While I had promised in my last post that I would give some direction on effective training I have been a bit tardy in doing so. A mixture of indoor and outdoor training, along with work and social happenings, left little time for writing. Instead, I took the coachly advice to recover a bit at the end of the day. However, it is 20 degrees out today, and flurrying, so in order to get the most out of what my coach has prescribed for my workout today I will be riding the trainer.
I’ve had even more motivation handed to me this week. My entry into the Mt. Washington Auto Road Hill Climb was confirmed. After that I found out that I had “won” the lottery for the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race. The best part is that these races are only a week apart. Wow! Be careful what you ask for might be a better title for this post. Poor riding conditions or not, I need to be training.
So I need to continue to embrace the indoor trainer and make the most of the time you I am spending. You can too. Think about how to function well on the trainer. The mantra of cycling coaching is “The Specificity Rule” so use the time on the trainer to most-closely resemble what you would actually be doing if you were riding on the road.
Focus: Sitting on a trainer and merely pedaling the time away while watching your boxed set of old TV shows has its place, but not for every workout. Before even getting onto the trainer determine what the purpose of the day’s workout should be. Zero in on what your coach has planned for you. If you do not have a coach, devise a plan for yourself that is compatible with the goals that you have coming up this season. Work on raising your threshold power. Just as if you were riding outside, think about the purpose of this ride and go for it.
Fans: People associate riding the indoor trainer with copious amounts of sweat. Even if one trains in a chilly garage a microclimate soon forms and, wow, the body gets hot. Fans are required, and more than one. It is tough work to keep the core temperature down while working hard, and a strain on the body. Why suffer with zone 4 heart rate while only producing Level 3 power? Folks are afraid of feeling chilled, so I advise them to start out with a light jacket, arm warmers, etc. Yes, the skin will feel cool, but it does while riding outside as well. Those on power meters can make sure that their heart rate does not exceed what it normally does outside for the level of power produced. If the heart rate is spiking then get some more fans on the job.
Food: Mix drinks and bring your gels, etc., with you to your training area so you can eat replenish just as if you were on a road ride. Learn what works well for you, experiment a bit, or follow what is tried and true.
Fit: Squirming around on the bike? Do you have little aches and pains that you overlook while on the road? Is your “trainer bike” an older bike that has not been fit properly to you? Riding indoors gives you ample opportunity to adjust your bike so that it is more comfortable. If, however, you are still unable to find that sweet spot treat yourself to a good bike fit.
Form: An advantage of riding the indoor trainer is the fact that one can sit up at any point in the ride to relieve back pressure, etc. However, folks can forget that they are actually training for riding on the road and their body positions often get sloppy. To get aggressive on the trainer one needs to get into an aggressive riding position. Vary your time in the various positions on the bike – drops, hoods, tops. Feel how the power originates a bit differently for each location. Look ahead, relax the upper body. Stand up, sit down, vary your cadence. Use your muscles as specifically as you would on a good road ride.
Fun: OK, this gets back to my last post about motivation, but it is always worth mentioning. Training, on some level, should always be fun. Not every pedal stroke is going to feel glorious, but the satisfaction one gets from completing a good workout does feel really good. Arriving at a goal event in personal best shape makes that event ever so much more enjoyable. Feeling good enough to bury yourself, if need be, is a super reward for investing the time to effectively train for your events. Anxiety is reduced, fun is enhanced. Need I say more?