Lets face it..NOBODY likes working out indoors when they can train outdoors. I don't. But, there are times/days in the Winter when you'll be forced to- train indoors. For those days, you don't want to dread your indoor workout..like most athletes do. And, the ONLY WAY I think you can look forward to it (relatively speaking) is if you have a place indoors that's somewhat fun/conducive to training.
Welcome to Pain Cave 101 basics! If you're serious about your indoor training there are some mandatory pieces of equipment you'll need in your Pain Cave. (BTW, you can setup your Pain Cave anywhere: basement, garage, bedroom, etc. In fact, I know some athletes that set it up in their living room.) Here's a breakdown of MANDATORY Pain Cave equipment:
Bike- this may seem kind of trivial..but it's probably the single most important piece of training equipment..and, most overlooked in my opinion. You want to train on what you'll be riding outdoors. It doesn't have to be the EXACT same bike, but you better be sure that the setup (seat height, handlebar reach, etc.) is the same as your outdoor bike. For me, I use my old C-Dale Aluminum bike for indoor training and use my (relatively) new Trek Madone Carbon bike for outdoor training. Regardless, of what you use..cover it up good with towels so your sweat does NOT corrode your cables, handlebar stem, etc. You can also use an exercise bike such as the Saris/Cycleops Pro 400 or 300 trainer. (Yes, I know they're expensive but they're worth it). Again, just make sure that the setup is the same as your outdoor bike. And, for you Triathletes out there..make sure your aero bar setup is the same..it's important.
Trainer- your bike has to go into some sort of a resistance trainer..whether it's wind, magnetic or electronic. (Unless you buy a Saris/Cycleops indoor trainer) I prefer, and highly recommend, the Computrainer. Yes, I know..(I can hear the moans/groans already)...IT COST TOO MUCH! Well, you know what..unless you're only making $25k a year there is NO EXCUSE why you can't afford a Computrainer. Besides, I bet you weren't moaning/groaning when you shelled out $2000 for that new cool carbon wheelset of yours did you? You know, the one from the bike shop with the 100% markup. You don't have to buy a brand new Computrainer..you can buy one for under $1000 on e-Bay. Hell, I even think Computrainer will let you finance a NEW one. The Computrainer will give you the best, and most accurate Power/resistance readings too. If you're SERIOUS about your training..then you'll find away to afford one.
Fan- you'll need a fan..a BIG one too...not one of those cheap tabletop fans either. Get a box fan or an industrial fan. The fan serves two functions: 1) naturally, to cool you off and keep your body temp down so you can do more work and 2) to simulate the wind in your face when you ride outdoors. Oh, and don't forget plenty of COLD water on-hand. You want to hydrate well, before/during/after your workouts.
Tunes- I don't know about you, but I can't workout indoors without some snappy music/tunes on the Stereo. For indoor riding I prefer "angry white boy music" or some "hip-hop" beat. After all, the workouts aren't strolls through the Park..they're intense...so match your music with the intensity. You'll be surprised how some intense music will make you work harder. Speaking of Stereos, you want one that is "kick-ass" too. I tell my wife you gotta FEEL the music..not just hear it..after she yells at me to turn that "sh$t" down because it's shaking the walls. ha I have my iPod/iPhone hooked-up to my Stereo..it's great for chaning tunes while you ride/workout and gives you a great selection.
TV/Computer Video- Ok, here's where you can spend some bucks..but you don't really have to. When I first started working out indoors, all I had was a laptop computer and my Computrainer. And, I also had what I consider STILL to be the BEST indoor workout videos available (installed on my laptop)..and they come from ErgVideo.com. Erg Video makes computer HD Videos that control the resistance of your Computrainer while watching HD video on your Computer screen. It gives the most realistic indoor workout possible. If you don't want to buy Erg Video software, you can use the Computrainer software for your workout and just pop a DVD in the DVD player and watch a DVD on TV while you workout. I did this for a couple of years..watching mostly DVD concerts of my favorite artists. Later on, while I was able to save up more $$ for my Pain Cave..I purchased a projector and screen to view my Erg Videos on instead. I also purchased another Computrainer so I could ride/train with another athlete.... in addition to having another Computrainer to test athletes on for my Coaching business.
So, that's it. If you're serious about your training you SHOULD BE serious about your indoor workout studio (aka Pain Cave). If you prefer to ride outdoors in the Winter rain/cold/sleet/ice/snow/salt/etc..that's fine. I, however, see no merit to that..since you're not going to race in those conditions (except possibly the rain) this Summer. Besides, I think it's unsafe on the roads in the Winter with all the salt/cinders/potholes/etc. We've had a VERY mild Winter so far, so it hasn't been an issue riding outdoors..but, Winter just started..and there's no telling what Old Man Winter has in store for us this year. If/when Old Man Winter does dump on us..be ready to transition your riding indoors to your newly setup Pain Cave! Have Fun!
Power ON! Coach Rob