As cyclists, it is natural for us to be target-driven and strive for personal improvement. We often focus on getting faster and fitter, dropping other riders, and winning races. Indoor workouts, such as intervals and ramps, are usually a key aspect of our training, designed to improve our FTP and other key metrics that we track religiously.

Indoor cycling can be a fantastic way to relieve stress and improve mental health.

Participating in group rides or virtual classes can add a fun and social element to our training, making it more enjoyable and less monotonous. Additionally, varying our indoor workouts by incorporating different types of training, such as endurance rides or recovery sessions, can prevent burnout and promote overall health and well-being.

Tracking our performance metrics can help us set achievable goals and monitor our progress towards them, providing a sense of accomplishment and motivation to continue pushing ourselves. However, it is also important to remember that indoor cycling workouts can be used for more than just performance improvement.

Ultimately, it is important to strike a balance between our performance goals and our overall health and well-being, using indoor cycling as a tool to achieve both.

As we approach the off-season, it’s important to adopt a different approach to indoor training, one that prioritizes enjoyment and mindfulness. By taking a more mindful approach to indoor training, we can still achieve our fitness goals while also taking care of our mental well-being. This might involve trying different training techniques, engaging with virtual environments or perhaps shifting our focus to other aspects of cycling, such as improving our technique and bike handling skills.

Ultimately, this can lead to greater enjoyment of the sport and better long-term health outcomes for our bodies and minds.

By embracing a more mindful approach to indoor training, we can create a more well-rounded and sustainable approach to our cycling goals.

Why Exercise?
Engaging in any form of exercise, even a gentle turbo session on a wet, cold evening, can have positive effects on our mental health. It has been shown to be better than no exercise at all. So, instead of sitting and watching another episode on Netflix, opting for exercise can bring greater benefits to our well-being.

According to the UK mental health charity Mind, exercise can improve sleep, uplift moods, help manage stress, anxiety, and intrusive thoughts, boost self-esteem, reduce the risk of depression, and provide opportunities for social connection.

By participating in group rides on indoor cycling apps, such as Zwift or RGT, you can connect with fellow riders through companion apps like Discord or in-built voice chat features. Zwift, for example, has a large user base and offers various group rides at different paces, available whenever you want. You can also organize joint sessions with friends and ride together virtually. This can provide a sense of camaraderie and support, enhancing the social aspect of exercise.

In the past, off-season training typically involved long and steady miles outdoors, which, even if not done mindfully, made us aware of the cold weather. However, nowadays, it is more common to opt for quick interval sessions or even compete on indoor training apps using a turbo trainer. The UK’s NHS defines mindfulness as the practice of paying attention to the present moment, both internally and externally, and being aware of the sensations we are experiencing.

However, it is possible to ride indoors in a more relaxed and contemplative manner, where you can still enjoy the experience. This is where training apps can be helpful, as they provide something to engage your thoughts while riding. Instead of solely focusing on hitting intervals, you can use these apps to enhance your session and make it more enjoyable. For example, you can listen to music or consider different aspects of the virtual environment.

By incorporating these elements, you can create a more balanced and mindful indoor riding experience, where you can still work towards your goals while being present and attentive to your body and surroundings.

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