It seems that just as we thought we might be out of the woods as far as the winter weather is concerned, it has re-appeared to play havoc with everyone’s riding plans. I thought this was an opportune moment to highlight what can actually be achieved indoors on a stationary trainer or a set of rollers. Personally I have both, and pick and choose which one to use according to the prescribed session. I opt for rollers when I’ve got any sub-maximal efforts planned or when I want to work on leg speed and pedalling efficiency, while my Cycleops trainer emerges when I’ve got some really hard intervals to do and I want to get more resistance at a relatively low cadence.
I am not really a fan of riding in the dark, so throughout the dark mornings and evenings most of my rides are done indoors and I get out whenever I can for longer rides at the weekends. Although every winter I feel that I am not getting enough hours in I continue to be impressed with the gains that can be made with relatively little time. I like to train by numbers and despite the low weekly volume of training they still head in the right direction; for the numbers fans out there I have been able to add 5% to my threshold power since the start of the ‘snowy season’ and I’ve only been out on the roads twice!
The key to any training is to have a clear goal for each session and be aware of what you are trying to get out of it in the long term. This need is highlighted indoors because it is so dull compared to getting out in the open air. I have found that rollers help alleviate boredom massively, and make longer intervals feel much less of a chore, but the best mental aid is to have the session plan well sorted in your head; if you make it up as you go along it won’t be long before you decide you’ve had enough and then you might have just completely wasted that time. Obviously I am focussing personally on road racing and the associated physical requirements but its not just roadies who can make the most of indoor training. Whether it’s cross country, downhill, sportive riding or touring all disciplines of cycling have a fitness element which can be improved. It is by understanding what these demands are and how your current ability fits in with them that you are really able to make the most of each ride, be it indoors or out.
Luckily we are well equipped and qualified to help with this! We can run various fitness assessments to create a ‘profile’ of your cycling ability, and then suggest ways to improve. You can even come back for further tests to actually monitor your progress towards whatever goals you have in mind.
Just get in touch to find out more!