Hi friends. I am new here. I did a search for this topic and didn’t find any pertinent threads, so I’m hoping that’s okay.
The title says it all. Riding on a trainer, of any sort, rollers, anything inside, indoors is just torture to me. No, Zwift and any of those others don’t help. None. I’d rather do yardwork, to be honest.
I bring this up because there seems to be a lot of focus not just on TR but in the training world everywhere, how you almost have to ride indoors on a trainer to truly be consistent and see the best gains.
Is there anyone here who rides 100% outdoors, has a TR plan, and has it work for them? I should note I can tolerate cold, wet, nasty weather quite well.
You can absolutely get comparable results riding outside, but how achievable that is in practice will depend on where you are. If you don’t have relatively safe, uninterrupted roads around you or live somewhere you can’t ride consistently year-round it might not be as realistic.
Where I live now a lot of people look down on riding indoors or prefer to just not do it entirely, but we’re also fortunate to have mild winters and not a lot of traffic. That’s not the case for everyone, and the indoor trainer can be an invaluable tool for those in less “cycling-friendly” areas. There’s also a convenience aspect to indoor training which I think is probably fairly relevant to most amateurs, but if the logistics are in your favour and you can achieve whatever your riding/training goals are without the trainer there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that- and I think most of us would prefer it!
I got fit and fast just riding lots outside in all weathers. Road gave me endurance, mtb and cx gave me higher intensity training.
Despite a lot of people adamantly insisting that most of my riding would have been considered ‘junk’ miles, I’ve always maintained that riding your bikes lots on all terrains and in all conditions, is the best way to get quickest in many of the cycling disciplines, especially off-road racing. The ability to maintain a high speed on slippery, awkward terrain, can not be learnt on a turbo trainer.
Most pro riders train outdoors…if indoors was so much better, would they not do that?
Indoor riding can be easier - no need to leave the house, and you can 100% focus on your session without dealing with terrain and traffic.
If you want to ride indoors, one thing that is a must is good cooling - at least one powerful fan, or a/c or just live somewhere cold. Otherwise your body can’t dump the heat it generates (3x more than what you put on the pedals), and will make you feel miserable to stop you from going too hard. A permanent indoor setup that’s just there when you want also helps. There is a newish thread here “indoor performance aids” that shows to what extremes people go to train well indoors. Tbh, it really puts me off! I just want to ride my bike, lol.
I gave up on trying to train indoors last winter. I feel like I might be ready again to try and do some sessions indoors, but my main training is outdoors.
For time-crunched athletes (i.e. people who aren’t riding so much that maintaining structure is irrelevant), riding indoors on a trainer gives you some consistency shortcuts that take discipline (do every interval without cheating on the power target or recoveries, stay in Z2 without throwing in the odd Strava KOM attempt, do your workout in the cold and wind and sudden hailstorm, etc.) and luck (live someplace with a route that matches your workout, don’t get interrupted by cars or pedestrians or animal life, have roads that are rideable all year, etc.) to replicate outside. You can absolutely be consistent outside, and I try pretty hard to do that when my routes aren’t covered in ice, but the trainer is a pretty important backup option for me.
If you don’t need to ride inside then by all means stay outside! Zwift doesn’t work for me either, but Netflix and an industrial-strength fan or two have been lifesavers.
Lookit, so do the rest of us but I’m not buying a fat bike just do to threshold intervals outside in a meter of snow, and I’d like my indoor backup to be better than yardwork ok
I prefer riding outdoors, especially with a group but with the weather, rain, kids and travel. I find the indoor option gives me the extra 30% I would otherwise miss. As others have said a good fan, some entertainment will do wonders. I initially got into it during lockdown and used the group ride option to catch up with my brother on the other side of the country. … ended up enjoying it… sort of !
I prefer to ride/train outdoors but sometimes with life it isn’t possible if you want to get a short focussed session etc. For instance I’ve only time for a 1hour VO2max session after dark in winter. Come days like that my training is indoors and any outdoors rides at the weekend tend to be leisure rides. Indoors since I’ve started with power (virtual at first) and short interval sessions isn’t really the chore for me these days but if you had asked me pre that I would have said, “I can’t ride inside”.
I really prefer to train and ride outdoors, It is just easier for me and I seem to be able to put out Power way easier on the Road, what feels incredible difficult on the Trainer is way easier on a Hill… But because I mostly Train when the Kids are in Bed it gets dark and riding in the Dark is not the nicest thing, so now that the days are already getting a bit shorter it’s back to more indoor riding…
Not sure this is a fair comparison. Pros do much longer rides as part of their workouts. 3-5 hour rides are much less practical indoors. They also need to scout courses, do altitude training and practice descending. There are a lot of reasons for a pro to be outside that don’t apply. I’m not saying one is better than the other, but I’m not completely agreeing with the idea that we all need to train like pros. Not to mention, I saw PLENTY of pros, including whole teams of Alpecin and Israel riding up the Alpe du Zwift several times during the offseason. Could have been weather forcing them indoors, but they still do it.
What I mean is, there is this idea that indoor training is better. It’s not. It has advantages, and those might make it better for eg a time-crunched parent, but it isn’t better in every case. If it was better regardless of time etc, all pros would train indoors, but they don’t. Yes, some do some of their training indoors, but probably for the same reasons as non-pros - lack of time or suitable terrain, or injury etc. Plus some teams are sponsored by eg Zwift or Wahoo and the riders probably have some sort of obligation of using the stuff.