Monday, January 5, 2009

Train Indoors Without Going Insane?

Riding your trainer indoors while watching Tour de France videos is like masturbation. We all know that, but we're afraid to admit it, honestly because we have nothing else. It's shameful, you can't talk about it at parties, and it doesn't compare to the real thing.

Winter training sucks and spinning classes aren't any better. They sound great in theory, but then you get there and a sorority chick who's never ridden outside and just got done with a step class is teaching your class. The classroom stinks, the bikes are uncomfortable, and you feel like a total tool wearing bike shorts while a soccer mom is in basketball shorts and a spaghetti string tanktop beside you.

So what is a rider to do? It was with great exuberation that I opened my inbox this morning to find an article from Triathlon with the picture above and a catchy "Train Indoors Without Going Insane" mantra. At first glance I thought, sweet! I can dress up in Ben Stiller-ish clothes and ride an old-assed exercise bike while hot cheerleader types prance around me with their hair flying everywhere. I would ride a Huffy on an old rusty indoor trainer if that you were the case.

Sadly, as I started to read the article it wasn't the case. Not only that, but I started to search for the meat of the advice, there had to be some, but I couldn't really find any. The article seemed to say that goals and planning will help you get through the boring winter, with some Spinerval plugs thrown in. Spinervals aren't the answer for me, I'll start doing them when Coach Troy puts some music on them that doesn't sound like carnival porn.

So looking at goals and planning, my goal is to ride really fast in the Pottawatomie Pounders Century next year. Now that I've defined the goal, all I have to do is ride the trainer all the time now that it won't be boring, what incredible advice! My objective will probably be that I have to punch myself really hard for every minute that I ride under an hour on the trainer.

We can all see that is not going to work, so I took the time this morning to lay out some alternative training solutions for making indoor training less boring. I invite Coach Troy to use them as he sees fit.

1) Strip-ervals - After a 20 minute warm-up, your significant other removes one item of clothinig for every interval of specified duration you complete. Careful planning must be done here so that the workout is completed by the time nakedness ensues.

2) Beer climbs - Who doesn't like beer? No one says you can't drink while riding, if anyone does then they haven't ridden RAGBRAI or seen Team Good Beer. Simulate a long climb using a higher gear and really pushing it. At the end, reward yourself with a few drinks of your favorite beer. Repeat until the workout is complete. The beer replenishes carbohydrates and is way more rewarding than nasty Endurox or sissy chocolate milk.

3) Chocolate workouts - Everyone wants chocolate, but bike magazines make you feel all guilty about blowing your diet. Instead they want you to drink Endurox or chocolate milk as if that is some sort of reward. Screw that, it's a punishment! Complete this workout, get your favorite chocolate, it's that easy. Just don't eat it if you don't complete the workout, I'm watching.

4) Fat Cyclist Livestrong intervals - Every time you don't complete an hour long trainer workout, you donate a specified amount of your bike upgrade fund to Fat Cyclist's Livestrong cause. So even if you aren't doing what is good physically, you'll be making up for it by supporting a great cause.

5) Bicycling magazine Lance intervals - while you ride the trainer, have someone read Bicycling magazine to you, any page, any article. Every time "Lance" is mentioned you sprint until his name is said again.

6) Night out completions - If you complete all of your planned trainer workouts for the week, you get a guys/girls night out. Obviously this one is only going to work if your significant other supports you riding on the trainer, if not, good luck.

These were just a couple of ways to make indoor training less boring this winter. There are many, many more, you just have to be creative. Now back to punching myself really hard for not completing the workout this morning.


Sonya said...

YES! That is awesome :) I will have to try some of those if I have to ride the trainer again!

Anonymous said...

Lance intervals *chortle*

If you're going to donate to Team Fatty, make sure its on my page!

sean said...


You feel the same way my partner did before we designed the RealRyder. You can find us at and search on you tube for Realryder. depending where you live you might have a realryder facility near you. we just had a news story on Fox.;jsessionid=767C70BE855675F426C177067F44527E?contentId=8192778&version=3&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=TSTY&pageId=1.1.1&sflg=1

I hope this helps your sanity.


Nick said...

I would like to add one if I may.

*7. Remember.. riding a bike is fun. Do an interval until fun is no longer experienced. Training session is then over until you feel it may be fun again.

note: Pain is fun. Once you realize this you will accel at indoor suffering.

BikeLemming said...

Good point Nick, good point!

EssKay said...

I find listening to Mastodon's 'Blood Mountain' helps tremendously.