Indoor Training Tips

Indoor Training Tips to help with those winter training sessions

Winter’s coming and with the shorter days and worsening weather, a lot of us will be heading indoors. Training indoors can help maintain and even improve your fitness for next year. All that sweat can be put to good use, making sure you’re ready to make the most of the season. It can be an unpleasant experience though, so here are some indoor training tips to make the suffering a little more bearable.

Get yourself a fan

Riding indoors the first thing you’ll notice is how much you sweat! Outdoors this isn’t really a problem. As you ride, that high-tec clothing you’re wearing, sucks up the sweat and transports it to the exterior of your clothing. From here it’s evaporated away as you speed through the air, wonderful.

However, indoor training means you’re pedalling furiously, but going nowhere. Which means all that sweat isn’t going anywhere either. You could use any old fan or something dedicated like the Elite Aria or the Wahoo Headwind.

So get a fan, the bigger the better. Some people will use two, anything to keep them cool. You could also invest in some of Nopinz’s Subzero bibs. These use a mesh material and pockets for ice-packs to keep you cool.

Don’t forget your bottle

The amount of times I’ve jumped on the turbo, only to have to get off because I forgot my bottle is… a lot! Riding indoors can be very hot – you did get that fan right? So you will need to drink more, make sure you take your bottle down. Depending on the type of riding you’re doing, you might find you’re actually drinking more, so take that bottle. As to what you’re putting in it, that will depend on the session you’re doing and what you like, I’ll let you decide what works best.

Use a direct drive trainer

I spend a lot of time on my trainer, not because I like it, but because it fits in with my family/work life. Short sessions during the week are much easier to slot in if I do them on the turbo, leaving the weekend for longer rides outdoors; as long as I promise to do my chores when I get back! Add in the increased riding you’ll be doing over the winter and you’ll want to use a decent trainer.

While a dedicated smart-bike like the Wattbike Atom is an awesome bit of kit, it might be out of your price range. The alternatives are a direct-drive or a wheel-on trainer. Both allow you to use your own bike, which means you’ll be using your own kit and positioning.

With direct-drive, you remove your rear wheel and turn a cassette connected to the trainer. The wheel-on units are more like old-fashioned ‘turbo’s in that your rear wheel turns a roller. Users say that the direct-drive units deliver a much better and quieter experience. The last is particularly important if you’re training inside.

A new addition is the Zwift Hub One, this is a direct-drive unit that uses a single-speed cog that will work with any 8-12 speed bike. This makes it simple for you to swap bikes and it’s priced very keenly, considering it also uses virtual gearing, at £549.

There will be sweat

No matter how big your fan, you will sweat and those beads will roll off your nose and on to your bike. There they will join with all the others and over time start to corrode. So stop them before they can do any more damage. A simple towel placed over your bars will help stop them and also stop your your levers turning into a soggy mess. Of course you use a dedicated one like the Nopinz Champions towel, with its motivational slogan, or Elite’s Zugaman. Don’t forget that what drips off you, also goes on the floor! So if you’re training somewhere nicer than me in the garage, put something down to protect it.

Probably the cheapest indoor training tip; get a towel!
Probably the cheapest indoor training tip; get a towel!

Maintain your bike

Maintaining your bike is something we all try and keep an eye on, right? What about your trainer bike though? If you have a smart bike, it’s pretty simple, a quick wipe down after a session. If, however you’re using your own bike then you will have to keep an eye on it. As well as the aforementioned sweat reeking havoc with the metal parts of your bike, you’ll still have to clean and lube the chain.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on chain wear and bearings as well if you’re a monster indoor trainer. Personally I use an old training bike that has seen better days for my sessions. It definitely needs some new bits, but I figure the extra effort required to turn the pedals is an added training benefit!

Indoor Training Tips

So there you are, some simple indoor training tips to help keep you going over the winter. While for most of us indoor riding is a necessary evil to improve our outdoor performance, it can be a great help. So we may as well try and make it as bearable as possible. After all if all those indoor winter miles, translate to summer smiles, then it’s worth it. Keep an eye out for any more indoor training tips and equipment over the winter.

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