There are a number of ways in which we can all benefit from smart indoor training, focusing on quality in short sessions, rather than quantity in long sessions.

Planning a good indoor workout

Decide on duration
Decide how long your training session will be and how long each interval and recovery period should be. The ideal recovery to effort ratio is three to one, but occasionally it is good to practise shortening your recovery periods. This will be most beneficial to you, come race day.

It’s 5am on a Tuesday morning. Does your competition know what you are doing?

Intensity Zones

Each workout should have a purpose, so be sure that each set of intervals or recovery time meets that goal. Ideally, you would want to do your intervals in your anaerobic zone to increase your lactate threshold
zone (race pace).

Zones one to two: These zones are primarily designed to help with endurance, allowing high volume, low intensity work to be completed. Zone two forms the ‘core’ of an endurance cyclist’s training programme. It is generally accepted these zones are done at no higher than 75 per cent of FTP (functional threshold power) when using a power meter.

Zones three: This zone would be considered riders’ bread and butter. Measuring up to 94 per cent of FTP, it required concentration to stay within the zone and not drop back to the lower zones.

Zones four to five: These zones are increasing in intensity, and are somewhat to very fatiguing. Time trials and solo/small group breaks in road races are at this level. Lactate levels are just below to above ‘threshold’, measuring no higher than 106 per cent of FTP.

Zones six to seven: These zones are maximal. At this intensity, the rider is bridging a small gap, or climbing a moderate hill at maximal effort. Physiologically, you’re at VO2 max or above or 121 per cent of FTP and above. Power meters are the ideal training tools for these shorter more intense indoor training sessions as heart rate lag can take up to one minute to reflect the required zone.


Cadence relates to more than just how fast or slow you pedal. Cadence drills can increase muscle recruitment, strength and power.

Low; 50–70 rpm: Riding at a low cadence does not mean pedalling slowly, but focusing on pushing and pulling and a smooth pedalling action. Low cadence riding is difficult to perform below zone three of heartrate or power.

Normal; 80–110 rpm: This is the cadence where you spend most of your ride time and are most comfortable. Riding at normal cadence can be performed from zones one to seven.

High; over 110 rpm: Riding at a high cadence that is not just riding in a light gear, but kept under control. You will quickly find this kind of riding can be performed in zones one to seven. Creating a plan that includes time, zone and cadence changes will allow you enough combinations to last you a lifetime.

Keeping it indoors