As endurance athletes we get stuck thinking if we can’t workout for more than 90 minutes or more then we really haven’t had a valuable workout. This is so not true! During the colder months is the perfect time to focus on strength, flexibility, and balance with shorter, high quality workouts. As triathletes, runners and cyclists we spend far too much time in linear training that makes us much more injury prone. Taking the colder months to do indoor workouts that build strength and flexibility in our laterals, hips, calves and core can make us stronger and smarter during the season.

Indoor training is a necessary evil if you want to reach your goals. Whether it’s because of time, weather or travel, learning to maximize your indoor time will help you stay focused and injury free year round.

I am giving you 5 proven ways to up your indoor game.

1. Get on the stair master

Stairmaster or alternative indoor exerciseThis mystery machine is invaluable to strengthening your back, butt, legs and core. Ignore what you have seen on the stair master in the past as many people use the stair master incorrectly. Stand up straight, engage your core and land squarely on each step. It is harder than it looks and requires concentration. Don’t lean, don’t walk backwards and don’t try to run. Walk steady and strong with perfect form. Start with 30 minutes, 5 minutes warm up, 20 minutes building your speed and 5 minutes cooling down. Increase your effort over time (or ask me for more ideas)

2. Running skills and drills

One of the best in-door workouts I have ever done was in a gym working on my running form. We spend 1 hour and it is taxing and great for my “runner’s brain” to slow down and focus on good form. It is challenging, fun and incredibly valuable. You can work on your small muscle movements and balance in strength from side to side and front to back. Try skipping, high knees, butt kicks, grapevines, tire pulls and frog jumps to start.

3. Create your own spin class

Many of the local gyms allow you to use their spin bikes between classes. Get a couple friends and have your own spin class focusing on your own training and your own timeline.

4. Boot Camp

Attend a local boot camp or start your own with friends! As endurance athletes we are very linear. This can make us injury prone without knowing it. Focusing on exercises that increase strength and balance for our laterals, hips, butt, core, back and upper body will make us stronger and reduce the likelihood of injury during our the season.

5. At Home DVD’s & YouTube, Tap Out XT, P90X, Insanity and more.

Boot Camp! Create your own or join one in townIt’s hard to believe that there are any at-home videos that can be more challenging than our seasonal training….speed work, hill climbs and long runs and open water swims. You will be amazed at the physical and mental positive results from an at-home workout using only your own body weight. Focus on programs that strengthen your laterals, core and smaller muscle groups. Don’t take these workouts for granted because if you do you can be sore for days. Be sure to hydrate, warm up and cool down.

Indoor training doesn’t have to be boring or take all day! Grab a friend or two for a gym workout that keeps your mind and body busy or try an at- home workout that allows for focus on strengthening and flexibility.

What are your favorite ways to shake it up indoors? In the comments below tell me your favorite way to get fit indoors.