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The pain cave essentials

You're going to spend countless hours in the pain cave this winter - make sure you have the essentials

Over the next few months, the pain cave will become a second home for triathletes living north of the equator.

With tonnes of training hours ahead of you this winter, it’s important you have the pain cave essentials.

Photo: Matt Stetson

A trainer

The new must-have gadget in training is the smart trainer. Smart trainers can be a considerable investment, however, their performance is unmatched. Pair a smart trainer up to Zwift, and you’ll be in for a treat.

Related: How to set up Zwift – the most cost-effective way

Your rival’s photo

We all need a little inspiration. If Lionel Sanders places a photo of his rival in front of his trainer and treadmill, why wouldn’t you?

Lionel Sanders running on the treadmill with Patrick Lange looking on. Photo: @lsanderstri


You’re going to sweat a lot in your pain cave. Make sure you have a few towels available – one for your handlebars, one to wipe your face, one to protect your laptop, etc.

A Fan

Cooling is key. Place your fan strategically.

Finisher photos and medals

Got big goals for the upcoming season? Hang up your triathlon bling for a little extra motivation.

Jeannie Seymour takes the 2015 Ironman 70.3 Austin title.

Some type of entertainment

Stream Netflix, watch a hockey game or subscribe to one of the many indoor training platforms to keep you entertained throughout your sessions. If you are streaming on your laptop, make sure you have a stand for it. This will make your laptop easily accessible during a workout.

Related: Your indoor training menu

Your race bibs

This is your pain cave, feel free to decorate it however you choose.


Zone in on your training with some noise canceling headphones.

A playlist rotation

Make sure you have a good rotation of music for your sessions.

A trainer mat

Trainer mats help keep your floors clean and provide a grippy surface for your trainer.

A mat keeps your trainer from slipping. Photo: Matt Stetson

A sweat cover

Please take care of your bike. A sweat cover is a great way to minimize the risk of sweat becoming trapped in your bike’s headset.

Tacx Sweat Cover


Having a few snacks on hand is always a good idea. Especially if you’re planning on cranking out a two-hour trainer session.

Hat, headband or cycling cap

This will help keep the sweat away from your eyes.

Training measurements

When training indoors, it’s nice to have some numbers to indicate how hard you are working. For example, a heart rate monitor or power meter.

Polar heart rate strap.


The worst thing is having to pause a workout to replenish your water. Make sure you fill up all the water bottles you’ll need beforehand – it’s better to have more than less.

Go all in

A pain cave with a smart trainer and treadmill side-by-side. All that’s missing is a pool.

Last, but certainly not least, you can go all in and have an endless pool installed with your smart trainer and treadmill close by.