The never-ending debate: indoor training versus
outdoor cycling. Some love taking it inside, some hate it. But most coaches
recommend a mix of the two to achieve maximum gains. Not convinced? Here are
the 20 main advantages of indoor training.
It will help make you a faster cyclist
Most anyone with a coach and a power meter
— and who’s practicing serious structured training — will find that indoor
training is one of the best ways to train for speed.
One hour on the turbo = two to three
hours on the road
Even on a flat ride, 10% of your time on
the road is spent freewheeling. On a hilly ride when you add in descending
time, it can be up to 40%. Turbo training is more intense because there’s
nowhere to hide.
Eliminate the variables for proper
Traffic lights, road conditions, climbs,
descents and more. There’s so much that’s out of your control. Once you’ve
tried completing power intervals accurately on the road, you’ll go running to
Stay safer on dark winter nights
As cyclists we’re very vulnerable on roads,
especially at night. Whereas the only danger with turbo training is slipping on
the sweat afterwards.
Eliminate mental barriers to training
Training is so much easier when the bike is
ready for you and you can climb on it in seconds. No need to check the weather
forecast, choose clothes, carry the bike downstairs and get out on the road.
Less prep time for better time
All those things take time. When you train
indoors, almost every second is spent on training.
No need to wash your bike and tons of
clothing after a wet ride
After-ride activities are equally
time-consuming. Take the hassle out of outdoor training by dressing for indoor
conditions and never getting your bike dirty.
Train exactly when you want to
Work, life and family commitments often
leave us with narrow windows of free time for training. Time-efficient turbo
sessions can be slotted in while the baby’s asleep or your partner is watching
Monitor and adjust your bike position
Want to improve the way you sit on the
bike? Try simply riding in front of a mirror and watching yourself. Aerodynamic
posture + less movement = fast cyclist.
Improve your pedaling technique
Focusing on your cadence and pedal stroke
will help you make major improvements to your cycling. Also practice one-legged
drills to build strength.
Stick to your training plan — whatever
Is it freezing outside? Or pouring rain? Or
104 degrees in the shade? What does it matter when you train indoors?
Train for climbing even if you live in a
You sit further back on the saddle and use
slightly different muscles when you’re climbing. Prepare for this by raising your
front wheel higher off the ground — something you can’t do on the road. Unless
you’re Peter Sagan.
Interactive platforms make training fun
Platforms like Zwift bring a social side to
indoor training. Train with friends or family members who live on the other
side of the world.
Practice race simulations on Zwift to
push yourself harder
Stay competitive throughout the winter by
racing on a virtual platform such as Zwift. Even the pros do it.
Access sophisticated training apps for
indoor training plans
Coaches are worth it, but they’re
expensive. Apps like TrainerRoad have hundreds of training plans you can use — even
if you don’t have a power meter — thanks to the Virtual Power feature.
Learn better pacing by riding with power
In a race you can easily tire out by going too
hard too soon. But if you’ve practiced intervals on the turbo, you will be much
more effective at gauging your efforts.
Track your fitness accurately to peak
Record every workout to ensure you peak at
the right time.
Build mental toughness
Turbo training is real training.
There’s nowhere to hide and no wheel to sit on. If you can concentrate on the
turbo and hit your numbers, you’ll learn to suffer and to win.
Avoid overtraining by sticking to set
Group rides on the road often turn into
races when egos come out to play. Steady Z2 rides can become all-out efforts
pushing your training stress score through the roof. Training indoors is much
more controlled, and you can avoid the temptation to ride further and harder
than your training plan requires.
Pre-ride race courses using a smart
Upload a GPX file of the route and study
the course without ever leaving your living room. Perfect for target A races
out of your area.