| Yanto Barker

How to Optimise Indoor Training

To kick-start your Cycling Season

Winter and early spring can be a hard time to progress on fitness because there are some fairly big family celebrations that can distract you from your performance focus. Plus, if you live and ride in Northern Europe, the weather is also often far from ideal. However it's possible to improve your fitness with valuable sessions that will contribute to achieving your goals without being very antisocial or getting cold and wet on every ride!

An indoor turbo can be a really useful way to maintain good condition over relatively short sessions. They are also places where you can put in bursts of high inetnsity work with no disruptions (something that's useful year round).

Indoor sessions can be tailored to meet your requirements, and are suited to any ability. There is no worry about being 'dropped' at a club turbo session for example, it's about going at the pace that's right for you, which ultimately means you'll get the most out of every session. 


Zwift has transformed indoor training where you can ‘ride’ with friends or even race to help entertain you from the monotony of old fashioned turbo sessions. My advice for Zwift sessions is:

  1. Keep your sessions structured. Both within each session, but also have some overall structure to the sessions you do each week.
  2. Always give yourself a set of intervals and target power to ride at - targets give you something to aim for and a sense of satisfaction when the session is done. 
  3. Make it a ‘busy’ session with lots of challenges and things to break up the monotony, it’s easier to keep focus that way.
  4. Include high intensity V02 and sprint sessions. Zwift is the perfect place to push it to the limit. 


Setting goals can be a great way to keep you motivated and focused on these sessions.

Your goals should be based on your current levels of fitness, and should be achievable. There's no point in setting goals which leave you feeling demotivated because you never reach them! It’s best to plan your goals and targets for next year early, with progression in small steps.

The options for goal setting are almost endless, but as a basic rule it is often a good idea to make sure that the goal for each session is different from the last, whether that be a 25 minute smash up to relieve the stress from work or a session that focuses on a specific element of fitness.


Here's an outline for a session that I'll repeat a number of times through the year, and especially in the winter months. The 'zones' refer to your 'cycling power' zones. If you are unsure of what those zones are - you can take a look at this guide here and work them out.

Threshold Intervals - 76 minutes total

10 minutes warm- up (Zone 2)

30x30 second fast effort cadence efforts, 120rpm+ (Zone 4), with 30 seconds recovery (Zone 1) between each effort

A zone 'pyramid' of 4x5 minute lactate tolerance efforts. Consisting of:

  • 1 minute VO2 (Zone 5)
  • 1 minute threshold (Zone 4)
  • 1 minute tempo (Zone 3)
  • 1 minute threshold (Zone 4)
  • 1 minute VO2 (Zone 5)

7 minutes of recovery (Zone 1) between each effort above

5 minutes cool down (Zone 1)