Having recently bought an begun to use an indoor trainers I have come to the realisation that it is probably the most boring activity that there can be, however I am a convert and given the fact that weather is akin to Siberia at the moment I am grateful that I can get some mileage done and keep the fat man within me at a distance. This guide to indoor training will give you some insight into the different types of indoor trainers that you can buy as well as some preperation and training tips to make every minute that you sit on the indoor trainer effective and how to break the motony of indoor training.
A turbo trainer is an indoor cycling device that allows you to use your road bike and cycle indoors. It typically comprises as shown in the photo and allows you to put your back wheel onto it, which allows you to pedal whilst remaining stationary. There are several types of these devices, some with varying degrees of technology and ability, for instance some come with the ability to use a control on your handlebars to change the resistance of the rollers and others can allow you to train virtually with connectivity to the TV. The benefits of these devices are that you are fixed and do not have to worry about stability on the bicycle. This is especially convenient when trying to simulate climbing on the bicycle and when you do not want to worry about balance.
A rollers consists of a series of a device with three wheels which you put your bicycle onto and allows you to pedal whilst being stationary. A rollers provides no stability and it is up to the rider to balance themselves on the bike. There are advantages and disadvantages that a set of rollers has over a turbo trainer. Firstly a rollers is typically (but not always) cheaper that a turbo trainer. Also the fact that you have to constantly concentrate to balance yourself on the bike can either be looked as either a good or bad point. I find it good in that it improves my overall balance on the bike in general and I have to work harder for the same effect. One drawback I find is that is is difficult to specialise the training, for example getting off the saddle to try sprinting is difficult. The fact that I am constantly thinking about not falling off also can de a downside but I try to make a positive out of it. The rollers is perfect if you are confident on the bike and are mostly interested in spinning the legs, which I am quite happy to do and leave the specialist training to the road. Just make sure you are not too far away from something to hold onto incase you fall off!
Training indoors is quiet a different experience from cycling outdoors. For a start cycling indoors is a very condensed effort as there are no opportunities to freewheel. If I freewheel on the rollers, I could easily fall off as there is no momentum to carry me. In preparing for a session indoors, make sure to have the following:
- Bike and Rollers Setup
- Cycling gear on (be wary of cycling shoes and pedals until you are used to it)
- A drink
- A towel, headband and sweat gear (you will have to get used to sweating buckets!)
Normally before starting it is advisable to stretch and generally loosen up.
Break the monotony
If you are anyway normal you will find it very difficult not to be bored on the indoor trainers. To keep the sanity, people normally have a tv or mp3 player on. This will satify some of the monotony but I would advise using milestoners during the cycle to keep you motivated. Normally I try to break down the cycle into ten minute blocks. After the first ten minutes of a warm up I will try to structure each ten minutes into a period of gradual pace setting whereby I will aim to be building a gradual speed and save a pretty good effort until the last 2 minutes 30 of each ten minute block ensuring again that the last ten minutes are dedicatd to a warm down.