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.  

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