Indoor Training

Rock On

40“Red metal wind trainer. Fine shape. Set your bike on this baby and go for a bike ride indoors. I used it when I was pregnant and fearful of falling in the slick streets. It worked great but I don’t find myself using it anymore…”  Classified Ad

Not as good as the real thing...

An occasional spin class or group trainer session can be a fun way to break up your winter, but I don’t know anyone that really likes riding a stationary trainer all day, every day. As an occasional substitute for riding outside or as a race-side tool, it has its merits.

My rule is seventy-five minutes tops on the thing with possible three-a-days (for an injured pro perhaps.) Beyond that, I believe it’s an experience with diminishing returns due to its unforgiveness toward soft tissue, sweat loss expenditures, and torturous confinement. It becomes de-motivating. 41Specificity is my best argument, since power studies show that wind trainers and various ergometers are highly effective for improvement upon wind trainers and ergometers, but not so for undulating road conditions. Even rollers are limited in application to real road conditions.

By now you’ve heard the music of our sport; for me indoor training is all hard rock, heavy metal, or techno blaring at a mind-numbing decibel. Which is another reason not to spend too much time indoors – it doesn’t work sensory perception or broad external attention utilized in mass start riding. It IS a great tool to train narrow internal awareness like what’s needed for bridging a gap or time trials. To this end, trainer time is very effective for focused work, such as spin drills, highly structured workbouts, and cross-eyed drooling efforts. Even so, if a serious rider faces inclement weather frequently, I advise another form of cross-training, or travel to a climate conducive to training for elite/pro racing. But if you must ride indoors, warm-up, rock into “the zone,” warm-down and get off that thing.

Prayer for Indoor Training

“Therefore I set my face like flint…” 42Isaiah 50:7

We are thankful for cycling’s indoor alternative as a solution to various conditions. We confess we sometimes miss its best gifts to us. We pray for ways to keep it fun and useful and ask blessing on this focused time.


Ponder What’s my best use of indoor training? Affirm I can improve focus and specific work by using the wind trainer, ergometer or rollers. Watch that gains from these devices are sought for your specific type of outdoor riding.

40Posted by Alison on   She’s selling it – go figure! Still indoor training has its place.

41Seventy-five minutes was Mike Carter’s rule for trainer time. Watching him do a wind trainer session showed me what real suffering looks like. Mike has many palmarès as a climber and now as a coach. He is among the first pure climbers produced in America of europro caliber. His website is

Regarding specificity and wind trainers, this is an Andy Coggan quote.

42The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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