The most common question I am asked, no matter where I am in the world, is ‘how do I train in the winter?’
While talking with other athletes at races abroad, many are totally confused how I can live and train in a country that you can’t really train outdoors for 50% of the year. Most athletes live in places where you can ride your bike in sunny warm conditions for most of the year. The idea of snow for many months is totally foreign to them.
In Finland, every triathlete has their own way of dealing with winter, but for me the answer to this question is always the same: Netflix.
Not your normal couch potato
I train 95% indoors in the winter and that means a ton of time on the bicycle trainer and treadmill. I have found that by putting my computer in front of me and watching movies or TV programs on Netflix, I can make it through 6 hours on the trainer. I not only survive, I can thrive on this training! Yes, by the end of winter I am more than ready to get outside and hit the roads, but for part of the year, it is actually enjoyable to simply catch up on movies and TV that I normally do not have time to watch.
No hiding from the workout
The quality of training can be quite high as well. Riding the trainer might be tough because it has no variation or rest created by uphills and downhills, but you can control your effort very precisely to do the ‘perfect workout.’ Intervals on the trainer can be very, very challenging and push your body to the limit that is not normally achieved on the road. On the trainer, there is no hiding from the workout you are supposed to do.
A triathlete’s guide to Netflix
Watching TV doesn’t have to be just a trick to pass the time. It can be something to look forward to! I have found that there are some really entertaining and almost addicting TV series on Netflix that get me excited to start training. Before I offer some critique of my favorite Netflix programs, I should briefly go into the technical details.
Netflix is cheap. For only 7,99€ per month, you have access to a massive collection of thousands of movies and TV programs. Netflix has grown so big that they are now producing their own TV series, some of which are considered to be the top shows out there right now. In Finland, the selection of movies and programs is significantly less than in the US. I found a very simple and free solution to this. 1) Use Google Chrome as your browser. 2) Add the Chrome extension called Hola! to your browser. This makes Netflix think you are accessing their service from a US location (or where ever you select in Hola!). A simple, effective, and not-illegal trick.
What to watch
The movie selection on Netflix is excellent and range from classic pieces to the most current movies just released. I enjoy the movies but most of the time I watch TV series that have many episodes and really pull me into the plot. The best that come to mind right now are Homeland, House of Cards, Breaking Bad, True Detective and Top Gear.
Homeland – When a prisoner of war returns home after years in captivity, a CIA agent suspects the Marine of having been turned into an Al Qaeda terrorist. The first 3 seasons are available on Netflix and hopefully soon season 4 will start as well. This is VERY hard to stop watching.
House of Cards - This Emmy-winning original thriller series stars Golden Globe winner Kevin Spacey as ruthless, cunning Congressman Francis Underwood, who will stop at nothing to conquer the halls of power in Washington D.C. His secret weapon: his gorgeous, ambitious, and equally conniving wife Claire (Golden Globe winner Robin Wright).
Breaking Bad - A terminally ill chemistry teacher teams with a former student to manufacture crystal meth to secure his family's future. This show is one of the most popular TV programs of all time. The 6 seasons of Breaking Bad draw you into a world of double-lives, crime, and drama.
True Detective - This series is not on Netflix but I saw it on yleareena.fi. A detective series with a dark side and intense plot line featuring some of my favorite actors Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey. Only one season has been made so far but a second season is in production now. Awesome stuff!
Top Gear - Whether you know or care anything about cars or not, this show is always entertaining. The most watched non-fiction TV show in the world. If I am in need of a good laugh, I tune into an episode. I especially enjoyed the episode where they tried to tackle the problem of bicycle safety in London…