A good way to mix up the monotony of the trainer is get a great playlist. Alternate going harder to one song and easy the next. You can do this for big gear work, intensity efforts, high cadence spinning and one legged drills. You can also alternate between aero position, sitting upright and standing. Try visualization techniques Imagine yourself racing during one song and let it go for the next. Music is the easiest way to make your ride exciting.
In order to build or maintain your fitness these next few months, consistency is key. Ride a minimum of two to four times per week for results. Aim for one to three shorter rides (intervals and steady state riding) and and at least one longer ride. One long ride a week (around two hours) that builds over the next few months will leave you feeling fitter and ready for more endurance work by the spring.
Intensity over endurance
When grinding on the trainer indoors seems mentally tough, use high intensity intervals to get the most out of a one-hour workout. For example, try one minute of all-out effort followed by one minute easy. Repeat this up to 20 times after a quick warm-up and you’ll feel like you got in a great workout by the end of the hour.
One weekly long ride
Don’t neglect building endurance on the bike over the winter. One long ride that builds by 10 – 15% each week during winter will give you great endurance come spring. For these rides, keep an aerobic effort. Start your first week at 90 minutes. I use movies and alternate positions to help offset the boredom during these rides. Use heart-rate and power data to understand your efforts and set reasonable goals.
Interval workouts can be effective in as short as 45 – 60 minutes on the trainer. Here are a few interval workouts I enjoy:
- Big gear/little gear: Alternate in the big gear and little gear for five minutes each
- Ladder: Find your aerobic tempo and hold this for one, three, five, seven, and nine minutes with two minutes easy spin. Repeat back down the ladder.
- Tabata: Sprint for 10 – 20 seconds by speeding up your cadence and going all-out. Rest for a short 10-second interval. Repeat 10 times. These intervals are a great ways to make gains in your Vo2 Max.