I think we have all found ourselves in the “Pain Cave” a lot more than usual this year. Even if you have been fortunate enough to not find yourself in this situation, it is getting cold in the Northern Hemisphere and people are generally finding themselves inside more often. Here are a few of my must haves in my own indoor training space.
1. Equipment I almost didn't include this since it is generally a given! I have a trainer bike that I keep on my trainer year-round. It makes it so much easier than switching a bike on and off the trainer. I recommend a dry lube for your bike on the trainer because it will last a long time, not be as messy, and is a better chain lube for dry environments. I have a smart trainer so I can integrate with online training platforms. I also have a commercial grade treadmill in the garage that I got from an online auction.
2. Motivation When training inside, you don’t have the beautiful outdoors to distract you, so having other motivation inside is helpful. I use awards and pictures from past good races or even bad races that I am looking at redemption from.
I also put up pictures of future races I’m training for. There is so much power in words so putting phrases or power words on the wall to keep your mind focused on the positive. We all have training and racing goals, so putting up reminders of those in your training space will help keep you on track!
3. Temperature/humidity control A huge benefit of training inside is to be able to get the indoor climate similar to what you will be racing in. Living in Idaho, my training for Kona (hot/humid race) occurs during the fall when temperatures begin dropping. I can use space heaters and humidifiers to simulate some of Kona’s conditions. If you are in base training it still is important to have climate control. In my training space I have increased the humidity from 20% to 60% over the course a long ride just from sweating. High humidity and equipment does not get a long so it is important to reduce humidity when possible to extend the life of your equipment. In order to get the most out of your base training, body temperature control is necessary so I use two fans to keep the same outdoor feel while inside.
4. Ability to move equipment outside There are times we find ourselves needing to train on the trainer or treadmill even when it is sunny outside. I love the ability to open the garage door and simply roll my treadmill or trainer out into the sun.
5. Entertainment Another bonus of training inside is that you can watch anything you would like or listen to music safely with your headphones in. I have a TV outside and speakers for music.
6. Endless towels Like I said in the climate control point, humidity is horrible for your equipment. I keep a drawer of old race towels to use for training. I always keep one under the front of my bike as well as one on my cockpit. I have seen enough rusted out stems to know how important it is to protect that area from sweat!
7. Training table You can get an expensive table made for trainer setups OR you can buy an adjustable over-the-bed hospital table and put a strip of work bench topper (I got some from my local bike shop). Pro tip from my previous life as a nurse!
8. Trash can There’s still nutrition consumed on the bike and all my Base Nutrition gel wrappers would end up on the ground if I did not have an easily accessible trash can. Bonus is that a trash can can double as a place to get sick if you push yourself too hard on the trainer.
9. Toys for my daughter Many parents need to get training in but want to spend time together with their kids. One of my daughter’s favorite things to do is to hang out with me in the garage while I train. We have a doll house, chalk, bikes, and a trampoline for her to play with. She also LOVES to run on the treadmill and bike down Alpe de Zwift on my bike.
10. Luxury If you've made it this far, then you really want to have everything in your training space. I keep a spare trainer so that if others can come train with me it is easier for them. WiFi is also vital for entertainment and online biking platforms so making sure you have a strong enough signal that will not drop you is important to staying with the pack in virtual races!
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