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Is Spinning Good for Triathlon Training?

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It doesn’t matter if you’re preparing for your first ever triathlon or you’ve got several events under your belt. When it comes to training, you want your time on the bike, running, and in the water to be as effective as possible.

If you’re a beginner, pretty much anything you do in the events you don’t have a lot of experience in will help. However, once you’ve caught the triathlon bug, you’ll be like the rest of us, sleeping and dreaming about ways we can train better and shave seconds or minutes off of our times.

But what about spinning? Is spinning good for triathlon training?

Spinning is good for triathlon training. Beginners can utilize spinning to get you more comfortable on a bike and it’s a decent option for triathletes of all levels who live in cities or in climates where getting out on the bike isn’t possible all year round.

woman in a spinning class

Joining a spin class can be an effective part of overall triathlon training to improve your cardio conditioning. However, you shouldn’t replace all of your bike training with cycling because being on your bike is the best training possible.

Let’s examine some of the pros and cons of using spinning for triathlon training. A lot of it will come down to your circumstances, where you live, and what type of results you’re expecting in your race.

The Benefits of Spinning for Triathlon Training

One of the biggest perks of using spinning class for triathlon training is that they are so much fun! If you’ve ever been to a spin class, you know what a great time it is.

There’s the blaring hi-tempo music, enthusiastic instructor, and the group serotonin dump that comes with exercising in a crowd. It’s no surprise that spin classes have popped up all over the country in the past several years.

However, the benefits don’t stop there. Let’s take a look at some of the other benefits of spinning for a triathlon.

It Creates a Routine

You never have to push yourself to strap on the shoes and grab your bike when it’s raining outside. With a scheduled spinning class, you’ve probably already paid, so going is less of a challenge.

It just becomes part of your normal routine. You go, get the workout in, and go home. Everyone knows that part of effective training is getting the consistency part down.

It’s Safer

No cars are screaming past you while you’re in your spin class. You don’t have to worry about potholes or opening doors as you ride.

That’s a big plus for people worried about injuries that could sideline them for weeks or months ahead of a big event. In a spin class, you can get the exercise you need and complete it safely.

couple doing spin class

You Get Pushed

Most triathletes don’t have the money to hire a personal trainer. The vast majority of us are hobbyists who do it for the love of the sport.

When you find the right instructor, they’ll know how to push you to levels you can’t reach on your own.

There’s no slacking when you see your partners to your right and left sweating and grinding all class. You’ll probably see regular improvement in your times and other results when you’re in a spin class setting.

It’s Easier to Focus

In a spin class, you can clear your mind and focus intently on your training. You don’t have to think about people crossing the road, dogs, and the aforementioned cars.

When you walk through those doors, you can flip a switch and change into training mode.

Spin class can be a great training option, especially for people living in the city or who is next to a gym that offers the classes. You can keep training when it’s raining or snowing outside and work on your conditioning late at night as well.

Some of the Drawbacks of Using Spinning for Triathlon Training

While spinning class has a lot of advantages, and they’re just so much darn fun, there are some drawbacks when using them as training for a triathlon.

If you’re a beginner new to the sport, it probably won’t make that much difference, but as you grow in the sport, you will have to take on a much more technical approach to training.

Here are some things you should consider when thinking about how much spinning to do as you train.

It’s Hard to Gauge the Speed

Stationary bike training is fine when you’re not in the mood to cycle in the rain, but it’s hard to gauge how fast you are going when you’re not moving forward.

Part of triathlon training is about speed sensitivity. You need to feel what it’s like to go at a quick pace.

holding a handle for a spin class

Bike Handling Skills

Not having to dodge cars and people is fine and good when all you’re worried about is building your conditioning. But it’s hard to replace the handling skills that you’ll pick up over hundreds of hours on the road with your bike.

Don’t skip training to the point you feel strange getting on a real bike. You’ll need to be skilled enough to dodge other cyclists during your event. Every triathlete has to put in the time on the road.

Road Training Develops Discipline

It’s nice having a toned instructor bark commands at you to keep you sweating and pedaling for longer.

However, there’s something to be said for building that type of motivational well inside yourself. You’ll need to call on it during the heat of the day with a lot of miles still left in front of you.

In the end, incorporating spinning classes into your training regimen can be great. Just don’t let it replace more time on your real bike than it should.

You need to log the hours to feel what it will be like on the day of the race. Also, the bottom line is that you’ll be better on the bike the more you ride.