Cold weather and rainy days can kill motivation when it comes to riding outside for long periods of time. So how can you get the most out of winter training without constantly subjecting yourself to frigid conditions?
In comes the trainer. You can get an extremely efficient workout on a trainer or rollers, especially if you put some thought into your setup and workouts. Rather than skip a workout on a rainy day, opt for putting in time indoors to help you reach your goals come spring.
Here are a few tips to get inspired about indoor training:
Get a Nice Trainer and Rollers
Having a nice trainer and/or set of rollers can give you that extra push to ride indoors. Investing in quality indoor cycling equipment is well worth the cost, as it will make trainer time much more likely and enjoyable. There are countless trainers to choose from including “smart” ergo trainers that utilize ant+ and bluetooth tech to fluctuate resistance. Rollers are another excellent choice for any rider who wants to improve their handling skills and leg speed. You can find them in various drum widths depending on the level of resistance you prefer. Ask your coach and friends which setup they prefer.
Mix it up
Break up the tedium by rotating through indoor equipment. Try to incorporate as many different indoor riding methods as possible. For example, try switching from rollers to the trainer and back again; this helps break up your workout time. A 3-hour ride becomes doable if you ride the rollers for the first hour, the trainer for the second hour, and ride outside for just 1 hour.
Set up an Inviting Workout Space
Create a workout area that gets you pumped to ride the trainer. Turn on a fan, set up near a window with a view, place a table or stool next to your bike with a remote control and towels, fill up your bottles (remember to hydrate!), and set up near a computer, TV or stereo system. Always make sure the bike is level to promote comfort; a front wheel block or book comes in handy. Position your computer or TV screen low and approximately 4 to 6 feet in front of you to achieve a neutral neck position. Try to avoid stressful distractions like work and email and let your loved ones know you won’t be available during your trainer time.
Have a Plan
Before you hop on the trainer or rollers, have a workout plan. When it comes to indoor workouts, structured riding is best. Break up the workout by doing intervals or working on cadence drills. A 1-hour zone 2 ride can be much more interesting if you switch up your cadence every 5 minutes.
Remember that riding indoors is much more static than riding outdoors. Switch up your position on the bike frequently. Ride in the drops, on the hoods, and get out of the saddle to keep the workout dynamic. It’s also a good idea to hop off the trainer and stretch for 1 or 2 minutes to ease any tight muscles or discomfort.
Experiment with Healthy Distractions
Are there any perks to riding indoors that aren’t feasible outdoors? Take advantage! Healthy distractions will help you pass the time on the trainer. Watch movies or sports, listen to your favorite podcasts and music, get inspired by watching grand tours or team documentaries like these. The UCI Youtube Channel is another great resource. You can even watch go-pro footage of races you plan to participate in and get a leg up on course knowledge. Find what works for you and give yourself plenty of options.
Write Down your Goals
Anticipate indoor training apathy. Boredom and apathy are a part of indoor riding. Prepare for those feelings and break through by writing down your season goals and putting them in a visible location.
Have Fun with Cycling Apps
Indoor cycling software and smart trainers are becoming more prevalent and transforming indoor training workouts. Try one out and decide if it boosts the fun factor of your workouts.
Zwift makes a game of indoor cycling. The software can connect to an ergo trainer and translate a course’s terrain and demands to your trainer’s resistance. However most people are drawn to Zwift for its engaging social features like allowing you to virtually “race” other players on a set course.
TrainerRoad is another popular software that uses live performance data and feedback to keep you on target during workouts. Using bluetooth technology, the app connects to your power meter and heart rate strap and helps keep you on target during workouts. If you’re in the right power zone, your screen flashes green, if you’re too high or low it flashes red. This feedback can be very helpful in keeping you focused and alert during an indoor training session.
As the saying goes:
You’ve got to do what others won’t, to achieve what others don’t.
We hope these tips help you get motivated to put in time on the trainer. Particularly for athletes who live in cold climates or in dense cities lacking long stretches of uninterrupted roads, opting for the trainer is an extremely efficient way to meet your training goals in minimal time.
Share your indoor training tips in the comments. Good luck!