Indoor Miles

15 March, 2016

This year has been an incredibly busy year. With a new house, new town, renovations, and winter, I haven't been able to get on my bike outside as much as I like to. To remedy that I recently bought an indoor turbo trainer to help me keep up my fitness on bike so when Spring arrives I'm ready to hit the trails and rides. I consider myself an amateur when it comes to indoor training but with a few weeks of testing out my trainer I found that it's effective and convenient. Indoor training can be demanding with interval sessions at maximum efforts but the nice thing about it not having to worry about cars, slippery roads, snow, mud, or gravel. After having a few weeks of sessions, here's what I found that helped me improve my indoor training.

Entertainment is King when it comes to being stationary on a bike as it can get pretty mentally boring. Although pedaling in a fixed position allows you to focus your attention into effort, it's nice to have a distraction with music or a show in the back ground. However when you're trying to hammer it down, you can't beat watching a cycling race or listening to some good old tunes. I think putting together a playlist on Spotify or watching a race or training session on Youtube has been extremely effective as it keeps me motivated.

I am also trying the Peloton Cycling App. You can watch their sessions online on your computer or your phone to get motivation and focus to putting in some effort. Sessions give workout cues, climbs, intensity, cadence, and challenges you to put cardio at full pace. I personally enjoy these sessions only because I can connect the sessions onto my Apple TV via blue tooth. I'm not one for pep-talks but I can see the value you get from the vibes, music, and community feeling of a ride. There's something nice about suffering together.

Goal Setting
Any inspiration to keep pedaling or to squeezing in a few more miles or watts of effort is great motivation but you must remind yourself why you are working out. Maybe you'll take on a ride, race, or touring this year. Because I'm an amateur, I set a goal for 100 miles a week for the first month while it's still cold out. After every month I will set another goal in miles and speed. I even got myself a nice little bicycle computer to log them on Strava to keep me motivated. Never thought I'd get technical about it but the data has power in monitoring intensity and it's nice to feel the difference and see the improvement.

Planning Sessions
Indoor trainers are best for shorter, high intensity sessions. Although an average training session is about an average of 90mins, I find that I can put in 60 mins at full turbo if I do it right. But doing these sessions means I have to plan my session with intervals of charging and recovering. If broken up into manageable chunks of time, it works well for me other wise I would leisurely pedal my way through a marathon of House of Cards when the weather really sucks.

Sweating is good but so is staying cool and hydrated indoors. I found that when I started training in my office, I got overheated which hindered my performance. Needing another option, I moved my trainer down to my living basement which is the coolest space in the house and found it so much nicer. Many also recommend having a fan directly on you to keep you at your comfort levels. Having a towel and water bottle handy is always a must so you don't get off your bike and interrupt your sweat session. Also, a rubber mat under the bike helps to keep floors clean from sweat and bike tire marks.

Booty Pain
Indoor training is so unlike riding on the road. Shifting positions, standing out of the saddle to climb, or freewheeling is completely different from constant pedaling and moving very little. In the beginning of indoor training, it was tough on my bottom, so I invested in some padded cycling shorts and began to stand out of my saddle about every 10 mins for a minute. Like most training though, it's all about adapting, putting weight on your pedals and maintaining a stable position. Technique has been so key in making my riding as pain free as possible.

The next couple of weeks are going to be telling of my training sessions as I leave for Florida tomorrow. I looking forward to seeing my performance as there is endless miles to put in next to the beach and off road trails.

image @pelotoncycle

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