Newbie question about hill training (on a trainer)

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by brandyleigh35, Sep 5, 2005.

  1. brandyleigh35

    brandyleigh35 New Member

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    Question for you seasoned riders. My husband and I just got trainers (cycleops fluid 2's) to stay in shape during the winter. We regularly do a uphill set of switchbacks that is pretty tough. Normally when I'm riding it, I'm in my granny gear and seriously huffing and puffing. It takes about 9 minutes for us to get to the top of the first hill, and about 18 minutes total for all 5 switchbacks. We tried simulating this ride on our trainers yesterday. The whole ride is about normally about 3.5miles from our house with the switchback being the last part about 1 1/4 mile straight up.

    We did 10 minutes of warm up, then added like 5 minutes of harder climbing (as there is one smaller hill prior to getting to the big hill on our ride) we then did about 3 minutes of easier riding, then switched to our highest gear for 18 minutes to simulate the hill climb,then recovered for about 4 minutes and did another 10 minutes of hard climbing, finishing out with a 10 minute cool down. Now it was hard, we were both really perspiring when we were done, so I know we were working. My question is this, my breathing, even though I was really pushing on the trainer was no where near as difficult as it is going up our regular hill. Is there a way to really truly simulate the hill climbing on a trainer? I mean, obviously I'm staying flat verses going up at an angle, but I'm just wondering what is the best way to build my leg musces and cardio, so that next year I will be able to ride this hill faster and with less pain and effort?

    Any suggestions for training intervals etc, would be appreciated. Thank you!

    Brandy
     
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  2. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    I'm not familiar with your trainer. Can you vary the resistance? Do you have power data? Do you have cadence or a speedo or both? What do you know about your climb? Do you know the average grade? How many feet of vertical climb and how many miles of terrain distance (by terrain distance, I mean if you set your odomoter to zero at the bottom, what would it read at the top?). How many different sections are there where the grade is significantly different (e.g., more than 1% different)? Basically, if you have a way of riding on your trainer at pre-determined power levels, you can ride at simulated resistances to your hill climb.
     
  3. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    She doesn't have all of that jazz. ;) It's just a basic fluid trainer. I have the same thing but mine leaks fluid at no extra charge.

    Brandyleigh, to simulate hill training I suggest you put your front wheels up on some cinder blocks or a block of wood something stable and use a larger gear to simulate the extra resistance you get from climbing. Other than that there isn't much you can do indoors with your setup. It'll work though. By having your front wheel raised you'll work the muscles in a similar fashion to climbing.
     
  4. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    According to the CycleOps website, the fluid2 trainers have variable resistance. I'm trying to get a handle on her ability to develop a proxy for power. You're saying that you cannot vary the resistance on a fluid2?
     
  5. joule

    joule New Member

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    It varies based on speed, the faster you go, the harder it is to go.



     
  6. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    Joule's right. It generates more resistance the harder you pedal. But there isn't any lever to flip in order to make it harder like on many of the magnetic trainers that claim variable resistance.
     
  7. brandyleigh35

    brandyleigh35 New Member

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    This is correct, I have tightened the resistence wheel a bit more, but I really don't think it makes much of a difference. I think the idea of propping it up higher might be a good one. I have it on a front wheel stabilizer that has a variety of heights to choose from, but none are significantly higher than just being on flat road. Putting it up on some blocks would at least help in targeting the particular muscles we are using a bit better. The bummer of it all is that I have a bad knee, riding hills in granny gear, is hard but doesn't put significant pressure on my knee. Riding in high gear on the trainer though seems to aggravate it, so I'm trying to figure out how to get the same type of workout without riding in granny gear on the trainer.

    Brandy
     
  8. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    Obviously that's going to present a bit of a problem because from the trainer's perspective you're still on flat ground and that's all it can simulate - flat ground at various speeds.

    By propping up the front wheel and using larger gears you are faking the effects of going up an incline. If you stay in the granny gear you won't be able to fake it effectively because the resistance just won't be there to simulate going up an incline.

    You'll have to experiment around with front wheel height to approximate the hills you ride and resistance levels to accomidate your knee without being too easy on it.
     
