Winter is coming. When it’s getting cold and dark in the evenings, many cyclists no longer go outside for their training rides. Do you want to maintain the fitness you’ve build up carefully this summer and get fit during the winter? Indoor training might be a good fit! Never trained on an indoor bike trainer before? We have 6 tips for you!

1. Find the indoor bike trainer that suits you

Once you start looking for an indoor trainer, you’ll see that there are many options to choose from. Tacx has various indoor trainers, suitable for all cyclists. Which trainer suits you best depends on your wishes and goals.

There are Basic trainers and Smart trainers. Smart trainers can be connected to cycling software, Basic trainers do not have this option*.  Also, there are wheel-on trainers and direct drive trainers (see this article for more info). The Smart trainers are connected to a computer, tablet or a smartphone. The power you pedal is transmitted wirelessly. Many Smart trainers are interactive; does your program make you ride uphill? Then the resistance will become heavier automatically. This is fun if you use Zwift or the Tacx software and apps, for example.

Whichever Basic or Smart trainer you choose will depend on your wishes. How much power do you want to be able to deliver? Which maximum uphill percentage do you wish to simulate? How quiet does the trainer need to be? And what is your budget? If you answer these questions, you will see that the selection you can choose from will become smaller.

* The Tacx Satori is the exception to the rule

2. Determine your training goals

Before you start, determine your training goal or goals. Why are you going to train inside? Do you want to build up more endurance? Do you want to burn fat? Or do you want to increase your explosiveness? Based on your goals you can decide which cycling software best suits your needs.

Tacx has innovative indoor training software. Tacx Premium or Premium HD subscribers can enjoy a library filled with high quality training films, structured training plans and GPS workouts. The power based and goal specific structured 5 week training plans are available for different fitness levels. There’s a plan for every cyclist!

3. Put your trainer in the right place

Prepare yourself: indoor training means sweating like a pig. Therefore, make sure that you train in the best possible circumstances. Some people go all in, turning their garage into an indoor training Walhalla. You do not have to go this far. Find yourself a room or space that is not too warm. It helps when your training space is well ventilated. If necessary, open doors and windows.

Place a table or a little shelf in front of the setup, where you can place your computer screen, laptop or tablet. Depending on the indoor trainer you have chosen, the trainer might make some noise. If the trainer does make a little noise, you might want to put in a place where the other people in your home or the neighbours do not hear you too much.

4. Get the right accessories

Don’t forget to bring enough drinking bottles. As you might be sweating heavily, you want to drink during and after the training session. We also recommend placing a mat under your trainer and a sweat cover on your bike. The mat protects your floor as it will absorb your sweat drops and keeps the setup stable. The sweat cover also absorbs your sweat drops, in order to protect your bike. Place a towel on the handlebars or within easy reach. You might also want to buy a good fan to keep you cool.

If you use a Smart trainer, you will need a laptop or tablet to put in front of you. Did you choose a Basic trainer? Use a set of speakers to listen to music or place a screen in front of you to watch tv during your endurance training session. Check out this article for the essential indoor training accessories.

5. Start training

Now that you have a training goal and you have placed your trainer in the best possible space, it’s time to start using it! Choose a training program that suits your fitness and goals.
Whatever you choose, don’t go all in immediately. Make sure you start and build up the training program calmly. It might be nice and warm inside, your muscles are not ready for immediate action.

6. Keep it fun

Once you’ll start training indoors, you’ll notice that training inside is totally different from outside. If you train outside, kilometres and hours sometimes seem to fly by. For many cyclists, this is different during inside training. Try to keep the training session fun. If you have an interactive trainer, you can ride with other friends with interactive trainers, or you can battle people from all over the world. Did you choose a Basic trainer? Try putting on some stirring music or watch a Netflix episode during a long endurance ride.

Don’t forget to enjoy the training session. You are working on your fitness and will be happy you’ve trained indoor when next season starts. Enjoy the ride!