What may have once been considered the domain of only gym devotees, increasingly all levels and types of outdoor rider are adding indoor cycling to their training time.
Smarter is the Way to Success.
For every rider, a smart training approach is key. On rainy days, dark nights or brief moments of time between work or busy family life when you just gotta grab a ride, indoor rides can deliver convenience and undeniable gains.
A man who knows such gains and what it takes to balance a demanding schedule with podium level kind of racing is Pat Warner, the Global SVP at Stages Cycling. Pat has a Track cycling palmarès that spans collegiate level racing right through to elite and masters. This October, he has his sights back on The Masters Track World Championships in the USA. A trained Mechanical Engineer and Head of Product Development and Manufacturing at Stages Cycling, Pat dedicates every day to bettering product, as well as fitting in a daily training session. It’s his desire to improve every performance that takes him indoors in addition to his outdoor rides. Here Pat answers “What are the benefits of training indoors for outdoor cyclists?” laid down in a simple 1 to 5.
#1 Control: No Wind. No Stop Lights. No Traffic.
“The biggest benefit is the opportunity to get the most out of a structured session. Riding indoors provides a super consistent, measured environment. Put simply, it’s the only way to free yourself from interruption – cars, stop signs and lights, wind. You name it, unpredictable external factors will prevent you from testing your body at a consistent, maximum training effort.
“When you need to get the most out of your time, absolutely, the best place is inside. If you’re targeting heart rate or power zones, you’ll get the consistency you need.
“Say you want to do a Threshold test, indoors you can do it for a steady 20 minutes at a sustainable, precise peak power, without any possible distractions. There are mental benefits too; if you can achieve your numbers inside, you’ll know you can do it on race day.”
#2 Efficiency: Get the Most Out Of An Hour
“Indoors you not only eliminate the natural elements, but you also never have to stop pedaling. Sounds obvious right, but on the road, you’ll stop… and start again, coasting on the downhills, ultimately breaking your session. Indoors, for the same length of time, you’ll do a whole lot more pedaling, meaning you could actually ride for less time, with more total benefit.”
#3 You’ve Got the Numbers To Concentrate On
“You’ve all the data you need right there on the bike using a power meter. With a power meter and a device to record your workout, you’ll see exactly what you are doing and what you’ve done, no guesswork involved. Using that information, you can analyze your efforts, as well as follow a prescribed plan.
“What’s the ultimate measure? Undoubtedly, power output. So you’ll see how the advancements in technology and the rise of the power meter indoors, has brought with it new ways for riders to get results indoors. Look to the professional guys; this is exactly the approach they take in preparation for races like the Tour de France; they train and test indoors for exactly these reasons on some of the preparation days.
“Add to that the inherent motivation from data and targets, now available indoors.
“But it’s not just the numbers. There are multiple display technology and engagement options available right now like Stages Flight, Zwift and other up-to-the minute digital tech that simulate your ride outside, inside – so you can see your route, replicating the miles you’ve ridden with the addition of data gauges.”
#4 No Limitations
“There’s no time limit when you ride inside. Say the alarm goes off for a 4am session or it’s 10pm at night? Now and again I’ll avoid the dark and choose the indoor option, so I’m cutting out the discomfort and the disruption. There’s no such thing as bad weather indoors, right?
“Then there’s the efficiency again. Sounds like a low key consideration, but indoors takes away the need to clean a dirty bike and there’s less wear on your equipment overall. Travelling can be a serious challenge to your training, so you take your shoes with you and hunt out an indoor studio to keep you dialed in with your schedule.
“Now and again it helps declutter a potentially otherwise compromised training schedule.”
#5 Better Together
“At the office we all ride pretty much every day. Around 30-40 riders join us out on the road every Tuesday. That’s not just the corporate team, Boulder locals too and guys who like to ride. That’s the power of riding as part of a group right there. For me, the group is a huge motivator to improve.
“Indoors you can replicate this just as easy and oftentimes we bring it in to the office. As a bunch of people, riding sessions with your friends helps you all find inspiration, plus you’re much less worried about matching your speed with the rest of the pack if you’re just getting started. Safety comes in to it as well with no cars for the pack to negotiate and if it’s a 6am hard session on the cards, others around you make it much easier to push yourself and hit that goal.
“Sure, the feeling of being in the outdoors is different, but the two work nicely together and a combination of both means you’re going to see the gains in your training strategy.
“When it comes to group effort, we welcome riders to come join us to ride the local routes when they’re in town.”
And no kidding, with that, Pat left to go ride.
Follow Stages Indoor Cycling on Instagram @stagesindoorcycling @stagesindoorcyclinguk @stagescycling and look out for Part II from Coach Neil Troutman, released later this Summer.