Where We Ride: Inside (Our Staff's Indoor Training Tips)
A lot of the Century Cycles staff continue to ride outside year 'round no matter what the weather. But, many of us also take to indoor training during the off-season. Here are some tips from the staff at all three stores on making the most of your indoor cycling.
Ryan from the Peninsula store suggests taking your trainer to a friend's house, because training with somebody else helps mix it up, instead of staring at your same old basement wall. "It helps if your friend has a big TV or great music collection." Krista from Rocky River concurs that having an assortment of energetic or intense music helps (she prefers heavy metal). Doug from Peninsula likes to follow the latest episodes of his favorite TV shows while riding his trainer; the show is the motivation and reward for getting the training session in.
Rich in Peninsula suggests training in the mornings, before the issues of work, family, and other daily distractions take over, or, as Krista says, before the brain has a chance to talk you out of it. Krista suggests setting out your workout clothes the night before, so you can get dressed to train as soon as your feet hit the floor. She also says that it also helps to have a goal (the MS150, TOSRV, a triathlon, or class reunion?).
Other things that Krista suggests having ready are a towel to wipe off sweat, plus a fan set up in front of the trainer to keep sweat to a minimum to begin with, since you don't have the benefit of a breeze to cool you off and dry off your sweat, like when you're riding outside. Get some water with electrolytes; enough for during the ride, and one bottle for immediately after. Have a small nibble before your ride, as well as one handy for during, such as an energy gel or blocks, as they digest easily without much chewing. (Bonking on a ride? Uncool. Bonking on the trainer? SO uncool.) Use a heart monitor if you want to train in target heart rate zones.
Ken from Rocky River recommends that you shoot for a spinning rate of about 80-90rpm, rather than pedaling in your hardest gear the whole time. You can mix in some different cadence for specific training (e.g. hill-climbing, time-trial, sprinting). Kevin from Peninsula says this is even easier if you use training videos. It's like having an on-screen coach to step you through a specific training program, who tells you what gear you should be in, even what your cadence should be, with prescribed intervals of easy and hard efforts and recovery (not to mention built-in motivational music). The indoor trainers from CycleOps even include a training DVD!
Tom from Medina is our resident indoor training guru. His goal this year is to ride an indoor double-century (200 miles!). He says that the hardest part about indoor training for him is the 20 minutes before he gets on the bike, the mental part. Once he's on the bike, the physical part is easy. Tom uses a highly structured training program based on power measurement, using a PowerTap rear hub on his bike and a pre-scheduled workout with specific power goals. The scheduled workouts help him stick to his training, and the power generation is a much more objective and easier-to-measure aspect of your performance, compared to say, perceived exertionm and it's a much easier way to gauge your progress. For example, if you generate a certain amount of power in a given amount of time one day, and the next day you generate the same amount of power, but your heart rate is lower and/or the distance you ride is longer, then you know that you've improved. Using power training also lets you target specific types of training; e.g. you can do aerobic workouts, anaerobic workouts, or workouts in the "sweet spot," i.e. 87-93% of your VO2Max. All of these workouts target different systems in your body, for a total training program.
Finally, winter is the ideal time for cross-training, so mix it up and give the upper body a good workout, too. Krista's favorites are swimming, strength training, elliptical, treadmill, Nordic track, and rowing. Kevin says "Get outside and take a hike, or when the snow flies, try cross-country skiing."