Action! 5 videos for thrilling workouts


Who says you can't change the scenery in your living room? These five workout videos push you to places you never thought possible.

Ask any runner or cyclist if she prefers training indoors or outdoors, and she'll probably look at you like you have three heads. Unfortunately, shorter days and inclement weather during the fall and winter may mean you have to take your workout inside, but indoor training sessions do not have to be mind-numbingly boring. These five videos -- three for cyclists and two for runners -- will keep you engaged and will help hone your competitive and mental skills, making you stronger for race day.

The Sufferfest: Hell Hath No Fury

Cycling training videos from the Sufferfest are like no other. These high-intensity interval workouts are designed to make you suffer, but they make it fun by incorporating engaging storylines, pumping music, humor and clips from some of the world's top professional races, such as the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia. Each of the 16 downloadable videos targets a specific skill: endurance, speed or climbing power. You simply follow the on-screen instructions and audio cues, and ride. "Hell Hath No Fury" simulates a stage race by using video from women's professional cycling races and includes footage of cyclists like Emma Pooley, Evelyn Stevens and Marianne Vos. It makes you feel like you are riding in the pack and, with two 20-minute intervals, helps you learn how to handle race situations over long periods of time. Price: $12.99

Spinervals Cycling: On the Road 7.0 - Kona, Hawaii Training Ride

When you're training for a race, it helps to familiarize yourself with the course so there will be no surprises on race day. The "On the Road" virtual cycling video series from coach Troy Jacobson lets you preview Ironman distance courses while building your endurance. The three-disc "Kona Training Ride" includes approximately six hours of footage that takes you over the famous Ironman bike route along the Kona coast on the Big Island of Hawaii. Along the way, Coach Troy offers course tips and race strategies, as well as advice on how to prepare mentally and physically for race day. Jacobson is one of the top coaches in the U.S. for single-sport and multisport athletes, and the head endurance sports coach at Life Time Fitness. Price: $39.95

Global Rides: Tour de France Climbing in France

In this 50-minute DVD, you tackle two mountain passes of the Tour de France -- the Col de la Colombiere and the Col des Aravis -- as part of a virtual group ride. With multiple coaching tracks from international coaches and the option of listening to an instructor from Global Ride's Spin Studio, you can experience different workouts from the same DVD. As a bonus, each DVD ends with a yoga, Pilates or strength-training session. Price: $29.95

Virtual Active: American Southwest Run

Virtual Active's running videos transport you to beautiful locations like New Zealand, downtown Chicago or Northern Italy, letting you forget that you are indoors. These first-person-perspective videos are designed to entertain and motivate. An on-screen coach guides your workout, giving you instructions on effort level and gradient (both also displayed on screen), and occasional running tips. Price: $19.95 for a DVD, $7.95 for video download

Outside Interactive: Hopkinton to Boston 26.2 Mile Run

Outside Interactive offers high-definition videos that make your treadmill runs anything but boring. The videos are shot from a runner's vantage point and showcase famous race routes (Boston Marathon, Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race), popular casual runs (Central Park, the Mall in Washington, D.C.) and scenic runs (the Australian Outback, Bali). You can control the speed of the video manually. Or, add an ANT+ connection and the video will automatically adjust to yourpace - you speed up, the video speeds up. ANT+ is the wireless protocol found in most of today's most popular sports watches and accessories from companies like Garmin, Motorola and Timex. An on-screen dashboard displays your pace, time, cadence and heart rate. The videos support running paces ranging from 6:15 per mile to 18 minutes per mile. You can download the virtual runner software and videos to your computer or purchase them through iTunes. Price: $9.99 for the virtual runner software, $7.99 per video (it's in four parts), $4.99 for iTunes app)

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