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Indoor winter training tips for cyclists

23 Jun 2016

Hitting the road in the worst of the winter weather is fairly unpleasant even for the hardiest of cyclists. When snow and ice strikes, set your bike up for indoor use on a set of rollers. Various models of bike will work on rollers, but you can also opt for an indoor cycle machine, if wanted, which have multiple programmes that you can take advantage of. The feel of the wind can never really be replicated indoors, but the resistance offered by rollers, or turbo trainers, does a fair job of making your legs work in a similar way to outdoor training.

Don't just plod on

When training indoors, it can become all too easy to find a natural rhythm and stick to it for hours at end. This may condition your legs, but it won't be a real training workout for you that helps you once you do get back on the road or start racing. Break up your training sessions by asking your body to work at different rates. Push hard in a high gear for periods and back off, allowing yourself some recovery time whilst keeping your wheel turning.

Work on hills

One of the disadvantages of riding indoors is that you are on one level all of the time. However, you can tilt your bike against its rollers and feel a real incline. Increased rolling resistance will make your legs feel as though they are working harder, pushing you up a hill, but you also need to get your upper body into a racing position, holding your drop handlebars in the usual way. With the bike set on an incline, you will make sure that your upper body and core gets an ascent-style work out too.

Work on your aerobic power

The measure of the maximum volume of oxygen that a cyclist can use is called VO2 and it is possible to increase yours at home on an indoor bike set up. Build aerobic power with a series of 45 minute workouts that start with at least 15 minutes of warm up. Thereafter, switch between bursts of five high intensity burst followed by rest periods. Account for four minutes at high intensity followed by just two of lower intensity. After a set of five of each, ensure you have a few minutes to warm down fully. Your VO2 will rise rapidly if you are able to build this routine into your usual cycling regime.

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