Tuesday, January 7, 2014

High Rewards from the Trainer

By Tim Cusick, PCG President and Elite Coach

Peaks Coaching Group High Rewards from the Trainer CompuTrainer

Okay, first of all, I am not a trainer guy! Part of what I love about cycling is getting outside and knocking out actual miles. Unfortunately, however, for most of us the trainer is a reality in the winter, and this year has been no exception. Still, if I'm getting on the trainer, I have to know there's high reward.

Trainer Tip 1: Use the trainer to build your FTP! Trainers are a great way to induce an even power load and work on that threshold. I can't tell you the number of people I've talked to who do five or six hours of “base” miles a week on their trainers. This just isn’t going to bring about much improvement. A moderately fit cyclist should be able to complete at least two one-hour threshold-building workouts a week on the trainer. Start in December or January with 2 x 15 minutes at 90% of your threshold (with five minutes of rest between) and build that until you can do 2 x 20 minutes with little to no drop-off in power from interval one to interval two. Once you can do that, move to 3 x 15, then to 3 x 20, or even 2 x 30, all at 90% of FTP range.

Trainer Tip 2: Better your spin! Trainers offer such a controlled environment that using them to work on your spin is an excellent way to spend your indoor training time. I think a lot of cyclists underestimate the economy of becoming a good spinner. I’m not talking about a fast spinner; I’m talking about an economical spinner. Learning to smooth out your stroke and find a slightly higher natural cadence will pay benefits. On the trainer this can be done in a variety of ways, but here are two that I like: First, one-legged drills are a great way to balance strength between legs while rounding out your pedal stroke. Second, try fast pedaling drills; add 2 x 5 sets of 1-minute fast-pedal drills in your Level 2 power zone to warm up (or as a way to warm down), targeting 130 rpm and above and focusing on being smooth, with no bouncing.

And there's good news: spring is just around the corner!

Author Tim Cusick

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