This piece is one in a series of blog posts that I wrote for Decathlon UK in the spring of 2019. I am reposting a selection of blogs that have some useful activities, activities, and tips for you to do at home during our shared global battle with the novel corona virus COVID-19. — Wendy
Never mind that summer races are won in the winter, training in poor conditions can turn your fitness ambitions into an exercise in self-destruction.
Indoor cycling with a turbo trainer checks all the boxes for an efficient, intense, and safe training session. Here are some ideas to make your cycling turbo trainer sessions fun as well!
How to pedal a path to the podium instead of a road to nowhere.
Never mind that summer races are won in the winter, training in cold, wet weather can turn your fitness ambitions into an exercise in self-destruction. Indoor training with a turbo trainer solves a lot of other bothers besides weather, like riding in traffic, puncturing a tyre, getting passed on climbs, and trying to stay fit while recovering from an injury. Training with a turbo trainer is also more efficient for the time-crunched rider plus, there’s no need to obey daylight hours when training indoors. However, if your idea of indoor training is mounting your bike on your turbo trainer, throwing your leg over it and pedalling into monotony, boredom will soon follow you on your road to nowhere. Liven up your ride with these training ideas for your indoor cycling turbo trainer.
Before you start pedalling, choose a proper turbo trainer
Turbo trainers are devices that make it possible for you to ride your own bike in a stationary manner. Trainers — or turbos — span a range of designs and technologies with prices that reflect the differences. Pedalling resistance, noise, pedal simulation, portability, and stability mark the main turbo trainer features, but where you live and how well you get along with your neighbours also bear weight when it comes to buying a turbo trainer.
If budget leads your selection process, then next up should be the noise factor, since some turbos can be quite loud to use. An economical way to solve this is to place a mat between your turbo and the floor to dampen the decibels put out by your turbo trainer. Decathlon sells mats specifically for this purpose.
It’s also a good idea to dedicate space in your home where you’ll do your indoor training. Some people opt for an unheated garage or basement to keep cool because working up a sweat when cycling inside can happen in no time. Training near an open window or a fan is a typical fix for this issue.
These dedicated indoor training spaces often adopt whimsical names, like “Pain Cave” or “Hurt Hut”, which suggest suffering but can actually be a lot of fun once you get going, so head inside and let’s ride!
- Cycling apps for turbo trainers – Go on your favourite ride, train like a pro, race a friend, or join a group ride with fellow cyclists from around the world without pulling on your gloves or booties. Sophisticated cycling apps, like Zwift, create virtual realities, either from user-generated GPS data or through virtual worlds manufactured by the app’s creator. Hardware requirements may be as minimal as a speed sensor or a turbo trainer cycling computer, or as advanced as a smart cycle turbo trainer, which wirelessly interacts with the app to adjust resistance according to your workout. You can also download Decathlon’s B’Twin turbo trainer app, which provides workouts and training plans. Video ride simulations banish boredom while some apps’ gaming elements may cause you to ride inside even when it’s nice out!
- Online training videos (and get this, they’re free!) – Search the web for “free indoor cycling training videos” and you’ll likely be able to find at least a few suitable options out of the hundreds of results that turn up. There are straightforward training videos that are simply text on the screen that tells you what to do, or there are virtual indoor cycling classes with an instructor to lead the class (and offer some well-timed encouragement). Or, shorten your search by going directly to the Global Cycling Network’s YouTube channel to browse its cycle training playlists.
- Go for a virtually guiltless spin – Indoor cycling isn’t just about training, racing, or collecting data, it’s also about just moving the legs when going outside isn’t an option, like when you’re recovering from an injury. Make it a rule that bingeing on a streaming video series or watching a movie are only permitted when the turbo trainer is in action too.
- Return to the races – Even if you’ve never pinned on a race number, imagine yourself slipping into some of the world’s most iconic bike races to compete elbow-to-elbow against history’s greatest racers. The WWW is home to hours of race highlights in which you can project yourself into the peloton or the pack among some of the most recognizable names in pro bike racing. Your local library may even have full-length DVD’s of past races that’ll for sure spark a podium pursuit if racing is in your blood.
- Sign up with an online coach – Hold yourself accountable with a turbo training routine designed and managed by a certified cycling coach. Online training solutions not only feature training plans adapted to turbo trainers, but most can also match you with a coach who is ideally suited to work with you, no matter where you are in the world. Smartphone apps that record your training efforts share the resulting data with your coach, who will craft a custom turbo trainer plan and then hold you to it.
The best cycling turbo trainer is the one that will get a workout too. In other words, committing to cycling inside might take a little effort and planning to get started at first, but once you’re off and rolling, training with a turbo trainer is a perfect way to some suffer-free fun while getting fit.
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