How to Complement Your Turbo Training Experience
Getting a workout in on the turbo trainer is a great alternative to road riding. If you’re short on time or attritional weather conditions may compromise safety or comfort, hopping on the turbo could be the answer. Turbo sessions are typically shorter and more intense than your average road ride, making them an efficient and challenging way to train. Because indoor training is so convenient year-round, it’s worth revisiting your indoor training setup regularly. We delve into some recommended accessories that will take your pain cave experience to new levels.
Keep the Sweat at Bay
Training indoors in a warm environment, often with the door closed to try and minimise disruption to other household members, means that sweating profusely and turbo training sessions go hand in hand. With this in mind, it is worth protecting your bike with a practical sweat cover. Attaching at the handlebars and seatpost, a sweat cover will prevent sweat from getting into your headset and causing it to rust and corrode, ultimately causing some considerable damage when you’re back on the road. Sweat can also damage bolts and even paint, so avoid tarnishing your bike with one of our sweat covers.
A good counterpart to the sweat cover is a floor mat, which will help keep your training area clean and protect the surface beneath your bike from scratches and other damage. They add grip to prevent slipping and also dampen vibration for noise reduction during even your toughest sessions.
Never Miss a Beat With a Heart Rate Monitor
Heart rate is a common data field to have visible on your bike computer during indoor training sessions. It is a great way of measuring performance and intensity in lieu of or in combination with a power meter, as they easily connect with a range of different devices to give you the most accurate data from your session. Keeping an eye on your heart rate during a session can assist in helping you stick to training zones and ensure you are riding within your means.
It’s also a great way to understand how you are progressing from session to session, however, it’s worth keeping in mind that heart rate can change depending on other external factors like having a cough or cold, caffeine or stress. There are predominantly two types of heart rate monitor, chest and arm-mounted. For indoor training, it’s also worth noting that neither type of HR monitor’s capability is affected by sweat, so you should get accurate readings, however intense the workout.
Bring the Real World Inside
It is never going to be possible to completely replicate cycling on the road indoors but that does not mean you can't get a little bit closer to that real-world feeling with the help of technology. Whether that is the feeling of the bike moving under you with a Saris MP1 Nfinity Trainer Platform or get those climbing legs on with the Wahoo KICKR CLIMB Indoor Grade Simulator that mimics different gradients. Both combine seamlessly with third-party training platforms such as Zwift.
Fans to Make Indoor Training a Breeze
Indoor sessions can sometimes feel too hot to handle, so staying hydrated and controlling the temperature of your surroundings as much as possible can be hugely beneficial. It’s important to take water or an electrolyte drink on board for more taxing sessions. Ideally, try to keep doors and windows open to create a cooling draught. If you are in a more confined space, a decent fan will provide the same effect. The Wahoo KICKR HEADWIND Fan goes the extra mile to optimise your workout.
Cycle Clothing to Keep You Cool
Often, it’s our more tired kit that’s deemed fit for the turbo due to the tough and sweaty nature of an indoor session. Your cycle clothing should not be ignored just because you are not training outside. A good set of shorts or bib shorts with a seatpad that is comfortable for you is imperative for indoor training. On the turbo trainer, we tend to move around a lot less than when riding on the road - there’s no cafe stop and we’re not unclipping repeatedly at lights. Riding in a fixed position for the duration of your session necessitates a set of bib shorts that fit tightly and are breathable and quick drying.
A moisture-wicking base layer is a necessity for hot indoor sessions; they draw moisture away from the skin to keep you dry and your core temperature stable. Should you want to wear a jersey, there are plenty of lightweight options available to keep you cool. A lightweight cap can also be useful for keeping sweat and hair out of the eyes during an indoor session. Favour those with mesh construction for turbo use over heavier materials designed to insulate in colder weather.
Turn the Music up with Headphones
A turbo trainer’s monotonous hum is not exactly the awe-inspiring soundtrack you need when setting up for a hard session in the pain cave, and nor is hearing your own breath, reminding you how brutal intervals are. Eliminate unwanted background noise and truly find your focus for the session with a set of headphones. A favourite for us, Aftershokz's innovative open ear design allows for phenomenal sound quality whilst still being able to hear what’s going on around you. Their headphones are sweat-resistant, with waterproof models available too.
Sit Comfortably with Chamois Cream
To avoid irritation and friction between bibs and skin, chamois cream is an essential part of the pre-ride ritual, and indoor sessions are no exception. As previously mentioned, sitting in a fixed position for an extended period of time can have some adverse effects on comfort, so chamois cream plays a key role in alleviating this. Many are formulated with anti-microbial ingredients and properties to keep skin healthy and protected against chafing. Muc-Off's Athlete Performance Luxury Chamois Cream is a favourite thanks to its aloe vera, shea butter and provitamin makeup, making it an antibacterial and non-greasy choice.
Clean Up and Keep your Bike Protected
We mentioned how sweaty indoor training can be, so to keep your pain cave germ-free it’s worth wiping down equipment after each session. It’s tempting to give your bike a quick once-over with the towel you’ve just spent the session sweating into, but to avoid damaging your bike over time, a specific equipment cleaner is best for the job. Muc-Off Indoor Training Antibacterial Equipment Cleaner is potent against germs and safe for use on all surfaces and materials, ensuring you can continue to train in a clean environment.
Training indoors can help you maintain and even boost fitness levels when on-road riding isn’t an option. Tweaking your pain cave setup with just a few of these tips can optimise training and shift your perception of indoor sessions from chore to luxury.