Making the Best Use of Your Trainer Time

Sounds crazy but I was thinking a lot of how best to use indoor trainer time, even though I was able to ride outside today.

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Take time to smell the daisies.

First off, a couple of notes on today’s ride:  Florida may not have hills but, it has bridges and it has wind.  And when you are going over a bridge and it’s windy, it’s tough.  And when you are riding into a head wind, it’s tough.  Maybe because I haven’t been on a bike much lately but, I still think it’s tough.  That being said I totally enjoyed my 40 miles today, and riding at 20 plus miles an hour even if it is with a tail wind is awesome!  To give you an idea of the wind — I rode out for two hours, took me an hour and 40 minutes to ride back.  What I focused on during the ride was good pedaling technique, and keeping my weight off the front of the bike.  A side note on “Training Effect” on the Garmin 910XT.  Mine was nominal today but I know from how I felt that it was a good workout.  So much for training devices.  I wanted to do a bit of a brick run when I got back but knew Brody wouldn’t stand for that since Bryan was out golfing.

So, trainer rides.  I hear everyone saying they hate riding a trainer, it’s boring, they don’t know what to do.  I’ve had this discussion before but thought I’d save it here for future reference.  Besides the obvious benefits of a structured workout, it’s generally accepted practice that a one hour training ride is the same as an hour and a half ride on the road.  There are all kinds of dvds and websites with indoor trainer rides available.  Some of the ones that I’ve heard discussed that people in my group like are Trainer Road, Sufferfest, Spinervals, Cyclops, USAT Endurance Films.  I’ve heard great things about PainCave, but haven’t had time to check it out since I’m not home and don’t have my trainer with me.

Besides a good workout routine,  here are some things that you can work on while on the stationary trainer.  Come warm weather you will be ready to ride on the road.

1. Clipping in and out, rest your foot on top of the pedal and clip in and out over and over again, till you can do it without thinking about it. Keep spinning while you are doing this.  And if you are comfortable doing it with your dominant foot then practice with the other.

2. Reach for your water bottle, drink out of it and then put it back – without looking.

3. Shifting gears.

4. Focus on good pedaling technique.

5. Standing up, you usually want to be in a “big” gear (a lot of resistance).

All these skills are much easier to practice from the relative safety of a stationary trainer but will make riding outside much easier and more efficient.

And yes, Mary and Gail, you can fall off inside, make sure your bike is securely in the trainer but don’t over tighten. There should be some resistance but you don’t want to see black “snow” from your rear tire.

A few suggestions:

Wipe down the rear tire with some rubbing alcohol and a rag to remove road debris from the tire so you don’t grind it in with the trainer.

If you have a carbon skewer, get an inexpensive one from your local bike shop and replace on the rear wheel.  A trainer can chew up a good skewer.

Put down a big piece of vinyl or a yoga mat and then a towel (if you sweat a lot) so you don’t mark up the floor.

If there is anything right behind your bike throw a towel or sheet over it.

I’ll add more to this if any has other suggestions, but these were just my thoughts about how to make that trainer ride not so boring and a bit more productive.

4 Replies to “Making the Best Use of Your Trainer Time”

  1. What is the best way to become a little faster? I usually can maintain a 16 mph pace but I’d like to improve that. I know you have said to focus on cadence, but how do I know which gear to use while on the trainer?

  2. I like to work in some fast tempo “sprints” and recovery segments in my workouts. It is always a good challrnge. And, while i do not like them, spin ups help me become a stronger rider. Great tips Moira!

  3. If you don’t have a player near your trainer but have a TV, I’ve discovered that a brainless way of doing spin ups is watching a music video channel…when one song ends, shift up or down…the very LONG commercial break is a rest period in an easier gear, and then back to spin ups and down. It’s a start until I can figure a way to watch a bike video.

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