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‘Tis the season for indoor riding!! Blog by Tara Norton

‘Tis the season for indoor riding!!

As the many centimetres of snow fall and the minus 20 degree weather sets in, most of us (not all of us – I do know a few people who layer up well and ride outdoors all year) move our cycling training indoors. While most people loathe the trainer rides, I would like to point out the great aspects of indoor riding in the hopes I can help you to be more motivated to keep up your cycling in the winter months, and emerge in the spring stronger than ever…

While some may say that those who ride outdoors all year are a bit nutty, you could also say that I am one of the nutsos who actually likes trainer rides. Even in the summer months, if I am unable to get out of the city to train on a good cycling route without the dangers of traffic and the interruptions of stops at multiple intersections, I will ride on my Computrainer. As Head Coach at Absolute Endurance Training and Therapy, I also teach four weekly Computrainer classes, and the many classes offered run all year. The Computrainer is a great way to simulate outdoor riding (fluid trainers work but the Computrainers feel more ‘real’). You can ride specific courses on the Computrainer and our group rides lately have included the Hawaii Ironman, Wildflower, Ironman UK, Ironman Germany, Ironman Canada, and the list goes on…

Here are my top 10 pros of indoor riding:

  1. As I mentioned above, you can ride specific courses (on the Computrainer). If you are racing Ironman Canada, why not ride the course now (multiple times even). Then when you get to race-day you know you will be ready!
  2. It is a great way to do a very specific workout with set intervals without the interruption of intersections and traffic, or squirrels running across the road in-front of you. This makes it easier to train exact systems (such as aerobic or endurance vs. anaerobic) by training easily and for a given time interval within certain heart rate zones. You can also do your own specific interval workouts by riding specific target watts.
  3. Indoor riding is a great intense workout without the free-wheel coasting that happens out on the road. You can ride for less time and get similar benefits to a longer outdoor ride. Of course, there are benefits to riding long outdoors, but there is lots of time for those endurance rides come summer-time.
  4. You can meet friends and motivate each other and spend some social time together talking triathlon goals (non-triathlete friends often don’t care so much about our tri talk!).
  5. Even non-sweaters find beads of sweat dripping down and off the tips of their noses, so these great workouts are also good detox sweat-fests.
  6. You can do specific drills like one-legged drills to work on your form and pedal stroke efficiency. This will translate well once out on the road. A more effective pedal stroke means a faster ride.
  7. You can compare similar workout results and very objectively see how you are improving as your training progresses.
  8. It is harder to stay motivated on a long indoor ride, so you gain mental toughness that we all know is what separates the great from the even greater athletes.
  9. If you cannot ride out your door, indoor rides save valuable time. I know that for most of us, there are not enough hours in the day to get it all done!
  10. You don’t have to clean your bike after the ride (ok, well, maybe wipe the sweat off of it but that is a quick and easy clean)!

Time to start your Indoor Riding Season and get STRONG!!!
Thanks for reading,