Sportive training at home: Cyclists, here's how you can fit competition training alongside a busy career

Sportive training is fun, intense and a great way to stay fit at home – even during a lockdown or in the big winter chill

Wattbike Atom 2nd gen
(Image credit: Wattbike)

Sportive training at home is an advanced and intense form of exercise bike training. Even for those not familiar with cycling parlance, it's a great home workout. 

So, whether you are embarking on your first mass participation sportive or planning for a competitive age group finish in a 100-miler, there is no success without turning those cranks. Thankfully, modern technology has the solution in the form of smart trainers that let you experience outdoor sportive action at home.

What are the benefits of sportive training?

Mainly sweat, pain… and big fitness gains. That's true outdoors but thanks to advanced sportive training gear for the home, it's also available to you indoors. The benefits of the exercise are obvious: improved cardio health, weight loss, improved lower body strength and the calves of a young Greek god. 

The benefits of doing sportive training indoors are even more obvious. You can workout without having to transport your bike to a forest. You don't get rained on. There's nobody there to judge your technique as you're learning. You can get off and immediately shower and watch TV afterwards… or instead, come to that. 

The current state of the world means your situation may have shifted from struggling to find the time to train to suddenly having way too much time, with the majority of it having to be spent indoors. But either way, indoor sportive and competition training is a great option. 

Sportive and competition training to suit your situation

One reality of the sportive experience that you can control, is training and schedule. Whether you are preparing for a mild 50-mile or more testing 100-mile sportive, without a dedicated training plan, you are doing yourself a disservice.

The reality of pressured modern life is that training hours are limited. Preparing for a sportive should be something to de-stress your life, not increase the burden on your daily schedule.

Once the commitment has been made to enter a sportive you must integrate training into your routine, but that does not mean it has to displace your personal life or compromise career responsibilities. 

Modern life tallies a heavy toll in working hours, commuting and the balance of family life. For many sportive riders, the outdoor hours required to train are simply not available without conceding value in other aspects of their life. The term is time poor and it is a reality that afflicts many. 

As with many issues the tension between sticking to an effective sportive training plan and lifestyle time management can be mediated with technology. You can train for a successful sportive, without generating conflicts in your professional life or guilt towards friends and family. 

Indoor training is the best solution for those cyclists who wish to do justice to their sportive commitment and live a balanced life where riding is a benefit, instead of potential burden.

Sportive and competition training at home: what do you need?

Wattbike Atom 2nd gen

(Image credit: Wattbike)

The digitisation and design evolution of smart indoor trainers has been spectacular. Featuring ANT+, FE-C and Bluetooth the Wattbike Atom (now from just £45 per month) is a choice example of how smart modern indoor trainers are. It allows you to access a treasure of training apps to make the best of digital training resource management. 

Time spent on a trainer was once regarded as the worst cycling experience but with the latest generation of smart trainers, you can get a real feel riding experience in the convenience of your living room. 

A smart indoor training bike is your weapon of choice in making peace between the ambition of a competitive sportive performance and very limited training time resources. If you live a life where your schedule runs at a premium measured in minutes, instead of hours, a modern indoor training bike is indispensable. 

The problem with traditional road bike training is that includes a lot of free miles and coasting, such as commuting from your home to proper training roads. Compound the time involved with all those easy miles and you realise that your two hour ride might only be worth 45 minutes of actual training intensity. 

To prevent you from wasting valuable minutes getting to a proper training venue, an indoor trainer is always ready to go, at a moment’s convenience, at full intensity. A primary weakness and scheduling disaster for your outdoor sportive training plan is weather risk.

Wattbike Atom 2nd gen

There's no need to let the weather ruin your sportive training plan

(Image credit: Wattbike)

If rain or high winds arrive and you are forced to miss a training session, that creates the anxiety and pressure of wanting to add more training volume – which is typically a departure point for the unhappy reality that becomes overtraining. With an indoor training programme, you are independent from any weather induced training pressure. 

The convenience of indoor training means that you can also crank away at those miles whenever your schedule allows. Reconciling your sportive ambitions with the realities of 21st century time management does not mean a lesser cycling experience. It means a smarter one. 

Gone are the days of wasting time and building frustration, as you navigate through vehicle traffic from your home, hoping to find some open roads to generate the required stream of uninterrupted cadence on a training ride. 

With an indoor training bike all your sessions have the promise of blending efficiency without compromising intensity or quality. You can ride to the best potential of your 12-week sportive training programme, uncompromised by weather or traffic. There are customised 50- and 100-mile training schedules available, specifically for the Wattbike Atom via its free Wattbike Hub app. 

If you are already strained for time, between work and personal life, chances are that your road bike’s maintenance is not enjoying precedence. And the more training volume you rides, the higher likelihood there are of mechanicals. 

Flat tyres. Brake rub. Skipping gears. These are all deeply annoying and will rob you of even more precious time, unless you spend time you already don’t have meticulously working on your bike. These are also problems which never enter the realm of an indoor training programme – where everything is ready and just works, all of the time.

Time is precious. Sportive cycling is fun and healthy. The latest advances in smart trainers have created a technology intervention which allows you to enjoy both without compromising either. 

• This article is part of a series on fitness, supported by Wattbike.