March 9, 2010 posted by

Indoor vs Outdoor Training

“A real man likes the feeling of nature against his face.”
– Wang

“And a wise man has the sense to get out of the rain.”

– Egg Shen

Not my favorite author Gina Kolata has penned another not so interesting article for the New York Times. Unlike some of her other work, however, I won’t call this one bad journalism. It’s actually reasonable research. It’s just not complete. I’m also just not sure who doesn’t already know the answers as to which is more effective, indoor or outdoor training for outdoor sports.

As she states:

The most obvious difference with indoor exercise is a lack of wind resistance, Dr. Cavanagh said.

“The important variable here is speed relative to the air,” he said. For example, if you are running at 8 miles per hour into a 10-m.p.h. headwind, your speed relative to the air is 18 m.p.h. Dr. Cavanagh explained in an e-mail message: “Work done against air resistance can be extremely costly because the ‘drag force’ (force caused by air resistance) is proportional to the square of speed and the power required to overcome drag force is proportional to the cube of speed.”

Hmm, yes. Obvious. It then moves into not-so-much-more shocking,

“If you run all the time on a smooth surface you are not training all muscles in your legs and feet that you need to run on the road,” Dr. Cavanagh said. “If you are going to race under certain conditions, you might as well train there.”

The article proceeds with further testimonials from experts as why it’s better to run, ride, or row outdoors While for me this should be preaching to the choir I can’t help nitpick the lack of objectivity. As usual, Kolata misses out in addressing the benefits of indoor training (to be fair she does state it’s safer). But the real advantages are that you can isolate systems from outside influence where great performance gains can be made. You then need to integrate these gains back into the sport of choice but it is an advantage you have when choosing to train indoors.

Okay, so none of this is groundbreaking info. So why is it here? Mainly as an excuse to show this friggin’ cool mtn biking video. When someone can figure out how I can do this stuff inside of my house I might actually considering not going outside so much.


  • a) get a BIGGER houseb) put one of those kevlar tents over a big section of wilderness, preferably in british columbiac) i need to talk to you at some point about diet and exercise at 46…marc

  • My old campus board was outside. Does that count?

  • I think most of DA (Damnation Alley) was outside, so that must have counted too.I couldn't really care about training. I do it sometimes, but mostly I like to go play, which means I'm outside. That video makes me want to go to BC. I just have to make sure they think I'm rehabilitated enough to visit their fair country.

  • Outdoors is my preference but due to Chicago's weather maybe Indoor bouldering would suit me. I believe it depends on the weather sometimes.The bike stunts are crazy!

  • Sony has solved all your problems with Wii Fit.They even have arial cameras and a calorie counter.Puke

  • Uh, how can someone row indoors? Are they now allowing boats into swimming pools? I'm confused.

  • Obviously you never saw the MST3K when TV's Frank, during the Invention Exchange, came up with a rowing machine that you could place in a boat so that you could actually go out into the lake. He also came up with a treadmill with wheels so that you could move around outside.

  •, bike snob had a nice photo of a stationary bike locked up to a bike rack.marc

  • awesome. i've ordered mine. i think i'll use it to run ultras.this would require a REALLY big house:

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