September rolled around faster than any of us could have expected, and it won’t be long before the long nights start drawing in and the temperature begins to drop. Soon, the elation of riding on the road will be a distant memory, but that’s not to say training can’t still be fun.
Whether you’re coming off the back of a successful road season, recovering from an injury picked up earlier in the year or are just starting out on the bike, indoor training is likely to play a crucial part in your routine over the next few months.
As you take the autumn and winter to ready yourself for your next season, we’ve come together with our friends at FulGaz and The Sufferfest to provide some top tips for starting your indoor season. Check out the recommended sessions to get you back into the indoor training spirit, too.
“If you're coming back from a break and returning to indoor training, there are some common pitfalls to avoid. Most of us tend to try to do too much too soon. Normally this isn't too much volume, it's trying to ride too hard,” says Mike Clucas, CEO and founder at FulGaz.
Pushing yourself too hard too soon isn’t going to do you any favours, and if you’re training indoors to fit in around your busy schedule you need to ensure your training sessions are as productive as possible. The temptation to push yourself is always there, so make sure you start your season sensibly to avoid wasting time later down the line.
“We're being presented with more and more data when we ride. It's easy for FTP to go from meaning ‘Functional Threshold Power"’(how much power you can sustain for an hour) to ‘Fantasy Threshold Power.; Stick to the power level you used to be able to manage,” Mike advises.
No matter which app you’re using, it’s worth starting your indoor season with an FTP test. If you’ve had a great road season, it might even be better than the previous system, so don’t let the dread put you off!
Mike recommends focusing on building your aerobic energy supplies first. “At this stage, it's more about how much total work you can do at a productive intensity rather than tackling one ride that almost snaps your legs in half. In FulGaz, this means choosing rides from the easy category,” he says. If you're also looking to build some pedalling skills into your rides, try Cruising by the lake in the new FulGaz Workout Library.”
Similarly, Dylan Robbins, Head of Marketing at The Sufferfest recommends building on your FTP, as well as working on your neuromuscular training. “The Sufferfest’s Getting away with it session is a great session to add toward the end of a training block,” he says. “The shorter duration, sub-threshold efforts are fantastic for getting some extra FTP building while you are in a fatigued state. Extra emphasis on cadence stresses your nervous system, making your body more efficient at both higher and lower RPMs while improving your form. The neuromuscular training you get from this session is fantastic, so while your power never exceeds the threshold, your body will learn to bring more energy to the pedals at all intensities.”
If you’re looking for a more well-rounded session, Dylan recommends The Chores. The workout features three sets of intervals, with each set combining a series of 40-second efforts with 20-second recoveries, followed by an immediate transition to a sustained effort just below threshold.
“These short efforts with minimal recovery deplete your anaerobic gas tank, forcing your body to get better at producing power aerobically. This combination will help improve your Anaerobic Capacity, your Maximal Aerobic Power, and your Functional Threshold Power all in just under an hour,” Dylan states. Training all of these at once makes for a super productive, quick session.
The Wattbike Hub
If you’re looking for a series of sessions to get you back into the swing of things, or not really sure where to start when it comes to building your fitness, why not start one of the training plans on the Wattbike Hub? The Cycling Fundamentals base plan is a 13-week programme that focuses on three key components of fitness: strength, threshold training and endurance, allowing you to later tailor your training to suit your needs. There are also a number of Health Plans with levels ranging from beginner to advanced, which will give you a great base to build from if your primary goal is building your health and fitness levels.
Don’t forget you can get a free lifetime membership to the Wattbike Hub, plus free trials for both The Sufferfest and FulGaz when you buy the Wattbike Atom.