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While stationary riding can be monotonous and probably the most boring activity imaginable to a singletrack-loving mountain biker, it has many advantages beyond preventing weather and darkness from disrupting your training. In fact, stationary cycles or rollers can be used effectively to be a key component of a broad cycling training program, especially during the inclement seasons.

Why Cycling Indoors?

There are many reasons to consider stationary cycling, but the biggest is its impact on your pedalling and riding technique. The smooth and constant nature of a stationary bike's pedal stroke encourages good cadence, but a set of rollers are amazing for this effect. The factor of balance comes into play without the self-stabalising effects of speed in full play, so every cyclicat twitch in your stroke in disruptive. High cadences can be tested under a technique microscope, and flaws worked out until your steering and pedalling are incredibly smooth and efficient.

Clearing out lactic acid speeds recovery by reducing post training soreness and stiffness. Mony athletes shave their legs to ease massages, but jumping on the trainer for 20 minutes of gentle spinning after a hard workout, at 55% of your maximum heart rate, is cited as superior to massage for recovery by many testimonials.

Trainers are also convenient. They allow riders to avoid darkness, seasons, or rainy days, and eliminate the paraphernalia and hazard required for dealing with such elements. Indoor cycling provides an optimal opportunity to determine maximum heart rate. The time spent riding to a suitable road for training con be eliminated, and a planned riding program can increase the benefit or cut down the time commitment for training. Both effort and adherence to a planned workout are enhanced by cutting out distractions and disruptions of cars, sewer grates, curves, rocks, trees and trails. Further, you can now train at the same time as you catch up on the news or read.

Making Stationary Training Palatable

Stationary cycling has the drawback of being monotonous, or at least once you get the hang of balancing on rollers. Sitting and sweating in place between the same four walls is by itself less than palatable to most psychological makeups. However, there is much an stationary cyclist can do to make the workout pleasant.

One good approach is to train with friends. Have a buddy or two bring their equipment over, if it is available, meet at a local gym to use multiple machines.

Focusing on the workout can make the time pass without boredom. Keeping track of your heart rate monitor, your odometer and that of your pacer, and adhering to a planned program can provide something other than boredom to concentrate on. Simply riding hard enough to fall into The Zone can make the workout fly by, which is barely an option for those without the amenity of the deserted country roads in my area.

Use a fan, which keeps you cool and comfortable, simulates riding, and is a pleasant distraction. Drinking also makes the ride more comfortable by cutting out the unease associated with the onset of dehydration. It's easy to forget to drink, and this takes away from the experience. When fixed equipment is quality and stable enough for sprinting out of the saddle, it can make up for the missing attention to balance which is a part of training on rollers.

Finally, combine activities. Try to read books, or listen to video or audio learning tapes. Watch videos of racing footage, and sprint while the guys on the screen do. Listen to music or radio newscasts. Public media channels such as CBC-1 run international newscasts from all over the world at night, which is a prime time for using rollers. While evening television news is a popular candidate, the quality and slant of coverage leaves much to be desired.

Try watching Casablanca while you get in your training mileage, but be wary of simply listening to music if you have a hard time following a movie while watching your balance. Music is often suggested to time your interval efforts, but a study of untrained men and women found that they rode an average of 27% longer when cycling in silence than when listening to music. Another study of trained cyclists found that a poorer workout resulted from turning up the stereo.
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