  9. fix

    fix New Member

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    Tightening the resistance wheel won't add significant resistance as you have noticed, but will probably increase your tire wear. It is best to follow the manufacturer's instructions for properly setting the resistance wheel. I believe it is 2 1/2 turns of the knob after the initial contact with the tire, as recommended by the Cycleops.



    Essentially the variable resistance that your fluid trainer creates is to simulate the increased power needed to maintain a speed on a horizontal surface. The increased power is primarily a simulation of the increase in air drag that you feel in a outdoor ride as your speed increases. You are correct to shift to a higher gear when using your trainer to simulate the additional work required to climb an incline. The real challenge is trying to find the equivalent wheel speed on your trainer that matches the amount of power that you need to climb a specific incline. It is possible that you are using too high of a gear on your trainer when you are trying to simulate a hill and thus causing the excessive stress on your knee.

    Aside from sensing whether you are equally exerting yourself as you would outside on the hill, the only other way is to try calculating what the equal flat speed is to simulate the power output to match the hill. (both being done at the same cadence.)

    ...and that can be done if you are willing to do a little work. :eek:
    ...but it won't be simple. You'll see what I mean if you dare to read a little further. :D

    Try this site www.analyticcycling.com They have a link to a calculator at http://www.analyticcycling.com/ForcesPower_Page.html . Try a few iterations. If you know the grade of the hill that you are climbing, the speed that you typically climb and the cadence that you use when climbing you can see what the cadence is for a flat ride that matches the speed of your inclined ride. Then use the gear that matches that attained speed with the same cadence on your trainer. :confused: good luck
     
  10. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    I don't think your problem is hill climbing. I think the hill just revealed a shortcoming in your sustainable power. You are probably increasing your power when you climb the hill as compared with the flat. This is normal and most of us do it because the bike speed slows down and we feel as though we need more bike speed. Hills are also good at revealing the fact that most of us do a lot of resting on the flat. If you rest on a hill, the bike stops, so an 18-min climb is 18 mins of continuous work. That's why you're huffing and puffing and struggling on the climb -- because you are riding at a higher power, a power you can't sustain. If you increase your sustainable power, you will feel it everywhere -- on the flats, uphill, upwind, etc.

    Without a way of varying the resistance on your trainer, you are left with speed to manage the intensity of your workouts. That's okay, because you can still get the desired workout based on speed. My suggestion is that you do two different kinds of high-intensity workouts on your trainer. The first workout is 2 sets of 20-min intervals at 92% of your 20MP (explained below), with a 5-min recovery between intervals. The second workout is 4 sets of 5-min intervals at 92% of your 5MP, with a 10-min recovery between intervals. With warmup and cooldown, both workouts are ~1 hr. To keep things interesting, I'd alternate these interval sets with an easy day of spinning at ~70%MHR.

    Now, let me explain how you get your MPs and where the 92% comes from. An MP is simply the maximum power (speed) you can maintain for a given duration. So, a 20MP is the max speed you can sustain for 20 mins, and 5MP is the max speed you can sustain for 5 mins. You may have to do a few tests to find your MPs and they will change over time. In fact, this is how you will track your progress -- by the increases in your MPs. The 20-min intervals target your functional threshold and the 5-min intervals target your VO2MAX. Choose a cadence that puts your bum knee at least risk. The intensity of effort is measured by speed, not cadence. Use whatever cadence (high or low) that puts your knee under the least strain. Why the 92%? I train with power, but I have looked at my interval power numbers and found that they are approximately 90% of my max power at that duration. I bumped it by 2% to reflect the fact that power and speed are not linear. I estimate that 90% of my MP power would translate to ~92% of my MP speed on the flat with no wind. Oh, BTW, for these intervals you can take note of your HR as a % of your MHR, but I wouldn't use that to guide your interval intensity -- use speed.
     
  11. brandyleigh35

    brandyleigh35 New Member

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    Thanks so much! We will give this a try!

