Indoor Cycling Made Easy 

October 10, 2019
Trainers and Rollers at BikeParts.com

Trainers and Rollers at BikeParts.com

The cold is here! It’s our first really cold day of the fall season.  There may be some hardcore cyclists cycling outside; however, most cyclists are either skipping their regular training ride or pushing their workout off a day.  Either way, trainer season is officially beginning!  And by trainer season, we mean, training and cycling indoors. 

The trainer can be a love/hate relationship.  As a training aid, cyclist love it because it offers training options during poor weather and winter months.  Yet, on the flip side, trainer rides can be boring, lead to muscle-specific fatigue, and basically, offer uninspired riding.  Ugh. Is there a way to make it work?  Yes!  There is!  With a mixture of planning and dose of discipline, you can motivate yourself to get in quality trainer rides.  Here’s how. 

Get the equipment you need
The right equipment and bike parts can make your indoor workouts less boring and more effective. When we’re talking about equipment, sure, we mean having your road bike on the trainer, but we’re also talking about having a fan, a trainer tire, a riser block, a sweat towel, a trainer mat, indoor riding clothes, a cadence sensor, a power meter, and a heart rate monitor.  You might not think all of these cycling accessories add up to a great trainer workout, but it makes all the difference in the world. 

Set up your environment
Aside from the actual cycling components, it’s critical to create an inviting cycling environment. Why? Well, you need an environment that limits excuses and supports your fitness goals.  What do you need to inspire you?  As in, do you need bright lights to keep you motivated?  An upbeat playlist? Is there a time of day that works best for you?  Then, schedule your trainer training time then.  Your primary objective in creating a support structure is to foster an environment in which you are supported and held accountable.

Motivation
Sometimes seeing is believing!  Keep your motivation strong with visual effects.  Pop in a DVD training video or select a few YouTube clips to get your mind in the game.  Posters, a vision board, books, maps, apps, or pictures of upcoming races can trigger your motivation to not only get on the bike but maybe even dig a little deeper than you would have otherwise. Growing popular platforms make your time on the trainer more productive and entertaining. The post, Choosing the Right Indoor Cycling App, offers a list of apps and a description of how they function to help you decide which is best for you.  Some of our favorites from the list include ZwiftCycleOps Virtual Training, and TrainerRoad.  Try one or a few to dial in which best suits your riding style and aids with motivation. 

Vary your workouts
One way to make riding indoors work is to shorten your ride and add strength training to your workouts.  One way to do this is to avoid long rides on the trainer altogether. Year-round strength training for cyclists matters and substituting your indoor rides with strength training will do more for your cycling later on in the season than doing another trainer session.  In fact, a one-hour hard trainer workout will do more to improve your cycling and race fitness than 2 to 4 hours easy on the trainer. So, plan your time on the trainer accordingly and substitute ride time for strength training time. 

It may seem obvious, but scheduling workouts on the same day every week will help with consistency.  By creating a repeating schedule that you know works for you you minimize the chances of missing a workout. The post, 4 Habits to Increase Your Consistency, offers more suggestions on increasing consistency, such as, being purposeful, following your plan as best as possible, and getting in shorter rides when you have less time to train.

Granted, trainer rides will never replace the joy of cycling outside. However, you can take pride in that you are getting your rides in and building your cycling base for the season ahead. 


The Perils of Training Indoors and What to Do About It

November 8, 2018

It’s tough this time of year figuring out how to get training rides in. The warm, summer days are gone. Winter is not quite here, yet there are blasts of cool days followed by warmer days and yet the days themselves are shorter.

Combine those variables with the fact that the holidays are right around the corner and training rides seem to get shorter or skipped all together.  Perhaps missing a day or two of riding doesn’t seem like much but it does. According to the post, What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Riding, within a relatively short period of time, undesirable consequences result. As in, your metabolism stagnates. Your blood pressure rises. Your blood sugar surges. Fitness declines. And, inevitable wait gain surfaces. Not fun! The goal this time of year is consistency.  It is consistent training that helps prepare your body for the physical stresses of the season ahead. Given the constraints many face this time of year, indoor training becomes the most reliable source.  

Now tell the truth. How do you really feel about training indoors? Most have a love/hate relationship with trainers and rollers but you can find ways to embrace riding indoors to support your cycling training now and all the way through to next season.  Here is how. 

Apps – Fortunately, there are now many apps that make your time on the trainer more productive and entertaining. Additionally, these apps record your workout so you can analyze your effort and get your best bang for the buck workout wise. The post, Choosing the Right Indoor Cycling App, offers a list of apps and a description of how they function to help you decide which is best for you.  Some of our favorites from the list include ZwiftCycleOps Virtual Training, and TrainerRoad.  

Bike Setup – Granted, apps can make your ride more enjoyable; yet, having the right equipment can make a difference too. When we’re talking about equipment, sure, we mean having your road bike on the trainer, but we’re also talking about having a fan, a trainer tire, a riser block, a sweat towel, a trainer mat, and indoor riding clothes.  If you are using a basic trainer, you may also want a cadence sensor, a power meter, and a heart rate monitor.  You might not think all of these cycling accessories  add up to a great trainer workout, but  if you’re looking to take your training to the next level, having the right bike parts helps support motivation and training consistency.

Maximize Your Time – Make your indoor riding really count. It’s hard to stay motivated riding indoors for days in a row. So, another way to make riding indoors work is to shorten your ride. In fact, a one hour hard trainer workout will do more to improve your cycling and race fitness than 2 to 4 hours easy on the trainer. So, plan time on the trainer or rollers accordingly.

If you haven’t found yourself on the trainer yet this season, you’re lucky! The indoor riding season is fast approaching.  When you think about it, indoor training doesn’t have to be as bad as you think.  Options are available. It’s all about how you approach it.