One of the things that keeps coming up in our podcasts is the difference between working out on your own, with a trainer, or in a class. I am now the firm believer that if you want to do indoor cycling, take the class. Chris wrote about indoor cycling a few months ago and when I went back to read what she had to say, it’s pretty clear she goes to classes and doesn’t sit by herself pedaling away. Actually, it’s hard to imagine Chris going off by herself and bicycling indoors solo. I don’t think anyone is going to hire a trainer to supervise bike riding, though I guess you never know.
We’re doing a challenge at my gym and I have to get a lot more bicycle miles so I’ve been riding the indoor cycles there whenever I have a chance. I also have managed to take some cycling classes and I will say that the classes are much better.
For one thing, they’re more challenging. Your tempo changes, the instructor makes you stand up and pedal hard, you do interval training. Riding on your own, it’s hard to achieve the variety that the teacher and class provide.
I think that riding a bike indoors with no one else around is just plain boring. I’ve been using this time to listen to my podcasts (feel free to listen to the Becoming Elli podcast if you’re cycling indoors!) which is good. I’ve also tried listening to music with a strong beat. I’m usually pretty interested in audio things but I’m really struggling with this. The only time it seems to get interesting is when somebody wanders by and begins a conversation. I think perhaps the trick is to find something that’s so interesting that you’re distracted and forget to track the time or distance.
There is now software you can use at home with your bike to make life more interesting. Check out Zwift if you have a bike trainer and a bike. I haven’t used this but it might make bike riding at home more interesting.
Swimming is a much more introspective thing, at least for me. I find it easy to go off into my own thoughts and just zone out and swim. We probably shouldn’t discuss the lengthy ruminations I had while swimming on the life and breathing habits of whales.
Running indoors on a treadmill can be a challenge but because I can do it at home and watch TV or listen to podcasts or music, I seem to handle that better.
Outdoor bicycling is a completely different thing. The constantly changing scenery and the sounds and scents of the outdoors makes bicycling much more enjoyable.
So, if you want to do indoor bicycling, consider cycling classes.