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GETTING STARTED – The Indoor Dilemma

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By Chad Andrews

Get on the trainer? Go to a spin class? Some people would rather run through a pit of fire ants or get eaten by a zombie than train indoors, but there are ways to make it a successful preseason of training. The following ideas are in hopes that you took some time off the bike in early winter.

Stay on it. Once you’ve had your time off, it’s time to get back on. Take one to two weeks of pedaling easy, while watching TV or movies. Aim for three to four rides of an hour each. Why an hour? If you set yourself up for longer you might not meet the goal and you will feel like you failed. Riding for an hour on a trainer is just enough for the first two weeks.

Incorporate some interval-based training into your riding. Once a week, during a TV show, try this: During each commercial, accelerate and bring your heart rate up and hold it (perceived exertion a 7-8 on the 10-scale). You could also do some 10-second sprints during “Seinfeld” when someone says “Jerry” or during “SpongeBob SquarePants” when someone yells “Squidward.” It’s all about variability and keeping your mind fresh, your body adapting and avoiding boredom.

Find a training center that offers indoor cycling/training. Training centers are popping up all over the place. You can get strength training in and then jump into a cycling class.

Gradually increase your intensity, not your volume. We are still speaking of the early January time frame here. If the weather cooperates, sure, go out and ride longer rides. However, if you are forced indoors, you may mentally be able to achieve only one and a half or two hours. Start doing two days of intervals one week, and then the following week, do them only once. When February rolls around you will be able to start increasing your volume and intensity.

The key to indoor training is to keep it engaging. One final trick: Set your bike up the night before, if you work late. Force yourself up earlier in the morning. Most people, once daylight saving time is over, find it harder and harder to get on the trainer after work. So, put air in your tires, a banana next to the bike and drape your cycling kit over the bike. The next morning, roll out of bed and onto the bike. No excuses, because your trusty whip is waiting for you!

Hope these tips make you faster in 2014. Tailwinds!

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Chad Andrews is the president and founder of TotalCyclist. He emcees professional events from big-time bike racing to doughnut-eating contests. He loves all kinds of cycling, but is not a big fan of unicycling. He can be found at one of his training locations or yelling in a microphone. TotalCyclist with TrySports offers cycling classes at several locations throughout the Carolinas. For more information visit www.totalcyclist.com or email Chad at chad@totalcyclist.com.