I’m sure you’ve been there.
Winter has come and you’ve decided to keep up your training through those harsh winter months.
Either keeping up the fitness you’ve gained this year.
Or perhaps getting a head start on next year.
As much as the idea of getting out no matter what might seem like a logical plan.
The reality is far from it.
Wet and cold conditions.
Ice on the roads on the harshest winter days.
Plus, you can get away with steady rides, but it’s even harder if you want to add intensity to your ride.
So our logic gives us the following:
Step one, buy the turbo trainer.
Step two, ride.
Step one is the easy part, you give your hard earned cash away and most people assume the rest will take care of itself.
I know, because I was there.
In fact, I had two major attempts at revolutionising my indoor training.
My first step was the fancy turbo trainer when I really couldn’t afford it – I told myself it would be worth it in the long run.
It got used twice, and I realised the garage was a pretty uninviting place, lonely and at the time, my training was a case of just get on the trainer and ride, and this was mistake no. 1.
The turbo ended up on eBay come the spring and got lost in the influx of turbo trainers and fancy gadgets we’ve all buy over the winter and decide to get rid of come the spring.
The second attempt the following winter was joining a premium gym that had Watt Bikes.
This over the course of winter cost me more than the original turbo trainer.
Admittedly I used these more, but my enjoyment was hit and miss.
I followed a structured plan with a friend at the time and when he was there, we had a good session.
We also turned up at an agreed time, and everything ran like clockwork.
The problem was when I rode solo.
I found I didn’t ride as hard.
My timing wasn’t there, rather than a 7am start, it would creep into 7:15 and so on.
My drive just wasn’t there.
And this was the lightbulb moment for me.
Why not combine structured indoor training with an actual physical group…
Originally we put 5 smart turbo trainers in my garage.
We filled this up pretty quickly and 6 months later, opened our first studio where we now have 10 smart turbos and 20 sessions per week on the timetable plus around 60-80 members at any one time.
I made a lot of mistakes early on so here are 5 things you can do to maximise your winter of cycling:
- Don’t ride solo, it gets dull real quick. Get a group of friends together for your turbo sessions (hire a village hall or borrow someone’s garage).
- Don’t just “ride” have some structure and goals to each session. Just riding “steady” is the worst session to do indoors, it’s fine for 20-30 minutes, any longer and your mind will be hating every second.
Break it up into smaller chunks:
Speed sessions between 1-3 minutes.
Tempo sessions between 8-12 minutes.
Hill sessions can be varied depending on your goals/goals of the group, but low cadence efforts work really well.
- Ride to a set time, humans like routine, and riding with a group keeps you accountable and your schedule running like clockwork. If you say you are going to ride at 9, start the ride at 9. If anyone is late, start without them. It sounds harsh, but the minute you start letting things slip, it’s a continuous spiral.
- Play music… loud. Sounds obvious, but one of the best things for motivation is blasting out music.
In a group getting the balance is tough (and we struggle with this too!) the trick is finding something with a beat close to your leg speed (different speeds for sprints and hill climbing sessions for example).
- Include good rest periods. Often indoors people think they need to be pushing all the time, but this makes for a really anti social session. Training doesn’t have to be anti social.
Every Monday session in the studio people are chatting about their weekend of training or events. It’s amazing to chat to everyone and see what they’ve been up to.
Factor in some good rest periods to make it social, good social makes a fun session, and if it’s fun… You’ll keep doing it.
Riding your turbo doesn’t have to be dull.
Just making a few key tweaks how you approach your session can have a major impact on how you ride.
P.S. We’ve definitely not covered all the things you can do to improve your indoor riding, let us know what tips and tricks you use in the comments below.