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Though we may live for riding outdoors with the warm sun on our backs, this is often not an option given the weather or indeed, as a result of global events like the one we are experiencing now. There’s no doubt that your health and fitness are better off riding than sitting on the sofa, so to get excited about indoor training we’ve pulled together some top tips.
The same way you’d set your bike up to ride outside, set your indoor space to be functional, comfortable and enjoyable.
This includes not just your bike and the trainer, but some of the key accessories. If you have any old phone books (or large volume books), you can use these to stimulate your climbing position on the bike by raising the front wheel higher. And what better use of old phone books than to call in delivery order for when you’re in the recovery zone. A fan will help, or position the bike in front of an open window. Modes of entertainment are key: whether this is a laptop, a TV screen, a stereo, AfterShokz headphones, your iPod, a smartphone… Anything that can help keep you motivated and moving. Time tends to slow down a bit when riding indoors so anything that can help pass the time is a great tool to use. We love podcasts and music! Make use of virtual platforms such as Zwift to turn the training session into a game.
A bar stool helps so you can place your phone, water bottle, and remote within reach. A towel on the handlebars is a quick-dry way to mop up all that sweat (or tears), and keep the floor from becoming a mini lake. Remember to try and create as much space as possible to lessen any claustrophobia feelings.
When it gets to the actual pedaling part, having a goal to work towards can be really helpful. This could be simply improving your FTP (functional threshold power) or be a time/distance-based goal. There are plenty of online races if you’re seeking a competitive edge against others! Set the goal, and then establish the training plan to get you there. Having a weekly plan takes the temptation away from missing a session or two and then falling off the wagon completely. Include how many days per week you want to train, how long you want a session to last, and what kind of ride you intend to do (e.g. high-intensity intervals, recovery). Setting when you’re going to ride also creates routine and makes it more likely for you to stay committed.
What you wear when cycling indoors can make or break a ride the same as if you were headed out on the road and not dressed for the occasion. Pedaling on a stationary bike can take a toll on your backside, so be sure to wear a decent pair of padded shorts and apply chamois cream to prevent chafing. Your cycling jersey can be left in the wardrobe - no need for all those pockets! If you are a person who prefers not to carry smartphones, feel free to check out our complete waterproof MP3 player: Xtrainerz, or our blog: Aeropex vs. Xtrainerz. If the room you’re pedaling in provides enough warmth, many cyclists will enjoy wearing a simple base layer.
Remember to embrace sessions as they happen: sometimes you’ll be reduced to a crumpled sweaty mess by the end, and sometimes you may just want to jump on the bike for an easy spin to binge-watch your new favorite Netflix show. Either is fine - the main point is you’re continuing to move!
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