Create the ultimate triathlon pain cave to get the most out of your indoor training

A crowded pain cave. Most don't include puppies.

For many athletes living in the northern hemisphere, a home training setup is probably something you are familiar with. I am envious of all the athletes with a designated pain cave in their houses – someday I hope to have more than a bike, trainer and a yoga mat that makes up my current “gym” in my tiny one bedroom Toronto apartment.

COVID has forced athletes to get creative with their at home training demands, and picking the correct equipment for your space and needs is crucial when spending what can be thousands of dollars on home training equipment. While many pros have dream like setups, the tools they use can be replicated by amateurs everywhere.


I think Laura Philipp wins the most creative backyard swim workout of the past season. Utilizing a blow up pool and resistance bands, the German pro managed to get her swimming distance in during the pandemic.

For those looking for swimming alternatives, if you can’t get to the pool, try swim chords or, for real enthusiasts, check out the the Vasa Swim trainer.


A stationary bike or bike trainer is essential for the pain cave. Since the bike portion of triathlons take up a large percentage of the race time, it is crucial to put some miles on the bike over the winter. As long as you have some sort of trainer or set of rollers, it is easy to work through interactive programs like Zwift or utilize zone specific training with TrainerRoad.

The newest KickrBike is my dream indoor bike, having put thousands of km on the first two editions of the Wahoo Kickr, I imagine the latest iteration is a complete package.


Well there is not much to say other than a treadmill…

Lionel Sanders, who is no stranger to indoor training, claims the benefits of running on a soft treadmill instead of outdoors can extend a running career.

This Tacx Magnum Smart Treadmill offers both cycling and running capabilities, wouldn’t it be cool to have one machine for both?

Other essentials

An assortment of free-weights, a yoga/stretching station and other cross training tools can keep you moving over the winter months. While public gyms and training studios might be out of the question for the next while, you can try going virtual! ZOOM workouts with local yoga and Pilates studios that my girlfriend and I have participated in have been a fun way to pass time in lockdown. Being prepared to go virtual is shaping up to be the best way to stay fit for the next while. Try connecting for a virtual workouts with some friends or signing up for some races on platforms like Zwift. 

Sean Mackinnon is a former member of the Canadian national cycling team. He won two bronze medals at the Pan Am Games in 2015.