#1 Treat the ride as if you’re outside. Put bottles in the cages. Put GUs and bars in your jersey. Act as if you’re riding on the roads. Work on not looking at the cage when you get water and put it back. Practice makes perfect.
#2 Try to get a table or stand next to the bike. This can hold a towel, extra bottles, extra food, or a watch. I have a big digital watch on a display stand next to my trainer. When doing intervals, it’s always good to have the EXACT RIDE TIME in front of you. Helps you concentrate fully on the effort and keep track of much time you have left for each specific interval.
#3 A fan is a must. I sweat a TON. If I hydrate properly (more than a bottle every hour) I still lose 4 pounds in a two-hour hammerfest. BAD. I recommend putting a big fan in front of you. Helps immensely.
#4 Change positions constantly. When riding indoors, be all over the handlebars. You should be changing from the drops, the hoods, the tops. Also, get out of the saddle for extended periods of time, 15s to 3m. Just let your body weight fall onto the pedals. If clipped in, try working your hip flexors by pulling your knees up or towards the handlebars — a trick for climbing standing!!! Standing while riding inside keeps your groin from going numb while stretching your back and legs. And breaks up the monotony!!!
#5 The great majority of cyclists use indoor trainers in the winter. To break up your workouts, try using a set of rollers. Forces you to ride smoothly, strengthening your core and stabilizer muscles. The trainer is good for the endurance and force stuff, the rollers for the pedaling efficiency and cadence stuff…
#6 Riding inside is brain-numbing — can be for most. I actually like it. You get quality, quality miles and intervals, but it’s difficult to swallow. A minute at 175 HR can feel like an eternity. I recommend music — it absolutely helps break up the monotony, passing the time more smoothly. Or videos. My friend has the 12-hour edition Tours and just pops ’em in and starts riding. Music and video can provide awesome, necessary motivation…
In closing, I wouldn’t recommend trying to complete hard and intense workouts inside on a regular basis. Riding indoors elevates your heart rate drastically, and most riders also find it more difficult to peg target power numbers during specific workouts. This is primarily because of the body’s inability to dispel the heat created during exercise.
These tips are things I’ve used to help me maintain my sanity during long or strenuous trainer workouts during crappy and winter weather… We all ride to have fun, and this helps us get the most out of our workouts and best enjoy the winter training.