Ever since the days when Spinervals DVDs were cutting edge, we’ve been trying to entertain ourselves while working out indoors. For those of us under stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, we are doing a lot more training indoors. Most of us are unable to swim at all, unless we have warm open water nearby or a private pool at home. Here’s our survey of Beginner Triathlete members’ favorite tools for virtually training with others or just breaking up the monotony.
With an application that works for running and biking, this is the top choice for virtually training with other real live humans, without actually being near them. You can even train with people you know in a group on the screen. Zwift works by representing you as an avatar on the screen of your laptop, tablet, etc. Your avatar bikes or runs based on input from a smart device, such as a smart trainer for your bike or a footpod for your shoe. In our experience, the cycling piece of the program, which has been around longer, offers a more consistent experience. The running piece can have starting and stopping problems, even when using the recommended footpod.
Strava doesn’t have an avatar or virtual training, but the social element of sharing workout results is appealing to many, and can fill the void of training with others during this time. One of our users called it the “Facebook of training apps.”
Built into certain models of NordicTrak equipment, the screen displays various courses that make it appear as if you are running or biking in scenic destinations around the world. The footage is real, unlike the video-game experience of Zwift, and is included with the equipment. If you want, you can follow a “trainer” on the camera, and you can also choose to have your bike or treadmill follow the hills of the course on the screen. Several users highly recommended it, and others forgot it came with their equipment but are now trying it during these isolating times.
Owner at Beginner Triathlete, web marketing consultant at SiteInSight, writer, entrepreneur, advocate for unstructured nature play for kids.