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Top 4 Indoor Cycling Trainer Tips to Stay In Shape Through Winter

Using a Cycling Trainer to Stay in Shape This Winter

Let’s be honest: winter cycling’s a drag. Stay in shape through the winter with these 4 indoor cycling trainer tips & ride your stationary bike to glory!

When you get out of work and walk outside into complete darkness with the slick sidewalk beneath your freezing feet, it is officially winter, and it might be time to put the bicycle away. Winter is always a bummer for those of us in the habit of biking or those of us interested in touring.

If you’re daring, biking during the winter is completely possible. You can get special snow tires and insulated clothing that will help get you home on even the chilliest of nights. However, it can be extremely dangerous. Especially in nasty winter areas, like Boston, which is where I live.

Not only are roads usually slick, but also bike lanes are covered by snow and it will get dark a lot earlier. Even the fanciest safety equipment won’t protect you from sliding automobiles and unexpected snow banks.

If you decide to give up biking for the winter months, it doesn’t mean you’ll lose all of the progress you’ve made with your training. Whether you’ve been touring long distances or cycling to work every day, you can stay in shape through the winter.

Tips for Effective Training on Stationary Bikes

By cycling indoors on a cycling trainer through the winter, you’ll keep your muscle mass and endurance. In fact, you might even be better at cycling than when the autumn ended.

To return to the roads in the springtime feeling just as good as before, consider these tips for indoor training.

Invest in Your Own Cycling Trainer

Going to the gym and cycling on the stationary bikes will not get you back on the road as good as new. Instead, these bikes will cause your body to build muscles in new, unnecessary places.

It’s highly unlikely that the shape of a stationary bike at your local gym is anywhere near the shape of your road bike. If you’re not at all worried about time or endurance, they serve their purpose.

However, if you care about your performance, use a cycling trainer instead. With a cycling trainer, you can literally ride your own bike in a stationary position. The trainer will hold it in place.

If they have cycling trainers at your local gym, that’s great, but you should even consider investing in your own. You can get a quality model for $500 or less at many sporting goods outlets.

When you invest in your own cycling trainer for the winter, you won’t have to pay for the gym membership if you won’t be using any of the other equipment. Most people will also be more likely to use the trainer if it’s right in their house or garage, so you’ll probably stay in shape more easily. Waking up in the freezing darkness and walking to your own living room will be a lot easier than getting yourself all the way to the gym.

As a cyclist, consistency is absolutely essential to staying shape through the winter. For that reason, investing in your own cycling trainer is a good idea.

REI typically has great deals on cycling trainers, and you can also consider TriVillage or Competitive Cyclist.

Find Ways to Distract Yourself

The sagging wooden paneling from the 70’s in your family room is not quite as interesting as the lively city streets whirring by as you bike outdoors. Biking on a cycling trainer will never be the same as real biking, but distracting yourself will make it more bearable.

Music is always a great way to keep your mind occupied. Create playlists that keep you pumped up. One way to pass the time effectively is to make a playlist that is exactly as long as you’d like to bike for. That way, when the songs end, it’s time for your cool down and you won’t have been staring at the clock.

You could also watch TV or movies while you cycle. For long-distance training, an entire feature-length film might be just right.

Basically, biking indoors is boring. However, the major benefit is that you can entertain yourself however you’d like. You can also try to:

  • Read a book
  • Play video games
  • Talk on the phone
  • Knit or crochet
  • People-watch out the window

Use the Resources of Indoor Cycling to Track Your Progress

When you’re on the road, you have a lot to think about. For that reason, it can be difficult to measure your progress. Unless you’re specifically riding to train, you might lose track of your time and distance.

Especially if you’re biking in the city to commute, you’ll be stuck in traffic often and you’ll lose track of the amount of time you were actually moving. There is no traffic indoors, so it will be easier to see how you’re doing physically.

When you’re staying fit indoors on a cycling trainer, you can use a clock to measure your time, and compare it against your distance. Some trainers provide distance readers, and you can buy your own for the ones that don’t.

By tracking your progress closely indoors, you can set new goals for yourself. When you achieve these goals in winter training, you will be even better at cycling when you return to the road.

Set Limits for Yourself

One of the most important tips for indoor training is to stop indoor training every now and then. When you’re cycling on the road, you’ll obviously stop when you reach your destination, and you might take a day or two off because of your schedule.

When you’re training indoors, it’s easy to go overboard. To effectively build muscle and endurance, your body needs a day off every now and then.

Of course, if you’re feeling ill or get an injury, you’ll need to take a break. You should also take a day off if you pushed yourself and are feeling sore, as your muscles need to rebuild.

Cycling every single day with no break is not a good way to train. Instead, make sure you take a day off occasionally on a schedule that is based on your training goals.

When you see that your beloved streets and bike lanes have gone into hibernation for the winter, training inside until the sun comes back out is not a bad idea at all.

Using a cycling trainer for the winter is safer than biking in snowy conditions, and will keep you in shape for the next season. Before you know it, it will be springtime again, and you might even be faster than you remembered.

 


About Leanne

Leanne is a writer and musician living in Boston. Her interest in cycling was born when she realized how convenient biking in the city was, and it has evolved from there. Whether biking down the street for dinner or across the city for band practice with a bass on her back, Leanne has become an avid urban biker.

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