How to Workout on a Spinner Without Losing Your Mind

5:55 AM

It can be done.  Truly, it can. 


This is the first week of the year where my riding will be limited to what I can accomplish on my indoor trainer.  Its cold, we got a few inches of icy crud on Monday (just enough to shovel and make the streets interesting for a few days), and we might get hit again this weekend with more snow (Snow?  Really?  After I’ve officially given up on skiing for the season?).  So I am now four days into the week, and I’ve had a lot of time to think about how to make the time pass in less mind-numbing ways…

Entertainment: movies and music.  I understand that there are people who can spin for hours on end with nothing to distract them from the pain.  I assume these are the same people who get pumped up by stupid slogans like “Pain is weakness leaving the body,” and other piffle like that.  Really, that is awesome for them, but for those of us with a few brain cells, you have to have some form of distraction. 

Streaming Netflix movies on the computer is one way to get your mind off of things, but I actually prefer music.  Music is, and always will be, transportive for me.  Give me a good set of tunes, and I can reach that nirvana-like state of mind where I am fully engaged in the workout and time flies.  While I have created a few mixes for workouts, my favorite things to listen to are soundtracks from films.  Something about the lack of vocals helps to (sorry for the cliché) get me in the zone I want to be in.  My favorites: Glory, The Bourne Supremacy, and Run Lola Run.

Next: cats as visual distraction.  I cannot recommend this highly enough – get a cat to sit somewhere in your visual field and you would not believe how interesting they become.  Get one to give himself a bath, and you’ve got enough entertainment for a threshold workout!

Finally: plan a damn workout.  This is what it really comes down to.  There are days when I will get home from work and just want to jump on the bike to get it over with, and then the next 60 to 90 minutes will drag and drag.  But, if I just take five minutes to put together some sort of organized workout, it breaks down the time in to little chunks that magically add up to an entire workout. 

I recommend the little book Workouts in a Binder for Indoor Cycling by Dirk Friel and Wes Hobson, which provides great workouts for all of Joe Friel’s domains: endurance, force, speed skills, muscular endurance, anaerobic endurance, or power.  Once you get the hang of the format, you will understand how to put together your own spinner workouts that will not only make the time fly, but will give your indoor training a boost.  Remember: just because you have to train indoors, doesn’t mean they should be wasted hours.

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