Do you use a trainer in the winter?



dominikk85

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Oct 29, 2012
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What do you think about indoor trainers? where I live it gets really cold in the winter sometimes. however when I had a cheap trainer 10 years ago it was totally boring. I could never do more than 20 minutes because it was so boring.

Is someone here really disciplined enough to use such a thing?:D does it even make sense to use a trainer?
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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Yeah, a lot of us use indoor trainers and yes they're not particularly fun to ride but can be used to get some good training when you can't get outside to ride.

FWIW, I could barely tolerate a trainer and rarely rode one until I started training with power. Having objective numbers and structured workouts like 2x20s or micro-intervals, over/unders, etc. makes all the difference as it's not just mindless sweating while going nowhere. Having workout goals and objective power data to show progress or at least workout quality is night and day over just spinning away on a trainer or rollers.

-Dave
 

dominikk85

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Originally Posted by daveryanwyoming .

Yeah, a lot of us use indoor trainers and yes they're not particularly fun to ride but can be used to get some good training when you can't get outside to ride.

FWIW, I could barely tolerate a trainer and rarely rode one until I started training with power. Having objective numbers and structured workouts like 2x20s or micro-intervals, over/unders, etc. makes all the difference as it's not just mindless sweating while going nowhere. Having workout goals and objective power data to show progress or at least workout quality is night and day over just spinning away on a trainer or rollers.

-Dave
are the trainers better now? I had a 50 dollar thing with a wind brake (just a wind wheel not adjustable) back then. super loud and not funny.

Is there any trainer you could recommend? there are even some out there with power measurements and even virtual reality (race on a computer screen).
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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Yes, there are better trainers on the market these days and some of the very high end models have very sophisticated features but they're also the most expensive. Some nice options include:

- Virtual reality trainers like the CompuTrainer or other designs that use electronically braked resistance units to support ergometer mode (constant power, where the trainer adjusts resistance as you speed up or slow down, weird at first but very useful for some types of training) or virtual racing modes. These are very nice and can help with the trainer boredom factor or be used for highly structured training with pre-programmed workout files for things like controlled ramped workouts, over/under, sophisticated interval routines and the like but these are also very expensive and in the end they're still not as much fun as actually riding a bike outdoors so don't expect miracles in terms of the indoor training discomfort and boredom factor. The better virtual reality trainers like the Computrainer tell you what power you're riding and record the workout session for uploading into your computer and analyzing post ride.

- High end rollers with good resistance units and or inertial units - free floating designs. Standard rollers without a resistance unit can be fun to ride and good for developing balance and a smooth riding style but without any extra resistance beyond spinning the roller drums they're not as useful for harder workouts. Higher end designs include various ways to increase training resistance which makes these rollers more useful for harder workouts including Threshold and shorter high end interval work. Even more sophisticated units include a flywheel which helps make the feel more roadlike to allow a bit of coasting and my favorite rollers for indoor training, the Inside Ride e-motion rollers also have a unique floating frame design that makes it much more roadlike and much easier to ride for extended periods. I can ride my e-motion rollers for two hours or more, something I've never been able to tolerate on conventional trainers or even on other rollers. This is in part because the floating frame makes it trivial to stand up, sprint, rest with out of the saddle riding and not have to sit in one position the entire time. The resistance unit has a few fixed settings for easy to hard resistance curves and there's a small inertial flywheel which make it easier to coast a bit here and there and makes the bike feel more like riding outside. But it's still an indoor training device and still not a silver bullet for making indoor sessions fun but it's the best I've found yet. These are also quite pricey but less expensive than something like a Computrainer.

- In terms of standard fixed trainers the Kurt Kinetic series including their Rock and Roll trainer are really nice with a more fluid feel than some others as are they Cyclops trainers. There are plenty of good trainers out there these days, I generally prefer a fluid braking unit as feeling smoother and being quieter than some other designs. There are power estimating computers sold along with many of these designs which basically just use the known resistance curve of the trainer to map wheel speed to power and display that estimated power. If you don't have a power meter on your bike and buy one of these trainers I'd probably also go with their power estimating computer.

- There are also some unique designs like the Lemond trainer that stands in place of the entire rear wheel (basically a fan with a cassette and axle attached) that are supposed to really smooth (but probably not that quiet) and is supposed to give a very road like feel with it's very large flywheel. I've never ridden one of these but hear very good things about them and they do save trainer wear and tear from your normal riding wheel which is nice. You can buy an optional power estimating handlebar computer for these as well.

If you do get any indoor trainer then also invest in the biggest fan you can fit into your workout space. Over heating while riding indoors is a big reason it's so miserable as we drip buckets of sweat while working out. Even with a huge fan running at full speed I sweat tons but the big fan definitely helps.

Good luck,
-Dave


- You might also look at
 

tomw1974

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Jan 10, 2011
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I use my CompuTrainer year-round.

I find that for longer, sustained effort workouts (like 2x20's), it removes all the factors like Stop signs, red lights, storm debris, runners with dogs, kids on bikes, etc, letting me get in the workouts that I want.

