Tips for embracing the indoor life
We are still in social distancing mode here in Australia. With rules and regulations governing exercise and outdoor time varying from state to state, one thing the police definitely can't fine you for is training inside.
As an old of indoor training: having long embraced the erg life, this stage in world history has prompted me to really reach out and look into new technology available to engage myself and my athletes beyond the one or two sessions they may do indoors in a week, to make it a reasonable choice to train inside a majority of the time.
As such I have put together a basic list of things that make life a whole lot easier when training inside.
1. Set up your space.
If you look online at indoor trainer set-ups, some people have pristine spare rooms set up meticulously, with the whole shebang of trainer, trainer desk for laptop or ipad, fan and aircon and sometimes even other adjuncts like the Wahoo KickR Climb unit. While this is all pretty cool, you don't have to have a space like this. For example, we have a two-car shed with the bike in it, a workshop bench and a whole heap of tools and usual stuff you find in a shed, like helmets and oversized novelty cheques. Nope, it's not going to win the "prettiest trainer set-up" award but the space is fine to sweat all over the (cement) floor and it's far enough from the house that I can use an industrial-sized fan in the early hours of the morning without waking the family up.
My trainer set-up: a dingy shed that's not winning any prizes for aesthetics, but ticks all the important boxes such as huge fan, bike and trainer, bench for computer/ipad (if using training apps) a towel and some water, roadside worker cones and giant novelty cheques)
2. Pick your weapon.
To train inside you need some kind of trainer, and a measuring device. At a minimum a speed sensor that can gauge changes in speed and you could use RPE if you're really crunchy-granola, but heart rate monitor allows for better quantification of your training; power even more so. If you have a standard trainer and a bike equipped with a power metre, you can access third-party apps (like Zwift, FullGaz, TrainerRoad etc) meaning that you don't necessarily need to go and run out to buy a smart trainer, you can use an old school wheel drive trainer and get it done. If you want to upgrade your trainer, you can't go past current trainers such as the Wahoo KickR or TacX Neo range of trainers (for more Trainer buying guides check out DC Rainmaker's trainer articles here).
3. Get ready for the session.
Before you start your ride, make sure your connectivity is up to date. Technology is a blessing and a curse, and connectivity is probably the main headache people complain of when trying to get everything to sync, then upload to training software. If you have a planned session at a planned time (ie: a Zwift meetup), get there before and have your towel, water, any snacks you forsee yourself eating, computer, cycling computer (if recording separately), heart rate monitor, music source (if using) all ready to go. It's simple once you have done it a few times but there are many factors that go into making your trainer time enjoyable compared to dire and unpleasant.
4. Have a plan.
The idea of indoor training is much more likely to be successful and satisfying if you have a plan of what you want to achieve with the session. If you have a coach, they can send you programs to complete while on the indoor trainer, and many indoor training platforms have their own libraries of programs that you could talk to your coach about implementing. Just going on the trainer is a recipe for failure: have a few goals you want to tick off whether it be X amount of time in X zone or a series of numbers you would like to hit.
5. The aftermath
Trainer sessions are great in that you can pack a whole heap of work into a short period of time. Sure, you're not going to get the gains of a five-hour endurance ride on the trainer, but a 40–90min ride really packs a punch. Just because you're not doing the long rides, however, doesn't mean it's time to skimp on food and recovery. Eat well after your ride, stretch and recover as per a regular ride. After all, we are all stuck inside so why not spend a few more minutes making sure our bodies are in the best form for the next session that they can be?