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Unlocking training consistency: All the benefits of indoor riding

Riding inside is something that can help your fitness all-year round

Photo by: Getty Images

In most parts of Canada it’s pretty cold right now In some parts it’s * very * cold. So unless you’re a fan of frigid outdoor rides, or fat biking, you’re probably riding the trainer.

I was a late convert to using the trainer in the winter. I started a few years ago and now ride many days a week doing intervals or Zwift races, and I am a big fan. (I also have a big fan beside it for ventilation, btw.)

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I still ride outside when it gets cold, but not like I used to in the winter months. The reason that I was such a late convert was I had done way too many roller and trainer workouts in my youth, and couldn’t stand the idea of riding inside again on a choppy and uncomfortable trainer, staring at the wall. But times have changed, as have trainers. Trainers now are smooth and fluid, and comfortable to ride.

A man riding an indoor trainer

Using your trainer to get faster

Indoor training has many benefits when it comes to workouts in the winter. The thing is, you don’t have to only ride the trainer in the winter. I used to think it was bonkers that people would do indoor trainer workouts in the summer. Why stay inside when it’s 30 degrees outside? But it makes sense. Riding an indoor trainer creates consistent and reliable conditions.

It seems obvious, but when you ride a trainer you never have to worry about wind or weather as factors that will affect your workouts. You can compare workouts to each other, whether it’s intervals or repeats or long rides. It’s like riding on an indoor velodrome, at home.

Asian man cycling on the machine trainer he is exercising in the home at night.he play online bike game

Intervals made easier

If you live in a city, it makes sense to use it even in the warm months. If it’s hard for you to find sections of roads to do long intervals, you can still ride outside for your base miles, and then jump on the trainer for your repeats. No stop lights, no wind, no weather.

Of course in the winter, it makes even more sense. When it’s cold out, it’s hard to achieve the same level of efficacy in your training, especially intervals or hard workouts, for a variety of reasons.

Layers and layers of clothing can make you feel sluggish and encumbered if you’re doing hill repeats. It’s harder to get your heart rate up and the cold air can smart when you give it up a climb or on the flats. Riding inside means you wear the same clothes in the same temperature each time.

Short on time? Jump on the trainer

It’s a lot easier to do shorter workouts as well in the morning or during your lunch hour. Just throw on some kit, jump on the trainer for some speed work, and you’re done. No checking the weather, putting on all your clothes and discovering you have a flat. It’s a great way to sneak in some extra rides when you have limited time.

If you’re looking to up your watts this winter, and get quicker for the spring, definitely consider using your trainer more. You’ll notice the difference when you get back outside when the big thaw ends.