With Autumn and Winter around the corner, heres 3 training sessions from a proffessional coach for Tri indoor cycle sessions which are equally relevant to XC and Roadies. Enjoy the pain:
Many of us do not enjoy the ‘pleasures’ of training on a stationery trainer. “Boring”, ”mind-numbing”, “a drag” are three phrases often associated with indoor trainers.
Most experts say that one does not have to invest as much time on the indoor trainer as you do on the road. The reason is that the intensity is higher. In general, a 60-minute workout is enough for most of us. Lets look more closely at indoor training:
Is indoor training as beneficial as outdoor?
I get asked this question repeatedly. The cycling purists will say "No, it is not the same." Most of them are full time professional cyclists. They also often get to train in warmer more hospitable climates in winter. Most triathletes are not in that position.
What do you lose on training indoors?
For me, the biggest “loss” is the road handling skills and riding in the weather conditions. That is, riding in windy and wet weather that we may compete in. I have done many time trials on indoor trainers and ridden excellent times but could not match them on the road. One of the reasons for this was not learning to ride in all types of weather conditions.
Strive for a balance.
If at all possible I suggest a balance of indoor and outdoor training in winter. I know from many months spent in Europe that there is plenty of opportunity to ride in the late morning. Thus, if you are a working triathlete, then try to do your long rides outdoors over the weekend. This helps you keep your road skills up to scratch. However, sometimes the weather seems so uninviting that it is more appealing to be indoors. My reply is "do it!" Training must remain enjoyable as much as possible.
What are the advantages of indoor bike training?
There are a number of positives to training indoors. No interruptions for one. On an indoor trainer you never have to stop for traffic lights, cars or pedestrians.
The quality of your session is generally of a high standard on an indoor trainer. You work hard at a higher HR compared to outdoors.
Improves pedal stroke
I have experienced an improved cadence and pedal stroke after using indoor trainers. The trainers compel you to pedal properly and quickly highlights where any deficiencies may lie.
Saves time and aids recovery
For those who are constantly juggling time around to accommodate training, indoor training need not take the same time as outdoors. One’s power output is often higher on an indoor trainer meaning you can “do more for less” Not only does this save you time but it also means you have longer to recover.
Get past the mindset that “longer is better”. I have sufficient training evidence to show that 1-hour of indoor 3 –4 times/week keeps you in great shape.
Your liquid intake on an indoor trainer is usually higher than outdoors. It is easier than you think to dehydrate on an indoor. This is because your fluid loss is higher inside than outdoors. Usually, this dehydration takes place over a few days. I have ridden indoors for a few consecutive days and after a while I began to feel lethargic and weak. Tests confirm dehydration. You certainly can dehydrate in one session if you are not in good shape or you ride for an extended time on the indoor trainer. Each body is different but my rough guide is to double my fuel intake if I train indoors. This is certainly not a rule that is “cast in stone”. Make sure you hydrate and eat after your indoor sessions.
Keep spare clothes
Due to the increased sweat loss, I often need to change clothes in a session. It pays to keep dry as the wet clothes can cause a drop in body temperature and if your body is sufficiently vulnerable at the time, this may lead to a viral infection or common cold.
I hope I have sufficiently helped to make you more favorable towards indoor sessions. To finish off, here are three sample sessions for you to try….enjoy!
Warm up: 10-15 minutes. Ride easy gears and spin for the most part.
Part 1: Do 15 minutes of 15-30 seconds sprints. If you sprint 15 seconds, recover for 45sec. If you sprint for 30 seconds, recover for 60-70 sec. If you like, you can take a 3-4 minute break after 7minutes. (Depends on your condition) Select a gear that you would use in a road sprint.
Recover 5 minutes after part 1.
Part 2: Longer intervals. This part will take around 20 minutes.
Do 60 seconds intervals. Recover for 90-120seconds. You can choose your recovery time depending what you want to train. Shorter intervals means training lactate tolerance, longer intervals trains ATP-ADP conversion.
Part 3: Warm down for 10 minutes. The total session should take around 60 minutes or so.
Warm up: Include your warm up time.
Part 1: 20(40), 40(20), 60(60), 40(20), 20(40) - 2x
Recovery time in bracket expressed in seconds. So, you sprint for 20 seconds, recover for 40, sprint for 40, recover for 20 etc.
This training is challenging but it goes quickly. Repeat this drill twice but recover for 5minutes between sets. You can add another set if you really enjoy this.
Again, recover for 5 minutes between part 1 and 2.
Part 2: 2min hard, 4minutes easy - 3x
This part does not require you to go flat out. Use the 2 minutes as a sustained effort rather than a flat out affair. Keep HR out of the anaerobic zone. Ride at your aerobic threshold level….that is below race pace. This type of interval really asks you to keep up a pace. Your aim is more of an endurance effort, burning slower and more efficiently. As an example, if you normally average 35 km/hr on a flat course on a race, work on riding at 31-32km/hr per 2 minute interval. Ensure you do not go into the anaerobic zone.
Warm down: As always leave about 10 minutes to warm down.
Warm up for 10-15 minutes.
You need to change the resistance on the trainer. Take it down 2-3 levels. It must not be impossible to pedal in the big chain ring though.
Ride 5 minutes in big chain ring at heavier resistance. Recover for 4 minutes.
Do 3-4 repeats. This is not a sprint up the hill but rather a sustained effort. This part of the session encourages strength endurance. Your HR need not go into the anaerobic level. It can also be in your aerobic threshold zone. In other words, below race pace. If you find you cannot prevent going anaerobic, reduce the resistance level.
Warm down. This can be a tough session if you’re not accustomed to climbing