Indoor cycle training....
We are now at that time of year, where indoor training is firmly part (if not all) of the weekly cycling routine. Weekend club ride numbers are at their lowest, if they go ahead, due to the cold/wet/icy weather and given sunrise is post 8am this all combines to make staying in bed that more tempting!
So how can you keep the training going over the winter months so that come Spring you’re ready to hit the road once again and build up the outdoor km’s?
Keep the legs turning on the static turbo trainer
Winter training is a great opportunity to do some static bike work on increasing power, smoothing your peddle stroke, improving your overall technique, doing some cadence drills, you can even practice your single leg peddling (it’s a thing and it works, trust us)! That’s because all of these can be worked on with training programmes which are less than an hour. We find this is great as given the static nature of sitting on a turbo for longer than 60 mins can test a riders saddle…..endurance!
Shorter but more intense sessions are the order of the day, but this does mean that you should keep an eye on your hydration levels as training indoors can lead to more sweating (don’t forget to protect your bike with a sweat cover or towel) as you don’t have the cool effect of the air, even if you have an industrial sized fan in your pain cave. Remember to also keep an eye on your calorie intake as you could be burning more than you realise.
If you need some structure to your sessions now could be the time to sign up to a training plan either with a cycle coach or using one of the off-the-shelf plans in Zwift, Peloton, Watt Bike etc. These will help make sure you are doing the right sessions at the right time and keep things focused and interesting, rather than doing the same workout over and over again.
It’s always to lay down a baseline for your training so undertaking an FTP test at the start of winter is a great (Type 2 fun) way of seeing where you currently are re fitness/power output. You can then take a second towards the end of your winter programme to understand how your training has gone.
Get some motivation – set a target
It’s always nice to have something to look forward to in the summer months. So why not book a cycling holiday, sportive or just put a date in the diary for an epic ride. This will give you focus for the type of training you should be doing and the reason to train on the days you aren’t quite feeling it. There are so many cycling challenges out there across the country, such as the two extremely challenging sportives run by our friends at STRUGGLE.
Strength & Conditioning (S&C) work
Time to hit the gym, Home work out or Pilates class the choice is yours. Adding a S&C element to your weekly training is often overlooked by many cyclists, but it helps build strength and endurance ready for the spring. Working your legs, core and upper body It helps with your bike handling, speed, hill climbing ability, also aids injury prevention and your general stability on the bike. The benefit of adding in a one hour session a week focused on S&C can really surprise people.
Keep an eye out for your January 2022’s boxes which has a handy cycling specific gym routine put together by our friend Simon over at Velo Performance.
The short days can sap at your motivation, so if you’re lacking on days maybe look to do a virtual group ride on Zwift or maybe enter a virtual race which have become very popular thanks to lockdown. Some cycle clubs also have weekly group rides with online chats, which can replicate the club ride as best as modern technology allows.
If you find the turbo bike to be a bit dull, try increasing the size of the screen you are using! The bigger the screen the more immersive the experience and you’ll soon be chasing down riders going up Mount Zwift!
Look after your engine
Most importantly, make sure you are giving your body what it needs to stay fit and healthy over the winter period. The lack of sunlight at this time of year can mean we are lacking in vitamin D (the Sunshine vitamin), so ensuring you are getting this important vitamin, which is essential for good health. As is keeping your vitamin C levels topped up to help keep the colds and bugs away. VitxCycle has your back here!
Also, make sure you are eating correctly with what you need to fuel your winter training. If you are reducing your endurance work and upping the intensity workload with some S&C sessions then look to ensure you are matching this with the levels of carbohydrates and protein you’re consuming. The latter being important when focussing on S&C work as helps repair and build muscle.
Whatever you do with your training over the winter, we hope it goes well and you emerge in the spring ready to dust down the summer bike and get back out on the road.
Happy (indoor) cycling!