It might be the same scenery, but it can be a different scene. Pedaling indoors doesn't have to be a mundane experience. The winter months provide an excellent opportunity for early season base training inside where it's warm and dry. In climates where cycling outdoors in February just won't work (my little part of the world included!) fan trainers that connect to your bike's rear wheel can be the perfect answer to keep moving in anticipation of the spring. So you've bought yourself a fan trainer (Bell makes a good one called the Motivator for about $100)and have a handful of spins completed. If you've gotten bored already that's sure to kill your motivation (see Bell product name above!) to continue. Staving off boredom in the early going will unquestionably keep the fire burning to advance your training program.
Some will argue that over stimulation while on the fan trainer is detrimental to the workout. I tend to think the opposite. Anything that helps the passage of time, helps you stay on the bike and have a great workout. Ipod playlists can be constructed to guide you through the phases of your workout by selecting music that fits for warming up, higher intensity and then cooling down at the end. Come visit me on Twitter @brentkinnaird for my 'essential ipod workout playlist tune of the day' where i'll suggest something new that might please your ears. Matching music to the phases of your ride is critical to maintaining the right tempo and pedal cadence. Don't listen to the same music everytime you ride. I've created five different cycling playlists that I alternate each time I ride. Remember, mix it up to keep the boredom at bay! I like to also put concert videos on the laptop and position the screen a few feet from the handlebars.
Even with the best cycling shorts you can buy, too much time in the saddle will still become uncomfortable. Keeping shifting your position, stretching your arms periodically helps to keep your entire body loose. 30 seconds or a minute pedaling standing up will give your backside a rest too...that little break throughout the ride makes a big difference, and also alters your tempo (more on intervals in a future post).
Don't forget these necessary steps to ensure a good ride:
1. Have a small fan blowing cool air on you...you can heat up pretty fast.
2. Hydrate early and often, as with any workout, don't wait until your thirsty. that's too late.
3. Wear your normal cycling kit, the jersey on makes you feel like you're out for ride on the asphalt.
4. Give yourself time to cool down and stretch following the ride. It's a workout like any other.
5. Keep your head up (no need to watch for cars!) but it does help breathing with a fully open airway.
In the song Open Road Brian Adams sang "I'm sittin' at the wheel, i got a green light. I'm not afraid of nothing cuz, heart and soul, i'm built for life. So let the engines roar, push the pedal down. I want the white lines on the highway, to lead me outta town."
Life is an open road to me...enjoy your ride.