Discover the benefits of indoor cycle training and why it is a must this winter!
When the UK's autumn and winter seasons arrive, many cyclists face a familiar dilemma: braving the unpredictable weather or retreating indoors for training.
At Njinga we don’t recommend solely doing either, but with shorter days, worse weather and fewer events we do think now is the time to up those quality indoor sessions.
Here are some reasons why:
1. Weatherproof Your Training
Perhaps the most obvious advantage of indoor cycling during autumn and winter in the UK is escaping the unpredictable elements.
Rain, wind, and freezing temperatures can make outdoor rides less enjoyable and more challenging.
Indoor cycling eliminates weather-related barriers, ensuring you can maintain your training schedule no matter what's happening outside.
Coach Tip: Even if it's cold outside, it can get warm on the indoor trainer very quickly so make sure you have a fan on, an open window or door, and a towel for sweat handy.
2. Controlled Environment
A major benefit of indoor training is that because it is a controlled environment, you can work in your own accurate training zones.
We can’t emphasise this enough - it is imperative to training smart because it means you’ll be pushing hard enough during intervals and riding at a sustainable output for the duration of your session.
And because indoor training also eliminates any uncontrollable factors you may face out on the road (traffic, potholes, a strong wind, etc.), there's no excuse not to hit and maintain your desired training zones each session, making your training way more efficient.
Coach Tip: Though your FTP score may not be as high as you’d like this time of year, it's important to test and get your current score as it’ll give you clarity on your particular training level and correct intensity. This in turn equals maximum performance over winter, avoids overtraining and ensures tangible, measurable improvements.
3. Safety First
Dark, wet, and slippery conditions can increase the risk of accidents during outdoor rides.
Indoor cycling is inherently safer, reducing the chance of falls and collisions. This safety factor is particularly important during the shorter daylight hours of autumn and winter.
Coach Tip: Your mental motivation can take a hit when cycling indoors so we recommend keeping motivated by having multiple performance metrics to focus on. Within one session, you can keep track of your different numbers, including cadence, power, and heart rate, and also track the improvements and changes in these throughout each session and over time.
4. Consistency in Training
Consistency is key with any training. With indoor cycling, you can train at the same time each day, without interruptions or delays due to changing weather conditions. This regularity can lead to better fitness progress and performance gains.
Coach Tip: If you need a structured and progressive training plan to follow check out the Njinga Cycling Academy which has on and off-bike programmes designed to help you build towards your goals consistently and progressively.
5. Effective Time Management
Indoor cycling can be much more time-efficient.
There's no need to spend time gearing up, dealing with layers of clothing, and cleaning your bike after a wet ride. Your training time is maximised, allowing you to get more out of each session.
You can get a much more efficient workout too. With no need to stop for traffic, road conditions and no freewheeling opportunities!
Coach Tip: If you’re lucky enough to have the extra space, leave your indoor trainer set up and ready to go in a dedicated room to avoid excuses of not having enough time to get set up.
6. Tailored Workouts
Indoor cycling provides the flexibility to tailor your workouts to your specific goals. Whether you're aiming to improve endurance, build strength, or work on your sprinting abilities, you can adjust your indoor training sessions accordingly.
Coach Tip: No matter what type of training session you complete, always use your specific training zones to maximise your results.
7. Sweat the Technique
Training indoors in a safe, controlled environment will allow you time to improve and concentrate on your pedal technique without having to worry about external factors such as traffic or potholes.
Your pedal technique is a fundamental component of your cycling and can have a big impact on your power output, speed, endurance, bike handling skills, and much more.
You can gain as much as 10 to 20 watts in ‘free power’ by working on your technique, so take the opportunity during your indoor sessions when you have no external factors to contend with.
Coach Tip: To create the ideal pedal technique (The Italian Stallion) you need to ‘Drive the Toes’ forward not down. As the foot reaches the top of the pedal stroke this is where the driving motion of the toes really needs to kick in to ensure you activate your hamstrings.
8. Community and Virtual Riding
Many indoor cycling platforms offer the opportunity to connect with a global community of cyclists and even compete in virtual races.
Training in a group environment provides an element of fun and motivation to your indoor training sessions and also adds a competitive element (if you want it) to keep you pushing for more and working consistently at your best.
Coach Tip: If you are looking for a community to train indoors with, check out our live online training programmes which are perfect to get that social buzz and training accountability from your own training space. Or contact us to find out more about joining our Njinga Zwift racing team.
With indoor cycling training, you can ensure consistent, safe, and efficient workouts in a controlled environment.
So, don't let the cold and wet weather keep you from achieving your cycling goals this autumn and winter.
Embrace the benefits of indoor cycling and pedal your way to a successful cycling season even when the weather outside is less than inviting.
Check out the Njinga Cycling Academy for indoor cycle training sessions and training plans to help you keep up your training, give it a purpose and give you motivation to get on that trainer, day or night.