Make the Most of Two Days Stuck Indoors
Out west the Sierras and Rockies got pummeled by snow earlier this week, and this weekend it’s the East Coast’s turn. Across the northern half of the US, and maybe some parts of the south, a lot of cyclists and triathletes are going to be spending the next few days riding indoors. Runners fare pretty well in snowstorms, but unless you have a fatbike a cyclist’s best bet for training is going to be on the indoor trainer. In addition to encouraging everyone affected by this weekend’s storm to stay safe, I have a two-day Snowpocalypse Indoor Cycling Block for you!
Download your free copy of the Snowpocalypse Indoor Cycling Block
It’s sunny and warm where you are? Then go outside! But even if you’re not on the East Coast this weekend, there’s bound to be some point during the year when you’re stuck indoors for two days. Yes, even you folks in the warm southern states who sometimes point out that these winter-oriented blogs don’t apply to you. This one does. You have hurricanes. And regardless of where you live, sometimes it’s not the weather that keeps you from training outdoors. It may just be the other priorities you have during certain weekends.
When you have the opportunity to ride indoors for two back-to-back days (we’re going to stay positive and look at the bright side of this, people!) I want you to keep two goals in mind:
Goal #1: 2000 Kilojoules
Between your two rides, aim to accumulate a total of 2000 Kilojoules. To accumulate this workload in two indoor rides could mean two very hard training sessions, two relatively long training sessions, or one of each. At a steady endurance pace (riding along steadily while watching a movie) you might accumulate 500Kj/hr, so you would need 4 hours total on the trainer over the course of two days. If you do two interval workouts that increase your hourly output to 800Kj/hr, you’re looking at two 75-minute workouts.
I picked 2000 Kilojoules because it’s a good middle-ground number for moderately-fit, medium-sized athletes. If you’re using a Wahoo Fitness KICKR or KICKR SNAP you can see your kilojoule count on the iphone app or your ELEMNT or other handlebar-mounted computer. The kilojoules of work you perform are based on the power you produce and the duration of the effort (Kilojoules = Average power x duration x 3.6). So, averaging 200 watts for 1 hour yields 720 kilojoules of work. If you could average 200 watts for about 2 hours and 46 minutes, you’d accumulate 2000 Kilojoules. But beginners have lower average power outputs. So do smaller riders, who might have high power-to-weight ratios but still have relatively low actual power outputs. These groups would have to be on the trainer a lot longer to accumulate 2000 Kilojoules. In contrast, bigger riders with more muscle mass, or strong and experienced riders, have higher power outputs and might blow through 2000 Kilojoules a lot quicker.
You can either keep it simple and just shoot for 2000 Kilojoules, or adjust as follows based on your size and fitness level. If you fit into two categories, like a small rider with advanced fitness, aim for the middle group: 2000Kj.
|Smaller or Beginner||Moderate size and fitness||Bigger or advanced fitness|
|1700 Kilojoules||2000 Kilojoules||2300 Kilojoules|
Goal #2: Focus on one energy system
Depending on the time of year and your goals you can use an indoor weekend training block to focus on aerobic development with Tempo workouts, power at lactate threshold with intervals like SteadyStates, or power at VO2max with short, maximum-intensity intervals. Whatever you choose, the idea is to target the same energy system both days. You can even do the exact same workout both days. To keep things more interesting than that, the two different interval sets in the Snowpocalypse Indoor Cycling Block both aim to improve your sustainable power at lactate threshold.
Lactate threshold intervals are well suited to indoor training in the winter. They are more challenging than steady, moderate-paced riding, and hence generate more kilojoules in less time. They are more engaging than moderate-paced endurance riding indoors as well. And, improving power at lactate threshold helps to increase your sustainable pace and power output at your “cruising” intensity.
Stay Safe and Warm!
CEO/Head Coach of CTS