Five ways to make your indoor trainer sessions more effective
1. Avoid the “staring at your speedometer slump”
Bad posture can really affect power production. While coaching, I noticed that most athletes ride in a slump. Literally. Especially when they’re going at it out of the saddle staring at their power meter or speedometer. I’ve made this mistake as well. I noticed that if I shifted my gaze to the point where the wall intersects the ceiling, it was way easier to maintain the same workload. I’ve heard good posture also makes you more attractive. So you’ll also have that going for you! (Not that you’ve really got to worry about that if you’re already into triathlons…)
2. Watch race videos
Just because your working out doesn’t mean you can’t get smarter at the same time. Race highlights contain great interviews and tips that will better prepare you for race day. You’ll also find yourself extra motivated when you’re watching your arch-nemesis pound it out on the Queen K or celebrating in the infamous Challenge Roth stadium. These days you can find pretty much anything online. In the weeks leading up to some big races, I’ll often put the previoius years race on the TV and pretend I’m out there on the course. You’ll get lots of great tips and a good idea about what to expect on race day! I have found the Ironman Asia-Pacific videos to be particularly informative in recent months. I also recommend going way back and watching Old-School Ironman Canada videos. Both links can be found at:
3. Practice mental strategies
Indoor workouts are a great way to experiment with yourself to find out what mental strategies work best for you. Experiment with having lots of distractions and focusing purely on the numbers. Experiment with different mantras and positive self-talk. Try slow calming music and fast, supercharged songs. Think about attacking some intervals and having patience on others. Everyone is different. Find out what works best for you and apply that to the road.
4. Imagine your self out on the road.
During longer efforts I find it useful to imagine myself out on the road on parts of my favourite races, especially during race pace efforts. I always imagine myself riding strong, efficient and rocketing down the road. You can also setup your workout to mimic your favourite race course. Plan out low cadence and out of the saddle work for hills, aerobar riding for flats, and fastest cadence work for descents. When race day comes you’ll feel like you’ve already crushed the course a thousand times.
5. Practice with a mirror.
I know mirrors at Gyms are mostly used for vanity purposes, but they’re there to help ensure you good form. The same principle can be applied to indoor spinning. A mirror is a great tool for eliminating inefficient bouncing and unwanted upper body movement. It can also be used to fine-tune your low aerodynamic position. Just don’t do this too often, otherwise next thing you know you’ll be planning out your outfit for your spin workout or making sure your hair looks good…