Cycling can be the most time consuming activity if the workouts are not focused and purposeful. Hills and intervals are great workouts to incorporate while long easy rides are less necessary. The same training benefit can be accomplished on a shorter ride or even an easy run. To me, it’s always nice to ride outside but there are also benefits to riding indoors. During the winter and poor weather days, a trainer is extremely useful.
- Whether riding indoors or outdoors, INTERVALS are a must. As you get stronger, you should do longer intervals with less recovery. This will test your ability to recovery aerobically and physically so that your muscles are ready to push on the next set. Start off with 3 minutes hard and then 1.5 minutes recovery. As you get more comfortable and more fit, increase to 4 on and 2 off.
- HILLS – Outside, these are just what it says. Find a hill or a series of hills that are long enough for a 3+ minute effort. Start climbing! You can mix it up so that you stand the whole way up, peddle at high cadence, peddle at low cadence, etc. Each approach has it’s own specific benefit so go into the workout with a clear mind for the training benefit. DON’T DO MEANINGLESS WORK!
- Indoor vs. Outdoor Cycling – This article highlights some pros and cons of both training approaches. Consistency and weather are major factors in using a trainer. You can get a cleaner ride with less interruptions indoors but you must be diligent with the workout.
- Power vs. Heart Rate Monitor – Heart rate monitors are less expensive than power meters but also have more variance. An effort that produces 140bpm could be different from one day to the next while 250 watts is always the same power output. This article from TrainerRoad highlights the advantages to both while ultimately siding with power. If possible, you can get a trainer with power so that you can have two pieces of equipment in one.