Thursday, November 29, 2012

Indoor Trainer Strategies

By Bill McLaughlin, Elite PCG Coach
USAC Level 2 USAT Level 1

The winter is here and that means trainer time!  It is not always wise to ride on the road during the winter months; snow, salt, gravel, darkness and just plain too cold.  So to help maintain and build on the past season’s fitness we head into our basements, garages or training rooms.
There is no arguing the trainer is a very useful tool and if done properly we can survive the winter and come out of it stronger and fitter. The following are some useful tips to help you this winter have a more enjoyable and productive winter season. Done right three or four weekly indoor rides can actually increase your power, speed, and improve your pedaling efficiency.
Indoor Trainer Strategies
  • Get a fan. In a room with poor circulation your body will generate a lot of heat and you cannot displace that heat without wind to help cool you. So to create an artificial headwind place a fan in front of you. Wear headbands for sweat and to help protect the bike frame from sweat I advise getting a bike thong or also called a sweat net. A trainer mat for under the trainer can protect the floors or rugs also from sweat. Keep lots of sweat towels handy too.
  • Hydrate. Fluids are just as important as riding outside, they help keep your core body temperature down. Use your sports drink mix on hard trainer rides to replace electrolytes/carbohydrates that you are losing through the training (the puddles of sweat are filled with lost salts and minerals).
  • Be brief no marathon trainer sessions. I like to have my athletes train ideally no more than 1 ½-1 ¾ hours on the trainer. The long endurance rides can be done on the weekends weather permitting and this is when a group ride really helps. Miles with a group go faster and the social part makes the cold easier to take.
  • Change things up. To help beat the boredom mix things up a bit if you’re doing say sweet spot training longer intervals try different cadence. This way you work either high cadence small gear to get the power in a higher RPM, also try bigger gear lower cadence to build muscular strength. If doing VO2 intervals try alternating 1 interval seated one standing with the front end raised on a block to help simulate climbing. Try a variety of things to help make the time go easier.
  • Music and or TV. Make your own playlist to different trainer workouts. Say hard rock for AC work and longer type songs for sweet spot intervals. Whatever works for you and also change them up from time to time the same song for the same intervals time after time can really play on you no matter what the song. Buy or rent a TV series and only watch it during workouts, it makes you want to get on your trainer to find out what’s next.
So let’s get in a good productive winter and come out motivated, fitter, and stronger next race season.