I have some athletes that refuse to ever get on a turbo and only ride outside! I have other athletes who are the opposite and I can’t get them outside unless it’s blue skies and 20 degrees. And everyone in between.
I think that both have benefits and learning to have a flexible approach will make you a fitter, stronger and more robust both physically and mentally.
What are the benefits of turbo training (even when there’s blue skies and 20 degrees)?
It gives you a lot of bang for your buck. There’s no faffing about with traffic lights, corners, junctions, cars etc. You just have to ride! So a 5 minute threshold interval is a constant, hard 5 minute threshold interval.
You learn how to focus and suffer.
There’s no traffic to deal with so it can be safer.
If you live in a town or city you don’t need to get out of the town first so it can be a time saver.
If you have your turbo set up there can be a lot less faff than getting your bike out the garage and putting 10 layers on for winter cycling.
With the world of Zwift and other virtual riding tools you can connect with friends from other parts of the world and country that you wouldn’t normally be able to ride with.
You can get adapted to riding in the aero bars without worrying about crazy drivers and bad roads.
It’s warmer!!! No numb fingers or toes and no rain!
It makes you mentally tough!!
The down side of the turbo…..
It’s not real life!! Outside riding is different.
It’s very static which can be bad for your back and your bum!
It doesn’t teach you bike handling and technical skills.
It can be mentally draining
I don’t really like riding on the turbo and would always prefer an outdoor ride. But in the UK in winter it’s not always possible. So I’ve learned to find ways to deal with my turbo and now actually quite like a good sweat fest. I’ve used it as an opportunity to practice some mental toughness skills which really changed me as an athlete.
Usually as soon as the clocks change in April I’m done with it. And do all my sessions outside. But reflections from last season are that I might actually benefit from doing some of my bike sessions indoors which I’ll try this season. Mainly because it’s usually a lot harder than riding outside because it’s so focussed.
With the current Co-vid 19 situation it could be a great opportunity to get on your turbo and get some suffering done!