Indoor Bike Training When The Weather Is Bad?

Do you ever consider doing a session on an indoor trainer (spinning or hometrainer) instead of cancelling an outdoor training session due to bad weather?

Training in cold, bad weather is probably not good for you. Your performance goes down, your motivation goes down, and your bike gets dirty. Most riders don’t like that.

Good planning is your friend

Don’t let the weather surprise you again tomorrow, so instead of having the same problem the following day, take a look at the weather forecast. Then, make a new training plan for the rest of the week (or month!) Being aware of the weather is an excellent place to start if you want to maximize your training program’s success rate.

Indoor cycling is a great alternative

So what do I tell my riders when there is bad weather? I always recommend my riders to do indoor cycling instead. If you are dedicated to your training program, you can always ride it on a stationary bike. Bump. It’s all about being committed (and a bit crazy). I’ve done several rides of 3hrs on a stationary bike and have a personal best of 5hrs on a stationary bike.

I think it is a question about personality – some riders get bored if they have to ride 1hr on an indoor bike, and others can do several hours without getting bored. Some of my riders do their planned ride on the stationary bike, and others prefer to take a shorter, more intensive ride.

Quitters never win, Winners never quit

Cancelling is not an option if you want to achieve outstanding results. But don’t be stupid because you want to stick to the training plan. As I’ve said previously, sound planning is your friend.

3 thoughts on “Indoor Bike Training When The Weather Is Bad?”

  1. The temperature here in costal Norway has been fluctuating from -5C to 1C for a while now, making for very icy, changing conditions. This makes training on the road basically impossible. Riding is sometimes possible, but not fast enough to call it training. So I have been riding my rollers in my shed 3-5 times per week for 1.5 hours. Rollers keep it interesting enough, and with music, 2 x 20 minute sub-threshold intervals I get a good base workout.
    In previous winters I have not ridden when the weather has been like this, often not getting on a bike at all until March or April. I expect that this season’s preparation will pay off big time once the season starts (which isn’t really until May around here). Ice is what limits me. Wet and grime is fine.

    Sometimes I go outside with my single speed mountain bike, and among other things do some one-legged pedaling sprints/intervals. Duration varies from 20 seconds to 4 minutes. My theory with those exercises is that I will improve my pedal stroke, increase strength, and work on the VO2max uptake of my muscles without having to breath heavily in cold air, as I would doing similar efforts with both legs simultaneously.

    For me the important thing was finding a routine that was not too taxing, that would build a solid foundation for when the road is rideable.

    Jesper, do you think my one-legged VO2max theory is possibly sound?


  2. The only thing in danger of falling off at my house is me 😉

    And at 6 hours per week, when my rollers end up on eBay they sure won’t be described as “as new”!


  3. Indoor training with a powermeter can also be a really focused way to work on specific skills and target desired physiological systems. For instance, short sprints can be used to improve neuromuscular power and, as a result, improve economy at race pace. Intense, slightly longer efforts can specifically target the improvement of cardiac stroke volume (a major factor in determining VO2 max). It all depends on what you are targeting.

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