Your indoor bike trainer isn't just a second-rate substitute for an outdoor ride when the weather is a nightmare: It's a valuable training tool. In fact, some elites are bringing their bike workouts indoors even when it's nice outside.
The reason? Better focus—think no stoplights and a controlled course with intervals exactly where you want them to be. And then there's the reduced risk of careless drivers knocking into you or seriously damaging potholes.
And if you know how to do it right, you might even like the whole indoor cycling regimen come spring. Active.com caught up with Jim Rutberg, pro coach for Carmichael Training Systems and co-author of The Time-Crunched Cyclist, to get the secrets to making peace with your indoor trainer this winter.
Here are his tips for taking the dread out of indoor cycling:
Have a Smart Setup
If you wouldn't hang out in that dark little spot in the corner of the basement on a regular Sunday morning, don't put your bike trainer there. Pick somewhere that's not cramped and miserable. And the most highly trafficked spot in the house won't do you any favors, either, because you'll have to put up and strike down your bike setup every time you want to ride.
Frequently, Rutberg says, "where people set up their trainer is an afterthought. Take a little time and put a space together where you can leave your bike set up on the trainer and it's convenient to use."
Have at least one fan, maybe more. Ideally, you'd have one set up in front of you that hits your face, head and core, and a second one in back.
"Some people try to ride their trainers in a cold garage. But since you're sitting in a stationary position, the air doesn't circulate and sweat evaporates quickly," he says. "Even if it's cold outside, the air is not moving, and you're still going to overheat and be miserable."