Home > Training

How do I make a long trainer ride more tolerable?

Adding early season miles is doable with these tips

Man shot from below exercising with bicycle at home using a simulation trainer. Photo by: Getty images

Riding inside can be a great alternative to outside when it’s cold out, but it can be mentally tough sometimes. There are those days where minutes—even seconds—seem to tick by in slow motion. If you have a set routine with intervals or a workout, it can help, but if you’re looking to do a longer ride, it can be tough to get through.

Everyone’s definition of a long ride is different. Ninety minutes, two hours, three hours? Four or five? Whatever you consider to be a big one, check out some of these ideas to help you make it through.

Zwift, Rouvy, MyWhoosh it

If you haven’t used training platforms like Zwift, Rouvy or MyWhoosh before, it’s definitely worth considering to make the time go by. There are many worlds to explore. While visually they don’t aim for verisimilitude, the pixel roads help with boredom. You can even mix and match different routes if you are feeling creative. Whether it’s mountains, flats or rolling courses, they have something for everyone. Time flies when you’re on Tempus Fugit.

Entertain yourself

Background noise can be your friend. Although not everyone likes to watch films or shows while riding as it’s hard to hear the dialogue, you could try watching some pro bike races. Whether you have FloBikes, GCN+ or even YouTube, there are all sorts of races to watch as you while away the time. Turn on last year’s Tour de France Femmes. Check out the 1992 Paris-Roubaix. Seeing as many of the recordings are made in real time, you’ll have hours of races to pick from.

Change your kit

If you’re riding for several hours, your bibs and jersey can get pretty soaked. If you are feeling a little soggy, it always feels nice to put on some fresh gear. Having a clean jersey and shorts beside your trainer can be a good move if you want to feel nice and dry after your first hour of riding.

Snacks and hydration

Depending on how long you ride, you can get pretty dehydrated fast. It’s easy to drink 750-1,000 ml/hour when riding inside. If you’re riding for several hours, you’ll also want to fuel accordingly. Make sure you have your bottles filled up, some snacks nearby, and some extra bottles waiting to be swapped. Or simply jump off the bike midway and get some more drinks.


Lotto Soudal Fridge
The fridge on the Lotto Soudal team bus. While you don’t need to fuel like pro riders at the Spring Classics, it wouldn’t hurt to organize your trainer snacks so they are at the ready on your long rides.

Try not to stare at your head unit/clock/computer

Just like the clock on the wall in high school, staring at it does not make class end sooner. Although you’ll want to check on your progress/watts/heart rate and other data, try not to stare at the time too much. You may find yourself demoralized waiting for those seconds to tick by. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

12 indoor trainer thoughts every cyclist can relate to