Turbo training sessions for triathlon don’t have to be boring. They don’t have to be long. And they can be more effective in terms of bang for your buck fitness return on your time invested.

I love turbo trainers because they allow you to get a decent brick session done with very little faff. You can even train specifically for triathlon without even leaving your home.

Today I will show you three turbo training sessions that are designed specifically for triathlon fitness, that will save you time, and that will leave you wanting more (hopefully) because they are short and sharp, fun sessions.

Are Turbo Sessions Effective For Triathlon?

Turbo trainer workouts for endurance athletes are often more effective than we think. Traditional training in the endurance sports such as triathlon often drum up images of hours of training each week. I know back in the late 90’s I used to spend 20+ hours training a week, triumphant of my accomplishment.

While I certainly showed commitment to my sport, I did make the mistake of thinking more was better. In hind sight and with what I know now, triathlon training should always be about the outcome.

As a busy ‘real world’ athlete, time is of the essence and that is why I now prioritise fitness return on time invested, rather than overall volume.

There are so many advantages to maximising your fitness return and minimising your time invested – too many for this short article – but cutting a long story short, these triathlon  specific turbo training sessions are really good time invested.

Are Turbo Trainer Workouts For Beginners?

Absolutely.

While these turbo training sessions are suitable for beginners, they are also effective for more advanced triathletes. The idea is that they are time effective and develop your triathlon specific fitness. The only assumption is that you are healthy to exercise and have no medical conditions – check with your doctor before you train.

What You’ll Need:

  • Up to an hour for the entire session
  • Bike
  • Turbo trainer such as these smart trainers.
  • Bike and run gear
  • Sweat towel
  • Another sweat towel!
  • Fan (optional)
  • Room with matting

Time Strapped 30 Minute Turbo Trainer Workouts

In order to save time yet still benefit from improvements in fitness, I have found that high intensity intervals and longer duration ‘threshold turbo session’ are effective. When combined with triathlon specific ‘functional’ exercises and ‘bricked’ with run intervals these triathlon specific turbo trainer sessions are awesome.

Indoor Cycling Training Workouts

The advantage of indoor cycling training workouts in winter is obvious. You are still able to improve your fitness in the safety of your home gym. However, the workouts I am offering on this page are triathlon specific and are very relevant in the race season too. Weather permitting you might want to set everything up in a nice outdoor location. Or even keep the bike indoors and run outside.

What About Ironman Turbo Sessions?

There is a common misconception that to train for an Ironman that you need all your sessions to be long and slow. I get quite passionate about showing people who are in this frame of mind to re-frame their thinking and actually get a lot more Ironman specific fitness from much shorted sessions.

Without wanting to delve into this too deeply today, consider this – if you only ever swim, bike, run long and slow, you will get very good at just that – swim, bike and running slowly. If you train fast, your ‘cruising speed’ will increase, and for this reason these sessions can be considered to be effective ‘Ironman turbo sessions’.

Turbo Training Session For Triathlon

Okay, enough from me – here are the sessions:

The Brick

Warm up

3x through the following as a cycle

  • 10xair squats
  • 10x inch worms
  • 10x lunge

Main set

Perform each section with minimal rest in between.

  • Run 10′ RPE 8
  • Bike 30′ RPE 8
  • Run 10′ RPE 8

Cool Down

Perform static stretches and hold them for up to 90”. These could include pec and lat, rec fem and calf.

Functionally Fit

Warm up

3x through the following as a cycle

  • 10xair squats
  • 10x inch worms
  • 10x lunge

Main Set

Repeat part 1 and 2 one after the other in a cycle 3-5 times as time allows

Part 1

a) 12 Squat b) 12 Press up c) 12 Inverted row

Part 2

Bike 8×20” RPE10 (10”)

Tri Fit

Warm up

3x through the following as a cycle

  • 10xair squats
  • 10x inch worms
  • 10x lunge

Main Set

Part 1

Option 1 – if set up in a swimming pool

Swim 400m timed

Option 2

15-1 brupees

Part 2

20′ bike as 10x 1′ RPE 9 (1′)

Part 3

Run 10′ as 5x 1′ RPE 9 (1′)

Cool Down

Perform static stretches and hold them for up to 90”. These could include pec and lat, rec fem and calf.

Assess

Warm up

3x through the following as a cycle

  • 10x air squats
  • 10x inch worms
  • 10x lunge

Main Set

20 mins time trial

Depending on the turbo trainer and kit you have, you may want to measure power, heart rate, distance and speed. Take note of all the variables and keep them the same for regular retests. Not only will this be a great workout, but also a great measure of improvements.

Cool Down

Perform static stretches and hold them for up to 90”. These could include pec and lat, rec fem and calf.

Get Started

If you are just starting out and don’t yet have a turbo trainer, then you might want to check out these Zwift compatible turbo trainers.

For an effective session you don’t need anything too fancy, but if you intend to use your turbo for longer sessions on a regular basis, or if you are training for longer triathlons, then aside from the triathlon specific turbo sessions I gave you above, the Zwift trainers might be just what you need to get motivated to actually use your turbo trainer. When it come to buying your trainer online one of the most reputable shops would be Wiggle – I have only ever had good experience buying from them.

Remember that nothing happens until you actually do something. So, get yourself set up and have a go at one of these triathlon specific turbo sessions.

I hope you find them fun and effective, and if you want any tips on how exactly to perform some of the exercises listed above, please feel free to get in touch with me and I will point you in the right direction.

Happy training,

Nico.