With limited time and concerns for safety, the popularity of indoor trainers has been on the rise. Still, many athletes have considered it a tool to make it through the cold and dark winter days or the absolute last resort during the summer season.
But are trainers beneficial for year-round training? We think so and we are actually seeing it proven on a regular basis as athletes in our community see bike PRs by primarily training on their trainer.
Team member Gary Thompson had a bike PR at a recent 70.3. He was a bit surprised since he had only ridden two times outdoors before the event but found that his Wahoo KICKR was a powerful training tool.
The combination of the Kickr and Zwift was a game changer for me. The Kickr allowed me to dial in my training. It gave me the freedom to ride safely at any time of the day that fit into my schedule. While making sure I was maximizing my effort during those workouts. Training for my last 70.3 I was only able to ride outside twice due to weather, work, and family time. Using the Kickr for all my training I was able to have my personal best and most consistent bike split.
Pro-triathletes like Andy Potts, Jan Frodeno, and Haley Chura also spend the majority of their time on the indoor trainer and are consistently seeing top results on race day.
Are you still on the fence about investing in a smart trainer like a Wahoo KICKR? Besides the benefit to the rider’s safety, here are some of our top benefits.
Indoor training saves time.
Most triathletes are juggling busy careers and family obligations. Indoor trainers give them the ability to train at any time. You can get up before dawn to get in a good training ride or wait until the kids are asleep to do your workout. Busy mom, veterinarian and team member Abby Mowinski mentioned that her trainer gives her the flexibility to train while still making family a priority,
On Sunday I was on the trainer between spending time with the family and power washing the deck. I had an hour and a half and that was what I could get in.
Since Abby is a regular on the podium, this strategy seems to be serving her well!
Indoor training is more efficient
Not only does indoor training save time, it's also more efficient. A one-hour indoor can give you roughly the same amount of work as a 90-100 minute outdoor ride. When riding outdoors, most riders end up stopping often for red-lights, gas station pit stops, flat tires, group selfies, and more. Riding indoors means you are constantly applying pressure to the pedals rather than coasting downhill. Depending on the route, you could be working 50% more indoors than outdoors.
Indoor training allows you to train smarter.
While long outdoor rides are great for endurance, bike handling skills and mental sanity, the trainer is a much better tool for specificity in your training. Whether it’s a workout that a coach gives you or a workout from a program like Trainer Road, indoor training allows you to work hard and recover at set intervals.
Indoor training isn’t for everyone. Some people can’t handle more than a few short sessions on the trainer even in the worst weather conditions of the year. Others find outdoor riding to be the mental break they need from their busy lives. We find that most athletes are finding the sweet spot by riding indoors during the week and doing their longer rides outdoors on the weekend.