When deciding to ride indoor and on your turbo trainer/indoor trainer it is important to create the right environment to ensure you get the most of your session and be as comfortable as can be. The following items give you an idea in what to do to create a quality environment to train indoors in.
Step 1: Claim your space
I’ve noticed personally, and professionally as a coach, that people are more likely to get on the trainer when the environment is inviting and convenient. That means you should try to find a space where you can leave the majority of your indoor training equipment set up and ready to go at a moment’s notice. If you have to drag the trainer, TV, and bike from all over the house every time you want to ride, you’re not going to bother.
Step 2: Gather your gear
There are a few key items that make indoor training more comfortable, effective, and even enjoyable:
- Stationary cycling/turbo trainer. Front wheel block (these generally come with a trainer but a phone book sometimes can work).
- For some workouts, you may want to simulate your climbing position on the bike by raising the front wheel even higher. This can be done using a phone book under your wheel block or using more than 1 book.
- Fan. One will work, two is even better.
- Entertainment device. Variations include a TV, VCR, DVD player, laptop, stereo, iPod, smartphone.
- Bar Stool. Perfect place to put the remote where you can still reach it.
- Towels. One small one for wiping your face, one bigger one to catch dripping sweat.
- Bicycle. The rest of the gear won’t do you much good without it. Make sure to put two full bottles in the cages. Make sure you mount your phone with TURBOTRAINER APP on the handlebars.
Step 3: Evaluate the space
Putting your rear wheel in the trainer, your front wheel on the wheel block, and a towel under the space in between covers the basic necessities, but if you stop there indoor training is about as exciting as watching snow melt. To set up the most effective and inviting area, consider the space. You want some room in front of you to accommodate the TV and fan without leaving you feeling cramped or claustrophobic. You can do this, even in a small room, by putting your rear wheel pretty close to the wall.
Step 4: Set up your entertainment
Most people set their trainer up facing a screen so they can view television shows, sporting events, or footage of the Tour de France and other races. One key to riding in comfort and simulating your outdoor riding position is to position the screen low and at least six feet in front of your front wheel. If you’re using a TV, that often means taking it off a stand, which allows you to watch while keeping your head, neck, and shoulders in the position you normally use outside. This is sometimes easier to accomplish using a tablet or laptop rather than a full-sized TV.
Place the bar stool next to your bike so you have a convenient place to put the remote control, an additional water bottle, and/or the towel you’re using to wipe your face.
Step 5: Crank up the fans
When you ride an indoor trainer in still air, even in a cool or cold room, you superheat a pocket of air immediately surrounding your body and then struggle to keep cool. Moving air is crucial for evaporating the sweat off your body and controlling core temperature; if you’re too hot, your performance suffers and you’re less likely to complete your workout
More indoor trainer tips:
- Close the heater vents. When you’re in there generating a lot of heat and using fans to keep you cool, there’s nothing worse than having the furnace flood the room with more hot air.
- Don’t forget about the drops. If you live in a snowbound area where you’ll be riding the trainer for months at a time, remember to spend some time doing intervals in the drops. If you want to be able to ride powerfully in this position outdoors next spring, you have to spend some time riding in that position now.
- Crack a window. Some cold air from outside will help keep the room and your body cooler while you’re training.
- Consider wireless headphones. If you’re training at night, early in the morning, or in a house with thin walls, you can avoid cranking the volume on your TV by getting some wireless headphones. Then all your family will hear is the trainer… and your agony.
Level the bike. Unless you’re purposely elevating your front wheel to simulate a climbing position, your bike should be level when it’s on the trainer. With a standard frame, you can check by putting a level on the top tube. With compact frames (sloping top tube), you can measure to make sure both hubs are equidistant from the floor. You should only have to do this once, as long as you’re able to leave the trainer and wheel block in place until your next indoor trainer ride.