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Crush your rides on the indoor trainer and stay motivated with this advice

Indoor trainers are a great way to stay fit and on top of your training. You can catch up on your favorite show, keep an eye on the kids, or avoid cycling in inclement weather. Using your indoor trainer is a great way to avoid air pollutants and the dangers of traffic. Hop on your indoor trainer and keep working towards your goals and continue to track your progress. You can set your own pace and follow what’s on your training plan. Select the resistance levels and choose your mileage to mimic an outdoor ride. During unfriendly cycling weather, indoor trainers provide a great way to maintain your training schedule. The tips below will help you stay motivated when riding your indoor trainer.

Pro tip: train with what’s most optimal for you and your budget. Learn about the difference between trainers and rollers. The advice below can apply to both of them!

Set a goal for your ride

Whenever you swim, bike, or run during training you should have a goal set. Whether it’s time, distance, or level of difficulty, accomplishing a small goal will help with your larger goal. You should do this whether you’re cycling outdoors or using the indoor trainer. Target your ride, distance, intensity, and resistance levels to help you accomplish your goal.

Take a break

Breaks work wonders and can make your triathlon training session more engaging. Simply get off for a few minutes. You can stretch, hydrate, grab something to eat, and get back to riding. Your body will feel more refreshed after a quick break. A break from the indoor trainer can be just like stopping at a gas station on your long ride to refuel.

Listen to your favorite upbeat music

Let’s be real. Music helps improve our focus. Pick up the earbuds or headphones and switch on some adrenaline rush inducing tunes right away. Listening to music is much safer on your indoor trainer than the open roads. You should never listen to music when cycling on the roads. You need to listen to your surroundings and be completely aware of what’s going on. But if you’re on the indoor trainer, add these 5 songs to your playlist and crank it up!

Catch up on your favorite TV shows

You can multitask with ease. This is one of the distinctive benefits of using an indoor trainer. Busy schedule keeping you from the latest season of your favorite show? Turn it on during your workout and the miles will fly by. If your training calls for a longer ride, click play on one of these sports movies on Netflix. This way you don’t have to mess with changing the channel or choosing another episode on your long ride.

Virtually ride with others through an app

Ride with your friends on your indoor trainer with a cycling app like Zwift.

Training in the digital world has its perks, especially if you’re riding indoors. If you can’t ride outdoors, there are many apps that allow you to complete a tough workout or ride virtually with your friends. You can even cycle anywhere in the world! This is a great way to stay motivated and switch up your indoor trainer routine. If you plan to use the app Zwift, check out this helpful guideline to get started.

Reward yourself

Just like any training, make sure to reward yourself. This will help keep up your motivation. Rewards for crushing smaller goals should be the same whether you’re outdoors or not. Your big goal is rewarded by crossing the finish line. Make sure you reward those smaller goals to keep chasing the larger goal! You could book a massage or get take out from your favorite restaurant.

In the digital era, indoor training has become far more engaging than we can imagine. You can catch up on your favorite shows, ride anywhere in the world, or challenge your friends. You’re also able to mimic various elements of your training plan, including resistance, difficulty, and duration. This helps you maintain your training and stay on track. Make sure you reward yourself when you hit those smaller goals on your way to your bigger goal!

Improve as a cyclist and ride as safely as possible when you master these bike skills

It is not “just riding a bike.” Everyday bike skills will not make you a better cyclist, but they can provide the foundation for you to improve. For triathletes, you can’t take advantage of speed if you don’t master certain bike skills like shifting gears and handling turns. In triathlon, every second matters. If you can get better at handling your bike, then you can potentially shave minutes off your time. Ride safely and improve as a cyclist when you master these bike skills. Pro tip: for added safety, memorize and follow the cycling rules of the road.

Practice these bike skills

Be energy efficient

Cyclist rides in an aero position, smiling at the camera, during the 2018 Kerrville Triathlon. Credit Ed Sparks.

Riding in an aero position allows you to be more energy-efficient. Credit – Ed Sparks

When you ride fast, aerodynamics play against performance by way of air and wind resistance. Proper body positioning on the bike can reduce wind resistance and make you more energy efficient. The smaller you can make yourself on the bike, the less wind resistance. If you can continue to maximize your power output in this position, you’ll save more energy for the rest of the ride and the upcoming run. Pro tip: minimize the amount of time you’re sitting up and stay in the aero bar more to reduce wind resistance.

Shifting gears

The difference between a pro and an everyday cyclist is their ability to shift gears at the most appropriate time. This is a skill that most triathletes may take for granted.

Below are the three secrets in exploiting situations using gear shifting skills

  • Climbing: Don’t go to an easy gear directly. Shift gears in their sequence as the climb advances to maintain momentum and efficiency.
  • Change gear after accelerating: You know from experience that it is easier to rev a fast gear than a heavy gear. Increase the tempo of the gear to shift into a heavier gear to overtake or a similar maneuver.
  • Heavy gear: While riding with a group, change to a bigger gear for a steadier pace that saves energy.

Passing other cyclists

Cyclist takes the corner for the final turn before transition at the Kerrville Triathlon. Credit Ed Sparks.

Get out as wide as you safely can when handling a corner. Credit – Ed Sparks

As a USAT-sanctioned event, Kerrville Triathlon abides by all of their rules. The passing rules should be followed on training rides too. 

  • Keep three lengths between the cyclist in front
  • Pass on the left, never the right
  • Complete within 15 seconds

Handling corners

Mastery over this skill can help you maintain as much speed as possible. Follow the below steps to maneuver corners like a pro.

  • Launch into a corner in an open curve
  • Hook the peak point of the bend
  • Get out as wide as you safely can
  • If you need to slow down, do it before entering the corner
  • Never apply brakes while in the bend

Hydrating

Cyclist rides during the rain with her hydration bottles visible during the Kerrville Triathlon. Credit Ed Sparks.

Make sure you have plenty of hydration with you for longer rides. Credit – Ed Sparks

This is often the toughest skill to master for most cyclists. When practicing this, start off at a slower speed and build your way up. If your bottle is in a rack below you, get some speed and stop pedaling. As you coast, focus on your balance. With the hand you’re most comfortable with, reach down and grab your bottle. Maintain balance of the bike with the other hand. Drink and place the bottle back. Repeat as necessary until you become more familiar. Increase speed and add pedaling as this move becomes more natural. Pro tip: this blog further breaks down how to hydrate while you ride and highlights the best items for just that.

Fixing a flat

Don’t get caught stranded because of a flat tire. This information is valuable whether you’re racing or on a long training ride. To fix the flat tire of a bike, follow the below procedure. Make sure you’re prepared for anything and when you have these essential items in your saddlebag.

  • Remove the wheel from the bike and take out the tube
  • Closely inspect to find the puncture, check for embedded objects
  • Replace the tube with a spare or patch it up
  • Put everything back and continue riding

Set aside time every day to practice these bike skills. You will get better over time, especially as you become more familiar and comfortable with each skill. Before you know it, you’ll show others the tricks you come up with to make cycling easier for yourself.