Whether you’re experienced or just beginning indoor training, these quick and effective tips will increase your chances of success.

For more training tips and information on other topics check out the Ask a Cycling Coach Ep 239

Before The Workout

Build the Right Training Plan
Start with low-volume training and work your way up over time. Beginning indoor workouts with a modest training load will make you faster in the long run. You can always add in more volume later.

Sleep 8-10 Hours A Night
One of the most overlooked aspects of your recovery is sleep. More sleep will improve your overall quality of life, allow you to train more, and recover faster.  

Fuel Your Workout 
Your body needs the proper fuel for intense workouts. Eat a healthy carb-centric meal 3-4 hours before to give your body the fuel it needs. Try to focus on nutrient-dense, whole foods.

Take Some Caffeine
Caffeine reduces your perceived exertion, making the workout seem a little easier. It takes about an hour after ingestion to reach its peak effectiveness, but don’t intake it too late in the day and disturb a good night of sleep.

During The Workout

Keep Cool
This is the most commonly overlooked component of indoor training equipment that we see. Get at least one fan that moves a high volume of air and position it to cover the maximum amount of surface area on your body as possible. We like this fan.

Listen to Music
A good song can motivate you to push through a hard workout. Some studies have shown that high tempo music can reduce perceived exertion. If you are going to use headphones, we recommend ones that have an IPX7 rating or higher to keep out the sweat.

Watch Something
Watch and learn from the great race analysis videos from our YouTube channel. During the easier aerobic workouts, try incorporating more involved entertainment options like your favorite movie or TV show.

Drink Up
Aim for at least one bottle every hour and maybe more. Pro tip: add some ice to the bottle to help reduce your core temperature.

Fuel Again
A common misconception is that since the workout is short or inside, you don’t need to fuel like you would on a normal ride. If anything, indoor training is particularly hard, so fueling your workouts is very important, and can be crucial to a good performance. This can be as simple as eating a gel or drinking a sports mix. Not only are you training your GI system to handle carbohydrates, but you are developing good nutrition habits for race day.

After The Workout

Set Up For The Next Workout
Even the smallest obstacles to getting started with your workout can be enough to keep you from training. Do everything you can to remove barriers and make training an automatic process. Prepare your water bottles, set out your shoes and kit, keep a bike on the trainer, and keep your fan in place. Use a remote outlet for your fan if you can, and make sure to have a device ready to run TrainerRoad in your training area. Doing this saves time and will make it easier to get on the bike.

Analyze Your Workout
Take a look at your workout data with Ride Analysis features on TrainerRoad to see PRs, find failure points, and get an idea of how hard the workout really was. Use the Ride Notes feature to write down what worked and what didn’t. Analyzing the data will help you see the impact of your training and keep you on track for your goals.

Enjoy Your Hard Work
You did it, now enjoy it. Endurance athletes can be notoriously hard on themselves. Take a few moments to celebrate smaller training victories to counterbalance the disappointing days we all have. This will help stoke your motivation as your training continues.

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For more cycling training knowledge, listen to the Ask a Cycling Coach — the only podcast dedicated to making you a faster cyclist. New episodes are released weekly.

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Jesse Fortson

Jesse Fortson is a former collegiate athlete turned cyclist. With TrainerRoad's help, he lost over 140 pounds and now races crits, gravel, and marathon XCO.