Mix Up Your Indoor Training Routine
While the northern half of the world is firmly in the grip of winter, the southern half is blazing away under a summer sun. Those two extremes mean snow days and strong rays aplenty, sending legions of riders indoors until fairer weather reemerges.
Apart from weather, the prolific rise in popularity of indoor training is in large part due to apps like Zwift, Sufferfest, and TrainerRoad. While Zwift does have tons of replay value and is immensely entertaining in its own right, most riders out there are still indoor riding the old fashioned way (without an app).
So the question riders used to ever-changing outdoor scenery quickly find themselves faced with is: How can I keep indoor cycling from getting boring?
1. Entertain Yourself
If youʼre riding a bike indoors, then odds are youʼre either crunched for time or being kept off the road by foul weather. Learning to ride in the confinement of a room isnʼt easy, and apps like TrainerRoad donʼt provide riders with any visual stimulation.
Netflix and ride. Instead of staring straight ahead at the garage door for the duration of your two-hour endurance session, why not regale yourself with some entertainment ala Netflix? Position yourself in front of a TV, laptop, or smartphone and crack on the latest binge-worthy series your friends have been raving about.
Zwift the night away. Perhaps movies arenʼt exactly your cup of tea and you prefer something more interactive. If thatʼs the case, say hello to Zwift, a massively multiplayer online game filled with riders from the world over doing exactly what youʼre doing – get those miles in from the comfort of home. Zwift is an indoor training app that places you in a virtual world full of races, group rides, cafe cruisers, and focused training endeavors. For a social experience akin to online gaming, look no further than Zwift.
Drop the beat. It can be pretty tricky to find the right time for listening to music. We usually do it when weʼre driving, but if youʼre living a busy life, then music always plays a secondary role in the background. Riding on a trainer presents the perfect opportunity to zone out and really listen to music. Load up your favorite albums or new music youʼve been itching to hear and get those legs spinning.
2. Educate Yourself
Depending on your training goals, a significant amount of your time is spent turning the pedals over with straightforward endurance in mind. Thereʼs no need to worry about passing the time on a trainer when youʼre in the rarified air of zones 3 and above, but for everything else, consider exercising your brain as well by educating yourself on the trainer.
Learn a language. Cycling is all about repetition. You turn the pedals over and try different efforts again and again in the never- ending quest for improvement. Learning a language operates according to the same principles, and while your legs are occupied with riding, you can occupy your mind with an audio lesson in Italian. Vai!
TED talks. Alright, you donʼt have to listen to TED talks specifically, but podcasts on myriad topics abound, ranging from Greek history to South African succulent plant botany – so if youʼre concerned about finding something interesting to you - worry not.
3. Challenge Yourself
Stationary riding often brings to light the fact that apart from your legs, you may be going unchallenged. Try adding different environmental factors to bring a new physical dimension into the mix.
Heat training. Maybe youʼve heard of hot yoga – well, how about hot cycling? Heat your room (but donʼt overdo it) to replicate the effects of a warm day. Prepare to sweat, so make sure youʼve got plenty of water on hand and a towel to soak it all up.
Use weights. While your legs get pumped, your arms stay flabby – but that doesnʼt have to be the case. Consider holding a pair of light weights while you balance atop the saddle. Doing so will strengthen your arms and core as you try to maintain a firm posture.
While these methods may sound a bit unorthodox, sometimes youʼve got to think outside of the box to stay sharp while youʼre putting yourself in the hurt locker. Next time youʼre ready for a spin, give one of these options a shot and see how they perk up your ride.