The watt bike, the turbo trainer, your mates rollers. Most of people see them as the devil, what’s the real benefit of indoor sessions when you could be out in glorious British weather enjoying the rolling hills of the countryside. Is there any benefit?
It’s not always we get the luxury of heading outdoors for the long rides we all desire. Real life schedules, icy weather and bike maintenance are just a few reasons we sometimes have to suck it up and hit the indoor sessions. Not always first choice for most athletes, but should we be using this all year round?
A sprinter has his indoor track, a rower has his ergometer, a cyclist has his turbo. These controlled environments allow you to really maximise your fitness taking away a lot of the chances of injury. The warmth of a gym can help to relax your muscles ensuring your body is fully ready for a tough session. Sprints can be controlled, power output efficiently monitored and there are no external variables such as gradient and weather. This means a session can be created and carried out to perfectly suit specific needs.
But is this the only benefit?
Rowers use the monotony of an ergo to train mental toughness. Digging deep and pushing hard, squeezing every ounce of energy out of their body. A mental state deep inside ‘the pain cave’ difficult to recreate outside of a racing environment. There’s a reason people are reluctant to carry out indoor training, and that’s cause it hurts.
You’re not outside, moving, experiencing the world. There’s no downhills to hide on, no back wheel to suck, no respite for the legs. Just you, your trainer, and the hard, cold numbers. If you’re not pushing the watts, it will tell you. As we all know, there is no audience for hard work, but the capacity to push with nobody watching, testing, admiring, is something not all athletes have. Sticking out sessions when you don’t have to ride home, you can just jump off, at any point you could just stop. Nothing is keeping you going, is it?
This is where the real athlete is born, the absolute desire for self improvement, the strive for perfection that we see in all our very best role models. This is the kind of environment champions are made. Pushing beyond all limits, when others have stopped, just to become the best. Different coaches have different approaches to indoor sessions, but most would agree that sprint sessions are invaluable in training to produce that killer snap in an athlete.
British winter has arrived and it’s not every day you can get out andenjoy the sun. Dust off the turbo, put on a good film/sound track and see just how many watts you can produce for 30 minutes, twice a week. And I guarantee when summer comes around, your legs will be your friend.