Small changes in my indoor training that have made a big difference
This is my second winter with indoor bike training and I feel as if I have come a long way from last year.
I mean, for starters, my FTP went from looking like my standard 5 KM in the first year of running (going out at full speed only to die a painful death midway through) to this:
Not to hit you with bars and graphs on a Friday (to read accurately, purple line is power reading and pink line is cadence). All I am trying to say is that I feel as if I am starting to get a grip on the whole indoor training thing and I wanted to share some monumental changes I have made between this year and last year that have made all the difference for me.
As an important aside, none of this is sponsored. These are just some things that have taken my cycling experience to the next level.
I have followed a purely cycling plan
Yes, I am still running but my training has been focused on building a base on the bike. I used the Trainer Road mid-volume base plan where I am cycling 3-5 times a week with my longest ride at 2 hours and my shortest rides at an hour.
I have upgraded my power meter
While I still have the Look pedals, I switched over to the Stages power meter as the Trainer Road software would not accurately read my old power pedals (I only got a half reading and although it still provided accurate workouts for me, I was judged hard when I needed to say my FTP wasn’t over 125.) I did a lot of research before committing to one and I highly recommend Stages. They are really affordable and have perfectly fit what I needed. Full power reading and all!
I bought a fan
Most hardcore cyclists are probably just staring blankly at their screen right now but yes, I stubbornly went the entire year last year without a fan. I was convinced that more sweat = harder work, but it turns out that according to science, my body just backs off and I reap less benefits. I bought a fan from Home Hardware and boom, my wattage increased and perceived effort decreased. To the shock of absolutely no one but myself.
I have developed a training entertainment system
Ok. So it goes like this:
EASY RIDES – I watch a Suits episode and basically do whatever I want. It’s a great time to practice riding in the aero position for long periods of time while forcing myself to look up. This is something that is often neglected in indoor cycling on the trainer with a TT bike. You are working hard to hold power and it is easy to look down between your hands. As a newbie last year, I had a raging migraine the first long ride I did outdoors because my neck was not accustomed to lifting up. Incorporating it into your training throughout the year and you will negate this.
INTERVALS WITH LONG BREAKS – I listen to my Spotify playlists during the intervals and watch Suits on the breaks.
VO2 MAX INTERVALS – No music for breaks. Crank music for intervals.
I alternate the time of day I do my rides and adjust my nutrition accordingly
If it is a short interval ride, I am on the bike at 5:30 AM to get it over with and negate having it hanging over my head. At this point, it is important I hydrate and have some quick sugar so I drink a bottle or two of HEED on the bike and it works to keep my energy up when I don’t have enough time to eat something in advance.
If I have an easy ride where I want to watch Suits, instead of blaring my TV first thing in the morning, I will watch and ride after work at 6 PM. I often just drink water through this ride as it is aerobic and around an hour.
If I do a ride over 90 minutes, I will supplement with perpetuem. This is by far one of my favourite sports products from Hammer. Full disclosure, I am an ambassador for them so if you ever want to purchase products from them, remember to use my code LATTES20 to get yourself 20% off.
That’s pretty much it. I am sure that every year of doing this I will become a little less rookie and a little more veteran but for now, I am happy to share anything I have learned that has made a big difference for me.
Anything to add that I have missed?