Koobi Cycling Fitness

By: Marci Titus Hall - USA Cycling Expert Coach

Tips and Tricks for Indoor Cycling Training

Marci Titus Hall Racing with Koobi Xenon
Marci Titus Hall Racing with Koobi Xenon

Mind over matter

Winter seems to be dragging on as it often will. Instead of dreading your next indoor training ride learn to love it, or at the very least get the most out of it. The first trick to succeeding in a heavy bout of indoor training is acceptance. Accept the fact that you may not have the time or gear to ride outdoors all year long. The less time you waste waiting for the weather to clear, or the stars to align the more time you spend training. Accept indoor training and use the following information to help you perfect it.

Do what you want, when you want

We have almost complete control over our indoor training rides. Sure we hate to five up the great outdoors but when lack of time, extreme temperatures, or dangerous road conditions force you inward, learn to embrace those rides and utilize them to your advantage. Do high cadence work or low cadence prep for climbing for as long as you wish without worrying about terrain, wind, or dark roads. Ride hard when and how you need or ride easy without being coerced into a challenge; you know those commuters get you every time, but not on the trainer. It’s all at your finger tips no matter what else is happening in the outdoors.

If you build it, you will go

Have a place to train where you want to spend time. Having a permanent set up is best. Claim a spot where you have a bike dedicated to a trainer or a bike sitting right next to your rollers with your bike shoes, a TV, DVD player and or music, and a fan. This is where you want to keep your Tour de France DVDís, cycling training videos, the latest cyclocross video, any action packed movies and your best thumping music to motivate you during your ride. You also want to have a place for your supplies, a bench or small table for your remote control, as many water bottles and as much food as you will need for the duration of training (see below). Having these things accessible will decrease your run around time and increase your training time.

Hydrate and eat for training success today, and tomorrow i.e. THE IMPORTANT SUFF

The absolute best part of indoor training is hat you have complete control over your hydration and calorie consumption. Many cyclists don’t realize that we begin our recovery from each ride before, during, and after each subsequent training ride. While it is difficult to eat and drink exactly as we should during an outdoor training ride, we can execute this perfectly while indoors. Use the following info to perfect your consumption indoors and gain a better understanding of what is needed for successfully training outdoors. My rule of thumb is to stick to a strict consumption of both fluids and calories for any ride over 1 hour. The longer the ride, the more important it is to have your fluid and calorie needs met throughout your ride, right from the start.

Since we all have different sweat rates it is a good idea to get in the habit of weighing yourself before and after any indoor training rid and then continuing that habit when riding outdoors in the warm to hot temperatures. Any weight loss during a ride is water loss (dehydration) and must be replaced with 20oz of fluid for every pound lost. During each ride it is advised to closely match hydration with dehydration rates (at least up to 80%) but since both gastric emptying and tolerance of large fluid volumes differ, you need to use trial and error to determine what works for you. Research repeatedly confirms that sports drinks containing electrolytes and 6-8% carbohydrates are the best way to replenish both lost fluids and calories. Try different sports drinks and concentrations to determine which drink tastes and works the best for you. The bottom line is that you are looking to consume 4-8 oz of fluids every 15 minutes and 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour (specifically 1-2 grams/kilogram of body weight/hour) so if you find that your preferred concentration of sports drink falls under that amount you will need to supplement with a gel, Gu, or any other easily tolerated simple‑carbohydrate snack.

Simply put… for a 2 hour ride, plan to drink between 32 oz and 64 oz of fluids and consume between 60 and 120 grams of carbohydrates (240-480 calories). This equals just under 3 large sports bottles of most typical sports drink, add a gel or granola bar if you dilute your sports drink. Remember that if you are drinking the minimum and still experiencing weight loss, you will need to increase your consumption until you are able to stabilize or minimize weight loss with adequate fluid replacement.

Marci Titus Hall
USA Cycling Level 1 Coach
Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist