Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Indoor Training for Newbies

I won't lie, training indoors on the bike is pretty near the bottom of my list. I make every conceivable effort to train outside, despite not even owning a pair of long fingered gloves. But inevitably, training indoors becomes a necessity. So here are some of the things I've learned since my first winter training indoors.

Try to make it interesting: This is a no-brainer. Training indoors is a sufferfest more on your mind than your body. It stinks having to be in one place, not really moving, with the same surroundings. That being said, unfortunately most people's idea of indoor riding is to put in a movie and see how long they can go. That accomplishes next to nothing, all you're doing is spinning. Try to have a purpose behind each ride. If you need ideas for training sessions, check out CycleOps workouts here. THEN put in the movie, and do the workout. It does help.

There are more essentials for riding indoor than out: My setup indoors is a pain in the ass. You probably don't need all of what I have, but it all has its purpose. I have a mat down so the trainer doesn't slip when I perspire, a riser block (the old phone book will do if you don't want to drop $25 on one), a fan to keep the rear wheel and resistance unit cool, a fan in front to keep me cool, and a couple towels on hand.

Water is key: I tend not to think about this (and I should), but you'll sweat more indoors than out. Trust me. Take more water than you think you'll need. (This advice is also applicable to riding outdoors)

Stay fresh: That catch phrase, mostly used by teens, is key to not burning out in a long session. I like to switch out shorts every hour and a half or so. It keeps me from becoming a sodden mess, and also gives you a short break from the monotony. On that note, if you have both a trainer and rollers, I like to switch that up at the same time if possible. It gives you something new to focus on, a welcome relief.

Whether you're a semi-pro training in the off season, or a newbie trying to stay fit, riding indoors is a necessity in many places unless you can travel to warmer climates, or live in one. Hopefully, these tips make your sessions easier.

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