Question: How long should I ride on the indoor trainer in the off-season? I race up to 112 miles in Ironman triathlons. A well-respected triathlon coach says to limit indoor rides to 2 hours, but with races over 6 hours this seems short. — Jeff M.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: The problem with indoor cycling is boredom. It’s quite difficult to ride a trainer for more than an hour without going slightly nuts.
When you’re riding outside, your brain has many things to think about. Inside, there’s nothing to do but watch old Tour de France videos and the steady stream of sweat dripping off your nose onto the top tube.
As a result, crosstraining works better for off-season endurance workouts when weather precludes riding outside.
One approach is to ride the trainer for an hour. Then run, ski or snowshoe for an hour or more. Then get on the trainer for another hour. This gives you a long workout with enough cycling time to remind your muscles that the pedal stroke is important.