Indoor Training Tips

You may not be made of caster sugar, but there are times when rain and cold make it wiser and let’s face it, far more pleasant, to train indoors.


Here are my top tips for making the most of a wet day.


Remember the Point
Consider what your ride was going to be and base your indoor session on that. If you were meant to do a recovery ride, then have an easy spin for 20 – 40 minutes followed by a stretch or wrestle with a foam roller.


Challenges arise when you need to complete several hours or more and climb a couple of thousand metres. However, come back to the essence of your ride and break it into its components.
A long ride with hills would consist of steady Zone 2 and 3 work on the flats broken up by harder efforts on the hills. Looking at your ride in this way, you can still accomplish the key elements indoors.

It may now become a 20 minute warm up then 10 -15 minutes of low cadence work in Zone 4 followed by 15 – 20 minutes of easy/tempo pedalling. You can repeat this tempo/low cadence pattern 3 or 4 times and cover off your training.
It’s not perfect, but it I would rather see that in an athlete’s diary than a blank space where their ride should have been.


Have a plan
Write down your session and be able to refer to it, otherwise you can end up pedalling aimlessly. If you are repeating intervals, it’s easy to lose track of how many you have done. When the going gets tough, use your plan as a motivator to finish the set.


Warm Up and Cool Down
Allow 10 – 20 minutes for a decent warm up for all but recovery sessions. As a guide the more intense the session, the longer and more structured your warm up should be. Gradually build intensity and once warm, include some efforts above threshold and recover before your main set.

Allow 5 to 10 minutes at the end to spin down and finish with your legs feeling good, not wooden.


Keep Your Cool
Most cyclists are not aware that about only 20% of the energy they produce when riding actually ends up driving the pedals. If you are producing 200 watts through your pedals, you are actually producing around another 8000 Joules (1 W = 1 J/second) of energy, most of which is converted into heat.
Riding outside, heat generation is far less apparent as the air cools you down when you move through it. This “convective” heat loss is a major contributor to thermal regulation. Take this away, and your core temperature will rise rapidly. Even in winter, without a good fan and adequate ventilation your ability to produce power will be significantly impaired.



Indoor training is undergoing a huge change as power trainers such as the Wahoo Kickr (available at Giant Sydney) integrate with simulators like Zwift and Trainer Road. These programs can be a great motivational tools and help break the monotony of indoor riding. However, it is important that you stick to your plan and not turn a recovery ride into a virtual race with an ex pro.


Although music and videos can help pass the time, I always encourage my athletes to be engaged with their riding. Good self-awareness is important and time on the trainer can be used to tune into your body. Paying attention the interplay between your breathing, cadence, heart rate, power and the sting in your legs will help you get a feel for certain intensities and allow you to better measure your effort. On the road you can apply this knowledge to pace yourself on climbs or gauge how hard you can attack or chase.


Happy training,




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