Indoor trainer vs outside riding

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by woodchuck, Mar 27, 2005.

  1. woodchuck

    woodchuck New Member

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    I have been doing a fair bit of indoor trainer riding in my program this winter and am just transitioning back to outdoor riding now that the snow is starting to clear. I had a question on the workout you get in each environment. I am using a HRM. I find that the same heart rate on the trainer seems like more work than riding outside. For example, I can do a 1-hour ride on the trainer and if I try a similar ride outside (e.g. relatively flat, road ride) my average heart rate outside is higher (by about 10 bpm) and I don't feel as tired aerobically or in the legs after the outside ride. Is this physiological or is there some physical reason for this?
     
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  2. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    Believe it's mostly in the head. There is more going on outside on the road to distract you, plus it's just fun to ride the bike. More play than training.

    Group riding vs solo training has the same effect for me. When chasing in a fast group, the HR is even higher, but it doesn't seem as tough. Would guess it's the distraction from your personal effort, the additional game-playing aspects when riding in a paceline, and the fun of friendly competition.
     
  3. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    Personally, I find riding indoors on my CycleOps Fluid 2 much harder than actual road riding.

    For example, on March 7th I had my best 1 hour effort on the trainer. I averaged 16.7 MPH with an average heart rate of 163 BPM or 85.3% of my known max. I took three 40 second breaks at each 15 minute mark for some water.

    Last September 28th I did a 50 miler and averaged 17.0 MPH for 2 hours 56 minutes with no breaks at an average heart rate of 159 BPM or 83.2% of max HR. The weather was 69 F, cloudy and windy. I felt cold for much of the ride actually.

    Both of these represent my personal best efforts, as pathetic as they are.
     
  4. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    What makes you think 17 mph for a "cold, windy" 50 miles is pathetic? Not sure who you're comparing yourself too, but those speeds aren't pathetic at all. Wasn't last season your first real year of cycling?

    Suggest you go out on some group rides and see how you compare to others in your age group. Believe you'll be surprised that you're as fast and strong as many of them who've been riding a lot longer than you have.
     
  5. biker-linz

    biker-linz New Member

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    woodchuck-

    How well cooled is the area where you keep your bike?
    Temperature can have a profound effect on HR at the same relative intensity.
    Even if it's quite cold, you can get pretty warm without a fan.

    L.
     
  6. woodchuck

    woodchuck New Member

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    I have my trainer in a finished basement and use a fan. The temperature would be significantly warmer (say 65deg) than outside (between 20 and 40 deg right now, its the end of winter). I assume a warmer temp would correspond to a higher HR for cooling???
     
  7. basso97

    basso97 New Member

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    Depending on how much resistance is on your trainer it is harder then out side.

    I read in Charmicles (sp) book he says that since you can not cost on a trainer, no cross streets and to get the equivalent time is 20% less on the trainer.

    i.e. 48 min on a trainer = 1hr out doors.
     
  8. woodchuck

    woodchuck New Member

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    I have heard this but why would my HR be lower on the trainer that outside given the same effort (or seemingly the same effort).
     
  9. basso97

    basso97 New Member

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    Many items beside physical effort contribute to the HR. Outdoors your environment is not controlled and your body either has to heat itself up or cool it self down. When you are outdoors your nervous system is taxed more and contributes to your HR.



    I am not an expert, I am a parrot and am repeating what I have heard.
     
  10. biker-linz

    biker-linz New Member

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    Sorry wc, I misread your post. HRs can vary for a number of reasons; you're right, normally it would rise with an increase in temperature. This is one of the reasons HR is not always as accurate as some people would lead you to believe. I wouldn't read too much into it; it could just be a hormonal difference (ie lower levels of epinephrine indoors vs. outdoors).
    However, without some kind of objective measure of intensity (ie a power meter) it's nigh impossible to draw any kind of meaningful conclusions anyway.
    As far as trainers being 'harder', there is surely some truth in this.
    Most people report that they are able to produce ~10W less on a trainer; most people agree that this is probably at least in part due to the effect of the much smaller inertial load experienced on a trainer.
    L.
     
  11. woodchuck

    woodchuck New Member

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    Interesting and thanks for the info. I know the Winter time on the trainer is working because during my outside workouts this Spring I have felt very strong and had good endurance.

    I will keep plugging away with my trainer and watching my Seinfeld DVDs.
     
  12. mitosis

    mitosis New Member

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    It is quite usual for your heart rate for the same effort on a trainer to be significantly less than outside.

    Your use more muscles of your upper body (without realising it) when riding on the road. This takes more effort and the subsequent extra tax on your cardiovascular system is reflected in your higher heart rate.
     
  13. Postie

    Postie New Member

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    I also find that my indoor effort is significantly greater indoors then out on the CycleOps Fluid 2. I use quite easy gears on the trainer and one of the big things I've found is that, since the roller comes to a complete halt two seconds after I stop pedaling, I receive much more resistance considerably higher on the pedal stroke. This also means I have to be much more careful with my sketchy knees then while road riding.
     
  14. in.10.city

    in.10.city New Member

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    I did my first ride outside finally this season (yes I'm a big cold weather puss) and what a big difference. Where did that wind resistance come from!!?? That right there made a big difference in the amount of effort required to be put forth. As for feeling less drained, indoor riding is mentally and physically draining due to the heat and dehydration so that could be why you don't feel as spent.
     
  15. mitosis

    mitosis New Member

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    Not to mention the boredom. I do hours during the winter on a trainer. Always thinking of other things I should be doing. TV is good on the trainer - or good music.
     
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