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Ten tips for productive indoor training

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Recently we’ve talked a lot about winter training on the blog. When the nights draw in, the days get colder, and you start thinking about dusting off the turbo. Training on the turbo can be a great way to boost your fitness. Unfortunately, it can also lead to burnout as, let’s face it – the turbo isn’t fun, and it is hard work. Check out these tips to help you stay productive on the turbo trainer in winter.

Virtual training software

Virtual training platforms have taken off in the last few years. Rouvy is very realistic, and other apps are more ‘gamified’ like Zwift. Whichever app you decide to use, the added enjoyment of being in a virtual world will help you stay motivated, meanings you’re more likely to hop on the turbo in the early mornings and dark evenings. Many Apps provide analytics which can help spot your weaknesses. The data will help you target training in weaker areas and become a more well-rounded athlete.

Ten tips for productive indoor training

Smart trainer

This item is not vital, but it will help. Having an intelligent trainer work in tandem with one of the training apps will allow you to feel the undulations of the ones and zeros of the virtual road in front of you. Anything that makes the turbo more fun will have you on it more! On top of this, erg mode means you will be riding your intervals at the same power prescribed. Doing your hard sessions at the correct intensity ensures you’ll make the intended adaptations and helps avoid over or under training.

Temperature control

We know that training in the heat can make you faster, but training in an environment where you can decide your training climate will also improve productivity. It also means you can match your training environment to your racing environment, as specificity is an essential principle of training. Having your indoor set up in a space where you can tightly control the climate can help you be more productive on the turbo!

Nutrition

Known as the fourth discipline of Ironman, triathlon nutrition is vital for productive training sessions. Making sure to consume enough carbohydrates during your training will mean that you can train harder and recover faster. Aim for 80-90 grams of carbohydrate per hour for more demanding training sessions. Training indoors means you have no constraints on the amount of nutrition you can carry, making it easier to control.

Hydration

Indoor training is synonymous with heat, and heat means sweat. Consuming a high sodium product that matches your sweat sodium concentration and sweat rate will help you avoid those dehydration cramps, headaches and improve recovery. Hydrating and keeping on top of your nutrition can help you avoid injury (according to Training Peaks) and stay consistent.

Don’t race all the time. Race sometimes..

Zwift races are enjoyable. They’re also usually quite hard. I know people who never race on Zwift and others who race almost every day. There’s a middle ground – doing one race a week on Zwift is a great way to get some unstructured intensity in place of the local weeknight chain gang, avoiding the monotony of intervals. Make sure to allow for sufficient recovery between challenging races.

Test, train and re-test

Indoor training allows tight control of the intensity we ride at, which you cannot match int he real world. Being able to control intensity means we can test our fitness levels using a ramp test or other protocol. Many options are available cross-platform, and they all have their own merits and pitfalls, which could make an article in its own right. Test, complete an eight-week training cycle, and then re-test. Any shorter, and it’s tricky to be sure you have made adaptations – any longer than eight-weeks and you might start to lose focus.

Embrace the pain

Indoor training can be a bit miserable. For example, a 3 hour 45, minute ride with two lots of one hour at 90% of FTP is not pretty but it will make racing feel a lot easier! Embrace the misery and race hard, knowing you’ve handled worse on the turbo. Mental training is as essential as physical training, and nothing teaches you to suffer quite like the turbo.

Meet your friends

The internet has many merits and pitfalls, but the ability to communicate with people we like remotely is terrific. Meeting up with your pals for a group ride or group training session is a great way to stay accountable and ensure you are consistent. Having a bit of peer pressure to make sure you’re not neglecting the hard work can make sure you get the most out of yourself every time you jump on Zwift.

Recover hard

Training indoors is extremely time-efficient, especially in winter. There’s less kit to wash and a lower probability of a mechanical. A two-hour ride takes roughly two hours and fifteen minutes of your life instead of the three an outdoor ride takes. Don’t use this extra time to train more instead, use it to focus on recovery by having a post-session meal high in protein and carbohydrates within thirty minutes of finishing. You can also use some of the extra time for strength training or yoga.

Indoor training is a great way to give your fitness a nudge this winter. By following these tips, you can stay productive during your winter on the turbo! Given that you’ll be training in your house, you might be interested in specialist home insurance for cyclists.

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