I was a late convert to using the trainer in the winter. I started a few years ago and now ride many days a week doing intervals or Zwift races, and I am a big fan. (I also have a big fan beside it for ventilation, btw.)
I still ride outside when it gets cold, but not like I used to in the winter months. The reason that I was such a late convert was I had done way too many roller and trainer workouts in my youth, and couldn’t stand the idea of riding inside again on a choppy and uncomfortable trainer, staring at the wall. But times have changed, as have trainers. Trainers now are smooth and fluid, and comfortable to ride. Take the Elite Justo, the latest in the brand’s direct-drive train machines. Not only is it smooth, but it has Flex Feet, which allows movement from side-to-side. It creates a less rigid feel and simulates the outdoors. It also means your muscles won’t feel strange and creaky after a long indoor ride.
Using your trainer to get faster
Indoor training has many benefits when it comes to workouts in the winter. The thing is, you don’t have to ride the trainer in the winter. I used to think it was bonkers that people would do indoor trainer workouts in the summer. Why stay inside when it’s 30 degrees outside? But it makes sense. Riding an indoor trainer creates consistent and reliable conditions.
It seems obvious, but when you ride a trainer you never have to worry about wind or weather as factors that will affect your workouts. You can compare workouts to each other, whether it’s intervals or repeats or long rides. It’s like riding on an indoor velodrome, at home.
Intervals made easier
If you live in a city, it makes sense to use it even in the warm months. If it’s hard for you to find sections of roads to do long intervals, you can still ride outside for your base miles, and then jump on the trainer for your repeats. No stop lights, no wind, no weather.
Of course in the winter, it makes even more sense. When it’s cold out, it’s hard to achieve the same level of efficacy in your training, especially intervals or hard workouts, for a variety of reasons.
Layers and layers of clothing can make you feel sluggish and encumbered if you’re doing hill repeats. It’s harder to get your heart rate up and the cold air can smart when you give it up a climb or on the flats. Riding inside means you wear the same clothes in the same temperature each time.
Short on time? Jump on the trainer
It’s a lot easier to do shorter…