To get an experts opinion on indoor training we linked up with ex-professional cyclist Matt Rowe, founder and coach at Rowe and King, who knows a thing or two about training indoors. With over 20 years of experience racing on the international circuit, Matt has worked with the world's best coaches. Matt now coaches cyclists of all abilities, from lifestyle cyclists looking to feel better on the bike, right up to professional riders competing on the biggest stage.
The Covid-19 outbreak has left a lot of cyclists turning to indoor training to keep fitness and carry on cycling. However it can be difficult keeping things interesting, especially when spending so much time on an indoor trainer. Staying inside can be detrimental both to our physical health and our mental health, but by mixing up our routine and keeping indoor training interesting, we can push through this difficult period to come out even fitter and stronger than before!
Matt's 5 tips for conquering indoor training
1. Structure is key.
Whilst we are stuck at home, I would argue that having some structure to both your day and your exercise is key. Commit to a specific time to train and schedule it in. Then be focused in what you are trying to achieve. We all know that 'just going for a spin' usually ends up barely breaking a sweat, so give yourself some structure to your cycling session.
2. Set yourself a goal or target.
Whilst your sunny European cycling trip may have been cancelled, there are still ways to keep yourself motivated and one is by giving yourself a target. Maybe it's a distance goal each week, or a number of hours of exercise? Or maybe its improving your power or speed over a short duration, such as one minute? Whatever your goal is - write it down to make it real.
3. Be prepared.
Get your bike on the turbo and have your cycling kit laid out ready for your ride. Make sure your bike is ready to go and all of your technical equipment is working smoothly, as well as having fluids and a towel ready for your work out. Reduce any barriers to training as best as possible, so as when it's time to train - you can get the work done.
4. Don't force it.
If you start riding, and you just aren't feeling it, rather than battle on and grind through a mediocre session, get off and do something different. Do some core stability work - there are plenty of videos on YouTube to follow, plus Rowe & King have some great ideas here!
5. Try this session to kick-start your training:
Explosive Power Development (EPD)
Whilst it sounds quite fancy, all it means is doing some sprints without fully recovering after them. EPD's are designed to force your body to recover under stress. After making an all-out effort for a short sprint - you go straight into what we call 'Zone 3' which is a solid effort, but an effort you can sustain for well over an hour. The trick here is that you sprint, then go straight into Z3 which then becomes very tough, with your legs full of lactate.
The session - 10 minute progressive warm up, start steady and get a good sweat on. 2 x (6 second activation sprint - 54 seconds easy). 3 minutes easy - take a drink. Complete 3 blocks of (15 s max effort sprint - 4 minutes 30s Zone 3 - 15 s max effort sprint), with 5 minutes recovery between each block to ensure quality. Finish with 5 minutes of easy riding to cool down.
Just getting started with turbo training? Check out Laka's guide to beginning indoor training! And if you're already hooked on Zwift racing, check out our lazy persons's guide to winning on Zwift. We have a whole host of turbo training content on the Laka blog, including our very own dos and don'ts of indoor training, which will be sure to get you stronger in no time!