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Words of advice on adapting outdoor rides to indoors with Coach Scotty Farrell
The east coast of Australia, to put it lightly, has had a sprinkle or two of water this year, so far, and things aren’t looking to improve too much either, being a la nina year.
There’s been a stack of event cancellations, and a heap of shuffling in-house to get sessions done. A lot of athletes who previously might consider themselves as ‘rain, hail or shine’ kinda people, have even jumped on the indoor smart trainer bandwagon. I won’t go into the benefits of the indoor trainer today, but let’s talk about how to adapt an outdoor session to an indoor one, on the fly, and what the caveats are attached to this.
There are a few scenarios where we might need to change it up a bit through the week. The main one is usually wet weather. Other times might include, sick kids, flying solo and can’t leave the kids at home by themselves, work life getting hectic… you get the picture.
In my opinion, there’s no substitute for good old fashioned time in the saddle, but when life or weather events happen, here’s my thoughts on adapting sessions from outside, to inside:
* If a session is race specific with lots of time spent working around race pacing or the like, and we are nearing race day, then culling volume off a session, in my opinion, is less likely required. I think there’s an element of ‘get on the trainer and get it done’ involved. But, not so new smart trainer platforms like Zwift, make taking an outdoor session, and replicating it on the trainer (without the traffic, weather etc) much easier. For example, if I was 5-6 weeks out from an Ironman race, and I had a 5-6 hour ride with a handful of race specific efforts (5 x 20 mins @ race rpe) then I’m just going to get on Zwift, choose a loop or course similar to what I would have ridden outside, and get on with it. Or perhaps I might choose to do my efforts on a low gradient climb (doable on Zwift) where I can control my wattage/HR/RPE easily and still remain in the aero position.
Further out from a race, let’s say 12+ weeks, then I might consider winding back the volume a bit more, but then again, I come from the old school mindset of ‘if it’s on my program, I get it done no matter what…’, within the realms of good healthy training of course.
For most of us, training during the week is very specific and often involves using a smart trainer to punch out shorter ‘trainer sets’ anyway. It’s the longer outdoor rides that require the edits sometimes. Again though, software and smart trainers have taken the guesswork out of needing to adapt things. Likely for most of you reading this, you have or have had a coach that will adapt or give alternative suggestions, and have heard this kind of thing before, but it’s a good reminder.
Other things to think about when going from outside to inside, especially for longer periods of time:
There we have it, a few simple tips to help you adapt to wet weather training from outside to inside on the bike trainer.
Like anything related to individuals, and the reason we believe wholeheartedly in personalised coaching and programming, every person is unique and comes with a host of nuance. So whilst we might have some guidelines for ‘how to adapt’ things on the fly, there’s no substitute for changing things to suit an individual. Without all the knowledge of what goes on in a person’s life, it’s very difficult to apply any steadfast rules. Variables are what make life what it is… full of nuance and semi-organised chaos. ;-) Embrace the opportunity, and know that the rain period will end (eventually). Take solace in the fact that all those hours spent ticking away on the turbo trainer will make you that little bit stronger without all the traffic delays.
Stay safe and have fun enjoying the sport you love!
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