the triathlon, as well as a very strong runner, was helping me in my planning at that time. She was the one who strongly suggested to me to run and train on the treadmill and so I started and discovered all its advantages.
Okay, but let us face it, running on the treadmill is not exactly the same as running outside; marching on treadmill the is not the same as doing it on the road. We need to know that and keep this in mind and use it to our advantage. The treadmill is undoubtedly less traumatic than running outside, but it is still a slightly different muscle work. Anterior shinbone, footbeds, cufflinks, soleus and Achilles tendon are all stressed differently.Additionally, I believe that the continuous monitoring of speed often leads many runners to overdo it with the pace, especially the most competitive ones.
Myths to debunk in indoor running
- On the tread you always have to run at 0.5% gradient. False. Running with a slight inclination, it changes your pushing angle and can produce contractures, pain and injuries. You therefore have to run on the flat all the time, except when you want to work uphill.
- Just jump on the carpet. Absolutely not. It is true that the thrust of the feet is less important, but to increase the pace you have to maintain a very developed pace, cadence and rhythm, just like you do when on the road.
- All carpets are the same. Mistake! There are several types of machines; buying a guaranteed and high-quality product ensures good cushioning, constant belt smoothness and reliable speed monitoring.
Daniel’s Recommendations for a safe and effective indoor running
- Never do more than 10/12 km and for runners of medium and good level, I would always keep between 12 and 15 km/h.
- Motion and speed control. You control the treadmill, not the other way around.
- Do short sessions. The treadmill isn’t for long stretches; it’s like running with a partner who always pulls your neck, who is always willing to go a little bit harder; of those that imperceptibly increase little by little and then you find yourself going at full speed. With long sessions you risk losing concentration and control.
- Do not fall into the temptation to always do quality and heavy pace running. The treadmill is a great tool to work out at lower cadences, get the body used to keeping rhythms low (and I guarantee you that for some athletes this is a problem), train the body to utilize fat and slow fibers.
- Do a simple calculation: 20% of your run must be of high and medium quality, while 80% must be run at a slow, aerobic pace.
- Treadmill is a precision equipment; tenths of Km/h make the difference. Always increase your pace gradually. The treadmill involves a lot of neuromuscular work; if you suddenly increase your speed, you risk losing control of your movement and maybe falling Do it gradually and you will be able to maintain control because mind and body will have time to talk and adapt the action.
Waiting for you to get better with indoor
- It cures the symmetry of legs and arms with the help of a mirror or with proper tools on the treadmill.
- Movement of arms and shoulders.
- General body posture, pelvis and trunk.
- Support and load on the feet.
- Measure in real time the cadence, contact time on the ground and vertical oscillation. And play with various others.
- Work on rhythms, in the flat for those who do not have flat roads or climbs for those who live on the flat.
Quarantine has revolutionized the way all athletes train. For everyone – and for me as well – virtual races have been a very useful opportunity to train and compete with others. At the beginning of the lockdown, we Triathletes were a bit lost and had different reactions: some got stuck, others angry, some lived the moment with anxiety. However, we have all, little by little, found new habits and a routine to respond to this emergency.
We have therefore introduced in our routines also virtual racing routines lasting between 25 and 45 minutes with a group of triathlete friends with the main aim of doing quality training, getting involved in the competitive spirit and getting out of our Comfort Zone. It is fun, plus it has become a regular appointment for us. If you manage to get into the character and the competition scenario, there are no big differences, the performance is very similar, the gesture also and the attitude must be the same.
Ironman is not only the race but it’s a path, a journey that lasts several days: from the meeting with the Ironman community, the registration, the rituals, the fears and the physical confrontation. Virtual Races are a great alternative to do it at home, a starting point for training: it can bring you closer to the race.I am convinced that indoor training is a wonderful tool, which will remain in our weekly programs. I don’t think it is useful to do training or extreme indoor competitions, it is not the ideal context and loses the effectiveness that makes it a great tool for quality training in a short time.
My nutritional routine
I try to make a balanced diet. Before the race and during the preparation, I eat carbohydrates, proteins and fats, on the principles of the Zone Diet, while in training to use the same supplements. During the race, I chose a strategy based on the amount of carbohydrates that I have to take every hour, the salts and I distribute them in small doses evenly, using the modalities for each discipline, bars, gels, jellies or liquids. You must be very careful about hydration and nutrition during VR or very long workouts at home. The fact that you never stop pedalling on the rollers means that muscle tension can be slightly different in the long run and lead to muscle contractures or soreness.
My home training set up
When I train at home, I use a smart trainer, a wellness ball, a good mat and a power band. Now that the lockdown is over, at least in Italy, I continue to make two appointments a week Indoor, Tuesday and Thursday, for a training with my group of athletes and friends. We realized we can do two quality workouts, with lots of fun and time optimization.
Daniel Fontana’s training week during lockdown
- 1km – 11km/h
- 1km – 12km/h
- 1km – 13km/h
- 2km – 13.5km/h
- 2km – 14km/h
- 2km – 14.5 km/h
- 5km – 16km/h
- 5km – 11km/h
Total: 11 km.
Tuesday11 km starting at 12km/h increasing up to 14km/h doing 400m at 1% and 600m flat
Fasting 10km at 11-12.5 km/h
- 3 km. – 12km/h
- 8×2 at 18km/h + 1′ at 15kh
10.5 km total
- 5 km- 13.5km/h playing with the tilt.
- 2 km – 12km/h
- 2 km – 13km/h
- 4 km – 14km/h
- 1 km – 16km/h
- 4 km – 17km/h
- 1 km – 11 km/h
Tot: 14 km