Indoor Training For Outdoor Results

The Northeast: the land of spring showers, blistering summer heat, fantastic foliage, and snow…lots of snow. We get it all! Everyone has a favorite, of course, but who doesn’t love the changing of the seasons?!

Answer: this guy!

In my ideal world, we’d be constantly living at 65F, mostly sunny, light breeze. After all, minus some potentially cold waters, this would be ideal training weather! Nonetheless, this is New England and, because of the weather, the beat-up roads, and the road rage of rush hour traffic within a 50-mile radius of Boston, we spend time inside training.

That’s right! Regardless of the time of year, I’m spending, on average, AT LEAST 1 day a week inside on my trainer! This seems crazy right? How could I sit inside when its 80 degrees, no wind, and not a cloud in the sky? Besides the luxury of being the Operations Director at Cycle Life Studio, and having the access to indoor training, here are the benefits that YOU can get from training indoors.


1. Controlled Training Environment (weather, traffic, stop & go, wind)

You don’t know what you’re going to get outside, no matter where you are living. It’s hard to get in 4x 20-40-minute intervals that are consistent, low-variable, uninterrupted efforts when you have to stop at a light/four-way/traffic jam. You also cannot predict the weather, even outside of New England. If you’re shooting for certain heart rate or power numbers, and the 25mph headwind has you going 12 mph at your race pace zone, you’re going to have some mental frustration with that process. Inside? That interval gets done, no questions asked, no outside factors to blame. And your indoor workout can happen when it fits YOUR schedule, whether that be 4 AM, 10 PM, or any time in between!

2. Efficiency

The goal of any hard workout is to get the most out of its duration, whether it’s 1 hour or 3. Training inside, you don’t need to layer up with clothes in the cold, clean your equipment, stop at red lights, find a GPS signal to your watch or bike computer, or find locations to refuel or use the restroom. The preparation is much quicker, the workout is more efficient, and the recovery process can ideally start MUCH earlier. There’s very little coasting; you’re going to be sweating by the end of that workout!

3. Mental toughness

While you might be avoiding the mental strain of going 12mph during your intervals, there is an added mental fitness portion that comes into play while training indoors. Sure, it’s WAY MORE enjoyable and easier to pass the time while training outside, with different routes, changing elevation, and nicer scenery. The mind can easily wander during that 3rd 45-minute effort, thinking about the beautiful weather outside, or the delicious meal that awaits you upon completion. Fighting that mental fatigue, as well as learning your heart rate and power levels in a controlled environment, can only be beneficial come race day.

4. Camaraderie

Let’s face it…what’s more fun than riding a bike with all your friends? That’s a great part of indoor training…everyone can train TOGETHER, no matter what ability level you are! You can leave your fears of not being able to keep up at the door, mount a bicycle, and pedal along with all your friends! You can also gain motivation from others. It’s ALWAYS more fun when you have folks who can both cheer for you and challenge you to go the extra mile and complete the workout.. 


Should we ditch the outside all together? No, of course not! Beyond getting a little sunlight, there are copious amounts of reasons to get outside, including practicing your ability to actually RIDE a bike, and seeing the world from a different view (nothing like riding a bike to take in some scenery)! But more often than not, your fitness goals or season planning, start sometime in the winter. Rather than dread hitting the spin bike, treadmill, or gym, take advantage of all the positives that can come from training indoors.

~Joe Rich - ORR Coach and Cycle Life Operations Director

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