I really love the new "time at grade" mode in their RacerMateOne software. I do my 2x20's on that now, with 20 minutes at 2% grade and then a 10 minute recovery at -1% grade.

For me, it helps me appreciate the outdoor rides and races even more.
 

dominikk85

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Oct 29, 2012
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I got myself a trainer today:D. I was reading some reviews and now I got a tacx flow trainer (I think it is a european company). It even does have a pretty high tech looking computer which even shows power output.

can anyone suggest how I can train with that power measurement? How do I find my power zones and how do I train best?
I read about the FTP thing but right now I do not even have the fitness (not even close:)) to do a 60 minute max effort especially on a trainer.

I did a conconi protocol I found on wikipedia though
http://www.conconi.ch/download/ergometer_pacing_tabelle.pdf


I'm not sure if I got to my lactic treshold though. at the 240 watts mark Imy legs really started to burn and I could just finish the 260 watts "lap" before my legs would burn so crazy that I could not continue. Wikipedia said there should be a "hitch" at the LT but I could not really see it. could I be possibly be broken down before LT because of a lack of fitness? (although I was breathing and sweating heavily so I would asume I was already anaerobic)
 

davereo

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Jun 17, 2010
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I ride year round outdoors in New England. I have a trainer and managed five rides on it last winter while riding almost 2000 miles outdoors. My goal is to not ride on it at all. I know I will cave in at one point but I am optimistic that I wont have to.

Trainers Suck!!!!
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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Originally Posted by davereo .... My goal is to not ride on it at all. I know I will cave in at one point...Trainers Suck!!!!
I hear you. When I lived in the mountains I rode the trainer or skied all winter as riding out on the ice wasn't a great idea (though snowbikes have caught on big time back there I hear). In Seattle I'll ride in torrential rain and nasty conditions to avoid the trainer but there are still a handful of days each winter with water ice on the roads or other things that force me indoors and then I'm on the rollers or the KK trainer and make it work. I did sell my Computrainer after moving here as it wasn't quite as essential when I wasn't faced with seven straight months of trainer riding.

-Dave
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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Originally Posted by dominikk85 .....can anyone suggest how I can train with that power measurement?...
That's a huge question but it's pretty well answered in many threads here. I'd start with the classic: http://www.cyclingforums.com/t/314849/its-killing-me-but read at least the first twenty to thirty pages and you'll get a very good idea of what to do on your trainer in a power sense.

That or search these lists for info on SST (Sweet Spot Training) and FTP. But a couple of thoughts:

- Have a plan for trainer workouts. That could be a steady Tempo session for a given time (e.g. 45 minutes or an hour of Tempo around 80% of FTP) or a 2x20 SST set (~85% to 95% of FTP for 20 minutes repeated twice with five to ten minutes of easier pedaling between, it could be pure Threshold work at 95-100+% of FTP (again usually blocked as 2x20s, 4x15s, 2x30s, etc), over/under work, micro-burst work or just something like a power ramp or power pyramid where you bump the power up five watts every five minutes or so and then perhaps work back down after reaching your target high power for the session. But have a plan and don't just ride the trainer mindlessly or it's a quick path to trainer burnout.

- You don't need to know exact FTP to do this. Pick a duration (e.g. 20 minutes) and ride it as steady hard as you think you can manage. If you blow up and can't finish at that power then try the next one or the next session starting at a lower power. If you find it easy then pick up the pace, finish the final minutes harder and start the next one at a bit higher power. This stuff self corrects very quickly and you don't need a formal test to get started. In no time you'll know what you can handle and what's too much and if you stick with what you can handle the numbers should start to creep up as workouts begin to feel easier, when that happens let them you don't need a formal test to tell you when your fitness is increasing and you can handle higher power.

Good luck,
-Dave
 

dominikk85

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Oct 29, 2012
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Originally Posted by daveryanwyoming .


That's a huge question but it's pretty well answered in many threads here. I'd start with the classic: http://www.cyclingforums.com/t/314849/its-killing-me-but read at least the first twenty to thirty pages and you'll get a very good idea of what to do on your trainer in a power sense.

That or search these lists for info on SST (Sweet Spot Training) and FTP. But a couple of thoughts:

- Have a plan for trainer workouts. That could be a steady Tempo session for a given time (e.g. 45 minutes or an hour of Tempo around 80% of FTP) or a 2x20 SST set (~85% to 95% of FTP for 20 minutes repeated twice with five to ten minutes of easier pedaling between, it could be pure Threshold work at 95-100+% of FTP (again usually blocked as 2x20s, 4x15s, 2x30s, etc), over/under work, micro-burst work or just something like a power ramp or power pyramid where you bump the power up five watts every five minutes or so and then perhaps work back down after reaching your target high power for the session. But have a plan and don't just ride the trainer mindlessly or it's a quick path to trainer burnout.

- You don't need to know exact FTP to do this. Pick a duration (e.g. 20 minutes) and ride it as steady hard as you think you can manage. If you blow up and can't finish at that power then try the next one or the next session starting at a lower power. If you find it easy then pick up the pace, finish the final minutes harder and start the next one at a bit higher power. This stuff self corrects very quickly and you don't need a formal test to get started. In no time you'll know what you can handle and what's too much and if you stick with what you can handle the numbers should start to creep up as workouts begin to feel easier, when that happens let them you don't need a formal test to tell you when your fitness is increasing and you can handle higher power.

