July 11, 2019

How to Crush your Indoor Session

by Iven Bennett

What would you rather; spend upwards of two hours staring at a wall while suffering through intervals, or feel the wind* at your back as you pedal through the lush countryside** of north-west Tasmania?

*by “wind”, I mean a constant 40km/h breeze with a few 80km/h gusts thrown in the mix.

**not that you’ll be able to see any of it with all that rain in your eyes.

The thought of spending my training rides on a WattBike inside the relatively weather resistant man-cave that is my Dad’s garage seemed like heaven for about 20 seconds, which is how long it took me to realise how boring the indoor trainer is in comparison to the great outdoors.

So, for all my fellow dedicated cyclists who suffer through painful amounts of boredom when the weather forces you to stay inside, here are my top three low budget tips to help you get through those indoor sessions.

  1. Pedal with a mate: back to back indoor training sessions can take a significant toll on motivation levels, especially when there is nothing to do except watch your wattage slowly decline as time goes on. Coordinating an ergo session with a friend (or friends) is a great alternative to your regular bunch ride, and there’s nothing better than having your own personal cheer squad as you smash through your training session.
  2. Watch Le Course or Le Tour: or any other race that gets you keen to pound out some kilometres. I personally enjoy spinning my legs to footage of Matthew Hayman as he powers through to victory in the 2016 Paris-Roubaix. Something about watching the professionals suffer through the 260km race makes my session on the indoor trainer seem like a stroll in the park.
  3. Have a plan to follow: without a proper plan in place, minutes can feel like months on the ergo. You will find yourself literally counting the seconds if you don’t have something to follow. Following a plan with some short and sharp efforts to keep it interesting can be incredibly motivating and make the time melt away. There are some good high-intensity sessions on YouTube that anyone with just a basic trainer can get stuck into or even ask your local club coach for some sessions.

If you’re willing to push the budget up a little bit, go virtual! Zwift is not exactly new – but the platform keeps getting better and better. There is one rider on the team *cough*Rylan*cough* who sometimes even prefers a Zwift race or workout, rather than riding on the road when the sun is shining!

Hopefully, these tips help you through the next month or so before we get that spring weather! If you still can’t get through an indoor trainer session, the next best thing might have to be a cup of concrete: sometimes, the best solution to indoor trainer boredom is to go outside and brave the weather. Just remember to charge your lights beforehand and wear a brightly coloured outer layer!