    Brandy
     
  12. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    There's several issues, which nobody has yet addressed

    1) when riding indoors it's imperative to have good ventilation -- this means opening the windows of your house (or using air con) and having large(ish) fans blowing over you to help evaporate the sweat. During indoors riding as you are not moving, there is no air flow passing over you, this results in the air becoming saturated and leaves nowhere for your sweat to evaporate -- thus making it appear you are sweating more heavily. As the sweat fails to evaporate and starts dripping your core temperature continues to rise, causing an increase in sweat rate and a downward spiral of performance. So, while you appear to be working yourself into the ground you may be exercising at a much lower intensity than you think. Even with several fans you may not be able to simulate outdoors riding and air flow.

    2) as far as i'm aware putting something under your front wheel and riding like that on the trainer won't do anything

    3) If you want to get good at riding hills there's two things -- your technique (e.g., when to stand, when to sit, pacing, gearing, etc.) - do this on the actual hill outside, and your fitness which can be targeted indoors as well as out (flat and hilly)

    4) there's a variety of intervals and training that would help increase your fitness. This could vary from simple training (e.g., ride more than you currently do), to exercising at a level for ~ 15 - 30 minutes that is on the cusp of being able to talk smoothly and having to shut up for a few seconds to concentrate on your cycling, to 'complex' type intervals (e.g., 20-mins @ TTpower; or 4-mins @ 80% MAP). However, if memory serves me correctly you and your husband aren't racing cyclists(?). Accordingly, none of us know what your health and fitness is like, and prior to advising about intense intervals you should check your health with your doctor. Certain conditions may preclude you from taking part (at least initially) in moderate and high intensity exercise.

    5) prior to suggesting what training you should do to improve your fitness, we'd need to know what you're currently doing and what your actual goals are (as well as knowing something about your health see point 4). If you currently ride twice a week for 1 hr at a time, then just increasing your exercising time will lead to increases in fitness. If you currently do 20hr/week with 10 sessions a week including intervals we'd need to offer substantially different advice!

    Ric
     
  13. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    I know you're just starting out with coaching, but several points
    1) as Dr M suggested not everyone has a power meter. In fact most cyclists don't, including the majority of top level pro cyclists (unfortunately)

    2) trying to offer such training without trying to ascertain the riders health and fitness prior to prescription probably isn't the best idea

    3) i'm not sure how you can use speed to set training intensities without taking into consideration environmental and topographical conditions: as you've previously noted roads may not be as flat as you first think (you may not even notice different wind speeds) - it's often only with the use of a power meter that you can ascertain these issues...

    ric


     
  14. Phil Stone

    Phil Stone New Member

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    Brandy simply improving your condition will make you faster on a bike & thus faster on the hills. The trainer could give you an edge as they tend to mimic the low inertia thats found on long steady climbs.

    The pace that Ric is talking about above where your starting to find having a discussion hard is a great safe way to train. Another simple rule I use when in doubt is simply training a good duration every other day. This way you will always have sufficient time to recover & improve in time for the next ride. Simple & effective enough for any 1st cat racer ;)

    Regards
     
  15. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    How does this apply to an indoor trainer such as the OP is using?
     
  16. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    it doesn't. i thought you were talking about outdoors riding as you mentioned flat roads and no wind.

    ric
     
  17. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    Actually, I don't consider myself a coach, don't call myself a coach and don't offer coaching services. I took the USA Cycling Club Coach exam because I wanted to attend Andy Coggan's physiology lecture and being a Club Coach was the minimum requirement to attend the Expert Coaching Clinic. After I attend the Expert Clinic, I intend to take the Expert Coaching License exam and become a certified Expert Coach. And, I intend to attend the Power Based Training Clinic and take that exam. This investment on my part is targeted at my personal education, the acquisition of my own knowledge of cycling and training. I have no plans to charge fees for coaching. Any advice I render will be simply as a cyclist with perhaps a bit more knowledge than the average cyclist. I have learned most of what I now know about cycling from other cyclists, and I value highly the spirit of sharing knowledge and information. I haven't made a decision about a coach for me personally, but I assure you that any coach I hire will not only encourage me to become as knowledgeable as possible about the key topics of cycling and training (including physiology), but he will point me to useful resources (readings, clinics, etc.).

    I fully realize this and this is true with all but one of the riders in my own club. I took that fact fully into account in my suggestions to this OP. Nothing that I suggested to her requires a PM.