Good luck,
-Dave
thanks. how does FTP relate to lactate threshold? Is it the same?

my conconi test basically say nothing, right?
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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Originally Posted by dominikk85 .
...my conconi test basically say nothing, right?
Yeah, unfortunately that's likely the case. Back in the day I was totally sold on things like the Conconi test and elusive HR breakpoints. Much of that has been debunked and since moving to power I haven't found much use in trying to identify breakpoints in plotted curves during ramped tests. Better just cut to the chase and find out what steady power you can sustain for durations of interest. That might take a few tries to dial it in but those efforts will still be good training and it won't take long before you know what you can handle for say 20 minutes or so.

If you really want to do a structured test to determine FTP (and again it's not really necessary to start training with power) then either a ramped MAP test like Ric Stern uses or a Monod CP test where you go all out for a shorter duration (e.g. 3 to 6 minutes) and a longer duration (e.g. 20 to 30 minutes) and use those numbers to determine your CP which is a very good approximation of FTP. Here's some links:

MAP Testing: http://alex-cycle.blogspot.com/2006/12/map-testing-where-failure-is-success.html

Monod-Scherrer CP Testing: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CDAQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fvelo-fit.com%2Farticles%2Fcritical-power.pdf&ei=JxeoUMmIF5HRigLn64HYAQ&usg=AFQjCNGaXjFksTdd0i_QoS2ZlSai8I5clQ&sig2=ckUdok2FZ5eD76Q5ZNS-8Q



FWIW, if you actually do a lab lactate test like a MLSS or OBLA test to determine LT then the power you hold at that lab determined LT should be a bit below FTP. IOW, FTP is bit higher than the power at LT as determined by the most common methods.

Good Luck,
-Dave
 

dominikk85

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Oct 29, 2012
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BTW does L4 refer to LT or FTP?

I got myself "the cyclist training bible" (since it was recommended here) and that guy says zone 4 is just below threshold. or is he using another system?
 

daveryanwyoming

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Originally Posted by dominikk85 .

BTW does L4 refer to LT or FTP?

I got myself "the cyclist training bible" (since it was recommended here) and that guy says zone 4 is just below threshold. or is he using another system?
L4 refers to Andy Coggan's power training levels described here: http://home.trainingpeaks.com/articles/cycling/power-training-levels,-by-andrew-coggan.aspx

Actually all of the pages listed here are good reading if you're just starting to train with power: http://home.trainingpeaks.com/power411.aspx

-Dave
 

dominikk85

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Oct 29, 2012
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I missread the thing in the cycling bible. the zones were refering to heart rate.

coggan only seems to talk about power related to LT. why is he not using FTP?
 

tomw1974

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Originally Posted by dominikk85 .

I missread the thing in the cycling bible. the zones were refering to heart rate.

coggan only seems to talk about power related to LT. why is he not using FTP?
I would guess he's referring to FTP when he says LT.
 

daveryanwyoming

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Yes, that article and chart uses the term LT when FTP would be more precise.

If you follow the advice given on that page "...(see "Threshold power: what is it, why is it important, and how do I measure it?")..." you'll get to this: http://home.trainingpeaks.com/articles/cycling/what-is-threshold-power.aspx which makes it very clear that the zones in question are anchored to FTP which is a field measurable proxy (not an exact equal) for power at LT. Literally they're both markers for long term sustainable power but FTP is easier to directly measure in the field with a power meter and LT technically requires blood lactate tests and is subject to a variety of definitions based on exact measurement protocols (e.g. OBLA, MLSS, 1mm rise above baseline, linear to exponential breakpoint, 4 mmol concentration, etc.) each of which typically yields a slightly different result for 'power at LT'.

Bottom line, the article on power levels in Coggan's schema is written with percentages relative to FTP.

-Dave
 

ambal

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Oct 15, 2010
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I use one year round, I find the trainer is the best place to do intervals - 5, 10 and 20 minute efforts are much more effective for me when I do them on a trainer. The only requirements are a fan, power meter and some good music.
 

dominikk85

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Oct 29, 2012
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would it be OK to start with 10 minutes intervals? longer is probably better but I do not really have the fitness to do that yet.

would it be OK to do a 20 minute test and then asume your FTP is about 90% of that? (I think I read that somewhere)
 

daveryanwyoming

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If you're targeting FTP then make the intervals at least 10 minutes long and personally I like to make them at least 12 minutes long. Presumably there is some power you can sustain for at least that long and yes it might be lower than what you can hold for shorter durations but do what you can do.

And yes, many folks use 95% of an all out 20 minute effort to estimate their FTP or IOW set 90% of their best all out 20 minute effort as a good lower level to target during L4 intervals. You can certainly do something like that or you can just ride the intervals (e.g. 10 minutes, 12 minutes, 15, 20, 30, whatever) and see what you can repeatedly do. You don't 'need' a test to get started just ride the efforts and you'll know soon enough what is hard but still manageable.

-Dave