Here are 5 training tips from Coach Jake Rytlewski to make indoor cycling more fun and productive:
- Set up a dedicated indoor trainer space
- Select fun, diverse and short workouts
- Be Consistent
- Use technology to enhance your indoor riding experience
- Analyze your Data
The holidays are over and the new year is here. The 2017 racing season is just ahead. After breaking out a few hard hours over the holidays, mostly from the guilt of eating 3 kind of pies on the weekend, you need to come up a with a real plan for success. Indoor training is as much of a reality as not being able to go a day without hearing Christmas music. Luckily indoor training has never been easier.
For myself, I’ve been racing for over 15 years and just up to a couple of years ago you had only a few options. Did you ride rollers or a trainer? Was it a mag, fluid? Did you stare at the wall and listen to music, watch a movie or watch the 2001 TdF for the 17th time? Now the options seem never ending with smart trainers, powermeters and the newest craze: virtual training. Yeah remember the old days when you actually had to load up your gear to ride with someone!
Even with all the new fancy toys you still need that plan. That plan is what is going to help you keep you from reaching your targets and goals. The new technology can just make the time fly by as opposed to watching those last few seconds tick by on the microwave.
Here are 5 Tips to make your indoor training a success!
#1 Set yourself up a space where you can ride. Ideally you will be able to keep your trainer setup and all the other essentials right there in hand. That way you do not have to spend precious time and motivation just trying to set things up. You want it to be comfortable, ideally the temperature will be around 68* F. Also make sure you have a fan! I’m not talking about your personal cheering section, even though it couldn’t be much worse than standing in a feed zone in the middle of nowhere for hours on end, but a fan that will help keep you cool and the sweat off. Also have a towel and plenty of water! Your body runs hotter indoors and will go through more water so it is important that you stay hydrated.
#2 Keep the workouts fun, diverse and short! You want to be excited, well as much as possible, about your workout! As boring as riding indoors can be, repeating the same workout for the 4th time can only make things worse. Don’t just sit on the trainer in zone 2, make the most of your time. Add the intensity in, mix it up and get in 60 – 80 TSS in an hour times as opposed to stretching it out to 1.5 – 2 hour. Unless you are less than 6 weeks away from a goal race there is no reason to spend much more time than that.
#3 Be consistent! That goes along with not spending more than 90 minutes on the trainer. Riding 4 – 5 days a week goes alot further than doing 3 days really hard and being burnt out on the trainer. Winter can be a long season. Some can still be stuck on the trainer until April! You don’t want to be crushing it on the trainer in December and January and then be burnt out on it come March when the racing season is starting. It’s sort of like making the early break in a 100 mile road race, it looks great while it’s happening but come crunch time only a small percentage actually make it. Early in the winter season look to add in strength sessions and do some core work as opposed to just another day on the trainer. These are workouts you should add to your training year round.
#4 Use the new technology available in your training. Like I said earlier there are multiple types of trainers, rollers, smart trainers and now virtual training. See which one works best for you! If you have a coach they should be able to help you build a plan around what you have available. It’s a time for them to get creative and keep things fun all the while being efficient.
#5 Make sure you are uploading and analyzing your workouts. Make sure that you are hitting your zones and getting the proper workload. You want to make sure you are making progress and improving. You can take that a step further and see if your CTL (Chronic Training Load) is rising and also keep an eye on your TSB (Training Stress Balance) for fatigue levels. Even though the hours maybe short you still need to have those rest days and weeks.
Here are 5 Example 1 hour Indoor Workouts:
- Tempo Bursts: 3 x 10 min On 5 min OFF. Ride Tempo (Zone 3) and during each 10 minute interval ‘burst’ for 5 seconds at 200% of your FTP every 2 minutes.
- Sweet Spot/Zone 5 VO2 Criss Cross: 4 x 9 min ON 4.5 min OFF. Ride Sweet Spot and every 2 minutes raise your power/HR and ‘cross’ up into Zone 5/VO2Max. Return to Sweet Spot until the next ‘cross’
- Zone 4/5 Bursts: Watch a football game a make a Zone 4/5 burst during the plays. Rest in-between and during the commercials
- Zwift: 4 laps total and ride in your Sweet Spot for laps 2 and 4
- Sufferfest: ‘Nuff said
The possibilities are really endless! For example you can change up the intensity and number of laps on Zwift, or even join one of the many group rides or virtual races! Additionally in TrainingPeaks you can use the new workout export feature to send all the structured variable power workouts from your training calendar directly to your SmartTrainer. So all you have to do is pedal!
Set yourself up for success! Make sure you have everything you need for your trainer session to make it as fun, comfortable and effective as possible! Indoor training does not need to be one of Dante’s nine circles of hell, yet it can just be another stroll in the park doing what you love! Get out there, or rather on it in there, and ride!
Copyright 2016 , FasCat Coaching
Jake is an Associate Coach for FasCat Coaching in Boulder, CO. He is a former professional road racer and current full time professional USA cycling and TrainingPeaks certified coach. Look for him on Strava and join him on the Zwift Island of Watopia for a great indoor group ride. To talk with Jake about your indoor training and coaching, please call 720.406.7444 or fill our a New Athlete Questionnaire to set up a Coaching Consultation.