    Well, there's probably some merit to that, which would suggest that one should qualify any advice on high-intensity work with the suggestion that they get clearance from their doctor. But, let's look at the facts of this OP's questions. She and her husband regularly do this 18-min climb at a high intensity of effort. They are now being forced indoors and want to replicate the intensity of their hill on their trainer. Their first attempt was difficult but she found it to be less difficult than their actual climb. She is basically trying to use her trainer to do the impossible, to replicate the hill. My response was to first suggest that the hill probably wasn't the underlying problem but rather her (and her husband's) sustainable power was likely the cause of how hard they have to work to make that 18-min climb. Since she was already doing intervals, I was simply trying to give her a way of defining and managing the intensity of her efforts, such that she realizes improvements in both functional threshold and VO2MAX.

    Actually, I think speed can be used to define and manage intensities on a trainer if the resistance is either fixed or repeatable, precisely because topography and wind are non-factors. In fact, I think speed is equivalent to having a PM with the exception that one can't compare one's power with published benchmarks such as Andy Coggan's power profiles. My suggestion addressed two needs for the OP: (1) a way of defining training intensities at different durations; and (2) a way of tracking improvements in sustainable power over time. A PM is not necessary for defining training intensities and/or measuring changes in sustainable power over time, it just makes the task easier.
     
  18. brandyleigh35

    brandyleigh35 New Member

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    Wow! thanks for all the imput and suggestions. As for fitness we are both in very good shape, and very healthy. We eat right and exercise has been a part of our lives regularly since we were kids. We currently bike about 4 days a week, doing primarily roads that are mostly hills with very little flat. I'm asking about the resistance and trainer benefits because I want to have the best training sessions I can have. Last week we changed up our route, instead of doing the usual really hard hill climb, we did a different road. This one was slightly less of an incline but was 3.5 miles long verses the normal 2.0 mile one we normally do. The next day since we had worked our legs hard on the hill climb the day before we did a 25 mile distance ride. It had a couple good hills but was mostly flat. We were both pretty tired and sore after that so we took 3 days off to rest. We then hit our normal hill (the hard one) again. It had been less than 1 week since we had ridden it, and both of us had to really struggle to get to the top again. I couldn't believe the difference just in a week. You would've thought we hadn't been riding at all! My legs weren't super tired, but my breathing was completely out of whack and I just couldn't breathe! It was like the first day I started doing that hill and I had to walk my bike.
    I want to train this winter, so that when summer gets here next year, I can smoke that hill from the get go. I want it to be easy. That is my primary goal this winter....to build my lung capacity and leg strength so I can literally fly up that sucker next year. So what I'm trying to figure out is how to best do that without screwing up my knee or having to use super high resistence. I have been exercising long enough that I can tell when I'm getting a good hard workout, and I know how to push myself to get there. I'm very disaplined that way. We are training in our garage which is pretty cool (temperature wise) so I'm not getting overheated.

    Does this help define the parameters a bit better?

    Brandy
     
  19. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    when i said "coach" i should perhaps have extended that to include giving advice.

    me to. which is why i give out lots of advice here and cyclingnews etc

    that's definitely something we encourage (as we're all sports scientists as well as coaches at RST).

    i was responding to the section where you asked if she had power data, plus in most of your posts you ask about power data. (i'm not trying to "get" at you, i was just pointing out something that you didn't appear to be aware of. if i got that wrong, then i apologise).

    with all due respect to the original poster, i've worked with people who are low fitness and what they describe as high intensity can actually be what we (as endurance athletes) describe as low intensity. I'm not talking about the absolute intensity, but the relative intensity. I know low-fitness people who think that (e.g.) 70% HRmax _is_ high intensity (additionally, i know low fitness cyclists who work out at similarly relative high intensity to us).

    So, the intensity the OP works out at may well be high intensity to her, it just maybe a 'different' high intensity to us. That's why i suggested the 'talk threshold' rather than specific HR%'s.

    and it's commendable that you're trying to help. i'm just worried about the specific recommendation

    perhaps i misunderstood your original point in the definition. You mentioned wind and flat in the definition, so i assumed you meant outdoors. if you meant indoors then by and large it's ok.

    Ric
     
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