Feature: trainSharp top 10 Indoor Training Tips

In these uncertain times a large majority of us will be spending a considerable amount of time on our indoor trainers so here’s trainSharp’s Connor Murphy’s top 10 Indoor Training Tips

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Feature: trainSharp top 10 Indoor Training Tips

by Connor Murphy (BSc in Sport and Exercise Science and MSc in Sport and Exercise Physiology). Connor is a full-time Sports Scientist and coach for trainSharp

In these uncertain times a large majority of us will be spending a considerable amount of time on our indoor trainers. Now, that’s not to say you should panic! The indoor trainer should be a friend, not a foe. Whether you’re a complete novice or an experienced indoor training warrior, our top 10 tips could make your indoor training experience significantly more pleasurable! Please remember, this is not an exhaustive guide. If you need further guidance or information about anything turbo or training related please email paul@trainsharp.co.uk.

1. Get your position right!
trainSharp: This tip applies to your riding in general but becomes more applicable when you’re riding on an indoor trainer. There are a couple of scenarios here; you have one bike and that’s the bike you will use on an indoor trainer or you have a specific indoor set up.

For both of these scenarios you should make sure you are in an optimal position on the bike. When we ride on the indoor trainer, we are less likely to move around, i.e getting out of the saddle for climbs or stopping at junctions etc. As such, the pedalling motions will have much less variation and if these motions are in a sub optimal position, the injury potential becomes much greater which is something we should avoid at all costs!

To summarise this point, you should aim to do all of your indoor riding in the same position as your main road bike. Additionally, making sure the bike is level will make a big difference to how the bike feels.

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2. Don’t just get on and ride – have a plan
trainSharp: An indoor trainer is a tool; another tool in your toolbox that will allow you to improve your fitness or your performance, but only if used correctly. We often hear the term junk miles (riding with no real objective); this can apply to the indoor trainer too. The indoor trainer allows us to be much more specific with our training, in terms of riding for a specific purpose the indoor trainer is perfect.

Before you get on the trainer, you should think about what exactly you are going to do for you to be one step closer to achieving your goals. In general, I am referring to the type of session you are going to complete. For example, if your goal is specifically to increase your Lactate Threshold, then a Threshold session would be appropriate. If it is to improve fitness, some shorter sharper intervals may be better!

The above being said. In order to be specific about the type of training you will complete, you need to know what intensity to ride at to target a specific part of your physiology. In essence, these are training zones. There are many ways in which training zones can be set, from the simplest; using estimated maximal heart rate to the gold standard full physiological assessment which trainSharp can provide. This will allow the upmost efficiency when indoor training and training in general.

3. Pick the type of trainer wisely
trainSharp: There are various types of indoor trainer, all with varying cost. At the lower end of the spectrum, you will get the more basic trainers and rollers which apply resistance directly to the rear tyre. In the middle of the range, there are a variety of smart trainers, some direct drive and some not and at the top of the range you’ll find specific indoor training bikes such as the SRM indoor bike. All of these have their own strengths and weaknesses, so be sure to check those out before you purchase one! Our favourite indoor trainers are the SRM indoor bike and the Wahoo Kickr. If you want more detail on these, feel free to let us know and we can do a separate article.

The SRM IndoorTrainer was designed to be the ultimate, no-compromise indoor training experience — more details here.

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4. Stay entertained!
trainSharp:Staying entertained, is potentially the tip that will have the biggest impact on your indoor training sessions. One of the biggest drawbacks to indoor training is there is no mental stimulus, often you’ll just be staring at a wall. This therefore means you’re much more likely to get off because you are bored than you would if you were out on the open road. As such, it is important to stay entertained, whether that is with a good playlist, a TV series or using a virtual training tool, which leads me onto my next point.

5. Use a virtual training tool.
trainSharp:Using a virtual training tool can be very influential to indoor training success. What I am referring to are the various platforms that allow you to train online with others from around the world. Zwift is the platform with the greatest following (others are available) and has an effect of making you feel like you’re riding in the great outdoors; well nearly….

There are options to ride as a group or even have burn up in a race! Not only that, you can add custom trainSharp workouts which you can follow without having to remember your session. Using a virtual training tool can really help with the motivation on the trainer. All trainSharp workouts are compatible with all virtual training platforms and can be downloaded to your head unit and then can be completed on the road, the option is yours!

6. Use a fan.
trainSharp: Using a fan will make your indoor training experience much more pleasurable. When we ride outside, we have the air flowing across our body cooling us down and preventing us from overheating. Indoors this is not the case. Using a fan will make you significantly cooler and prevent cardiac drift; whereby there will be a competition for blood flow and your heart rate will in turn increase. This is something we should aim to avoid, so having a fan on full blast is a must!

7. Hydration and nutrition still apply.
trainSharp:Just because you are training indoors doesn’t mean hydration and nutrition should be neglected. To use an analogy, your body is like a car, it needs the right fuel to perform correctly. As such, you should ensure you focus on your diet when aiming to complete intense sessions, or sessions which are of a prolonged nature. Carbohydrates are the key, ensure you are well fuelled before training and if the session will be longer than 90 minutes, think about some on the trainer fuelling. This notion applies to hydration also; you may find in a typical indoor session, you have lost between 1-2 kg, this is sweat! It therefore goes without saying that this fluid needs replacing, both during and post training sessions.

8. Use a towel and a mat under the trainer
trainSharp:A relatively simple tip here, but one that could make all the difference. As I mentioned above, you’ll likely sweat a lot when you’re on the trainer and that sweat is probably going to drip all over the floor. Using a towel to wipe yourself can stop this from happening and improve the cleanliness of your training area significantly; it will also stop the sweat dripping into your eyes. Using a training mat will catch any extra sweat and stop the floor being damaged. The training mat will may also absorb some of the noise from the trainer and hopefully keep the neighbours and the family happy!

9. To ERG or not to ERG, that is the question.
trainSharp: ‘ERG Mode’ is a prominent feature you will find on your smart trainer, often seen on platforms like Zwift & Trainer Road. But what exactly is it? ERG mode allows you to set a specific wattage target i.e. 200 W, it will then aim to keep you there even if you adjust your cadence so if you go from 70 rpm and increase it to 120 rpm, your trainer will quickly adjust the resistance so you are still sat at 200 W. If you want to work at a very specific power output, then this is a great tool. Often, using ERG mode is down to personal preference. Think about the type of effort you are completing and ultimately, what is the aim of that session? Considering those will help you decide whether you should ride in or out of ERG mode.

10. Train with a friend.
trainSharp: Training with a partner can make all the difference. Often the trainSharp coaches train together for indoor workouts, but why you ask? There are two key reasons, reason

1: having someone else training next to you can keep you just that little bit more entertained and give you that extra morale when the session gets tough.

2: The second reason is the key reason why you should train with a partner. When training efforts get tough, we have all been in a position where we have quit and stopped the effort there and then. Having a partner there means you’re much less likely to bail on the effort, they can even give you some ‘strong verbal encouragement’ for when things get real hard!!

We hope you find these tips useful and can apply them to your indoor training. If you need further guidance or information about anything turbo or training related, please email paul@trainsharp.co.uk.

Website: https://www.trainsharpcyclecoaching.co.uk/


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