Words - Nick Locandro
Photography - Santini
5 Steps to Indoor Training
Santini ambassador and team manager of Subaru-Giant National cycling team Nick Locandro sat down with us recently to talk us through how the corona virus has impacted cycling for him and his team. Virtual cycling has been crucial to maintain fitness as well as team morale and he walked us through his 5 tips to get the most out of indoor cycling.
I feel like a bit of broken record saying we are living in unprecedented times, but I’m not quite sure how else to describe it. Almost all normality as we know it is currently out the window or is it? The one constant that has been able to remain the same for me is getting to ride my bike! I have ridden almost everyday for the last four years is my transition from football player to National level cyclist notching up close to 25,000 kilometres every year. This is a big part of my life, not just competing, but the structure it provides me as well as the opportunity to clear my head around full time work.
Social distancing is the number one priority at the moment, I am certainly not here to debate whether you should or shouldn’t be riding outside at the moment, but as cyclist we are really lucky we live in the age of the smart trainer and virtual training, so either way we're set! I personally have been riding inside so I wanted to share my thoughts on how to get through the next few weeks, months? Who knows!
Here is my five-step guide to training indoors:
Dial in your pain cave! This is a great chance to set up your indoor training space just they way you like it. Training indoors can sometimes be somewhat of a task, as we would always rather be outside so creating an environment that makes you want to ride your bike is a good first step! The essentials- Get a good fan! Whether its summer or winter its going to get hot and sweaty so you need a good fan to keep your core temperature down. Invest in some good speakers or headphones- Wind trainers aren’t always the quietest, even smart trainers so whether you’re pumping the music to get through efforts or listening in to your favourite Netflix series during an easy spin it’s a must. Get a good laptop, monitor or TV- Training indoors is made a lot easier by keeping occupied and stimulate whether that be a training platform or Tour De France highlights!
Invest in Zwift or another similar training platform. This is as close as you get to riding on the road. The days of having to stare at your garage wall are over… Thankfully. You can create a meet up and ride virtually with friends or simply ride on different courses with thousands of other cyclist from all around the world! Zwift also have a solid selection of training plans on there to help give you some structured workouts to mix it up. Whether you are an enthusiast looking to beat your mate on the local Saturday morning ride, a triathlete, or serious racer all the plans are adjusted to your ability. Also and as much as I thought I wouldn’t become addicted in levelling up like a game, I definitely have and all I want is that illustrious Tron bike!
Try some online races! Zwift has hundreds of races a day and they are a great hit out! There is a great mixture of races, courses and distances and they are also all graded which means you can ride against others at the same ability. This is also an opportunity to work on your race craft and timing your attacks and sprints. Typically we only race once or twice a week but Zwift means you can race 7 days a week if you want which provided 7 opportunities to perfect your final sprint finish. Racing breaks up the monotony and give you something to look forward to every week as well as a reason to keep training.
Short, sharp sessions! Riding on an indoor trainer is harder than riding out on the road as you are constantly pedaling, even on the down hills so not as much free wheeling. You might have a 2 hour endurance ride scheduled, but you could do it at slightly higher intensity for an hour on an indoor trainer and get the same impact, so don’t be afraid to make your sessions shorter as you’ll still be getting a solid work out! Spending hours on the trainer is also mentally draining and if you do it too often it definitely zaps your enthusiasm and motivation to train indoors in a week or two.
If you don’t feel like riding... DON’T!! I have learnt this lesson the hard way. Sometimes the best thing for your riding is actually not riding! Take the dogs for a walk, spend 20 minutes stretching or even spend some time on your core strength. Riding indoors constantly can be mentally draining so don’t make it a daily grind! Mix it up! Your mind will thank you for it and you’ll come back the next day by hitting the session even harder, rather than dragging yourself through the previous session.
Continuing to have some normality is important, both physically and mentally. So invest in yourself and find a way to continue to ride your bike, whether that be alone outside or inside using some of my tips above. It can be isolating, social connection and engagement is crucial and one of the most overlooked benefits of cycling. So encourage your friends to get on board and plan out some sessions together or even a weekly race so you’ve still got an excuse to make contact, engage and communicate. Nothing better than still having bragging rides after you win one of the Zwift races!