A Polytunnel in a cowshed: Inside Alistair Brownlee’s Sub7 pain cave

Alistair Brownlee will take sport science right to the cutting edge as he bids to go Sub7 in 2022, in just about every way.

But while some athletes have futuristic pain caves to get them through brutal winters, the Yorkshireman has something not quite as grand – a Polytunnel in a 400-year-old cow shed.

He will give viewers a proper tour of his indoor setup in an upcoming Sub7Sub8 documentary series charting the countdown to this year’s much-hyped event. This week event organisers provided a sneak peek.

Brownlee pain cave (cow shed)

Brownlee said: “We’re in the depths of winter here in Yorkshire, UK, its pretty cold outside, we’ve had some snow and ice already and it gets dark at about 4pm.

YouTube video

“So if I need to train inside because it’s too cold outside, it’s dark outside, or if I’m just more motivated to come inside to the warmth, do some specific efforts or enjoy jumping on a race on Zwift – that’s why I get in and get on Zwift and get on the bike at the moment.

“Some people have fancy pain caves and that, I have a Polytunnel in a cow shed that is about 400 years old.”

Spirig hits the slopes

While Brownlee is building to Sub7 in a cow shed, Nicola Spirig has been combining her preparation for Sub8 with a family skiing holiday in the Swiss Alps.

She explained: “As you can see, in the background there’s a lot of snow – maybe not the perfect training area for triathlon, but I guess that’s the compromises you make if you have a family and you want the best for them.

“At the moment we are two weeks in a ski resort, skiing with the kids. It’s great, they have a lot of fun, we are skiing all together.

“I have to be a little bit inventive with my training, I have a treadmill here, I have the turbo and the bike here. For swimming I have to go down to the valley, but it’s not such a big problem either. I do serious training and in the recovering time I’m skiing.”

The date and venue for Sub7Sub8 are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

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