Training Tips: How to Survive the Indoor Trainer

Surviving Trainer Season

If you follow a periodized training schedule but live in a cold climate it is really hard to get in those hours of long slow endurance rides. This is the time where these indoor workouts can be helpful on the rollers or indoor trainer. Some of my favorite workouts in the winter include a version of Over/Unders based on whatever training zone you are working on at the moment. You can do these based on RPE, HR or Power. But remember your heart rate doesn’t necessarily adjust for the effort until around 45 sec or so, so you need to go by feel at the beginning of the interval. Settle in and go.

Here are a few of my favorite workouts for you to do:

  1. Endurance Over/Unders: Warm up for a good 10 min with fast spins, single leg work and then hit the lap button on your computer.  Do a 10 min test of what feels like your endurance power/HR/Effort and record that average. I then recommend you take that average +/- 10-20% and make the + be your over number and the – be your under number. (Endurnace power is 56-75% of FTP, Recovery is <55%, Tempo is 76-90%). Then I recommend doing a longer interval of anywhere from 30-50 min where you alternate a certain period of time over/under. For instance 3over/2 under 9 times is 45 min . Then you can cool down and stretch and you have done a good 1 hour 15 minutes. If you have the patience or time to stay indoors longer than you can always increase the workout total time to be 90 min or even 2 hours but I find after that it is hard to stay motivated.
  2. Microbursts: Get in a good 30 min warm up as you are going to be going hard during this workout. This is a shorter workout but with ample recovery has been shown to help increase your fitness. Once you are warmed up (do some single leg work and high cadence work as part of warm up) you can do anywhere from 2-4 minute intervals where you go all out 15 sec then recover 15 sec. For the all out don’t even look at power or heart rate just go. Be sure to push a hard enough gear that you are not bouncing out of the saddle. You should recover for 1-1.5 times the length of the interval. Usually 3 or so of these intervals is plenty then cool down and stretch. Over time you can increase the length of time to 30 sec on/30s sec off but again you must give yourself at least 1.5-2 times recovery in between intervals. Then cool down 15-20 min and you are done.

For all of these workouts, even though they are short, you need to stay well hydrated and take in some electrolytes and carbohydrates to fuel your workout. Try to have a fan and good ventilation in your place you are working out as overheating can really ruin your workout and your recovery.

Another thing to be sure of is to eat well, take in good recovery food/drink, after you finish these workouts. The stress produced is high and if you don’t take in good recovery fuel your immune system can be compromised and you may get sick. Since fall and winter is the time all of the bugs are out there you don’t want to be held back by an illness.

Stay tuned for more Training Tips and Tricks. Next up is Strength Training for the Offseason.