Beth Herman-Davis is a lifelong cyclist and active Eliel Factory Team member. Her obsession with cycling began with a golden banana seat bike and expanded from there. She is also a triathlete, health coach, personal trainer, nutrition coach, and blogger. Visit her website or check out her Instagram to find nutrition and fitness tips, pretty pictures of homemade food, Boston sunsets, and her favorite home workouts with her training partner, Scout. Today Beth drops by the Eliel blog to share her wisdom on how to prepare for and survive indoor training.
By: Beth Herman-Davis, EdD, CPT, Pn1
Once upon a time, winter in New England conjured up images of snow-covered country roads and hot chocolate by a toasty fire. Now, as a triathlete in training in New England, the image is much different. Now I imagine how I'm going to get through all of these indoor trainer rides without burning out before I get back on the roads in March/April.
My solution? Invest in a smart trainer. We bought a refurbished Wahoo Kickr Snap, which I adore. I've had several trainers (and rollers) in my cycling career, and the Kickr offers a consistently smooth ride. Why buy a smart trainer? Smart trainers allow you the flexibility to use a training application like Zwift or manually adjust the trainer through the Wahoo app using different modes like the ERG mode and resistance. The Wahoo app offers data like speed, distance, workout time, and power.
One of the major benefits of a smart trainer is that it can be integrated with a training application. There are many applications to choose from; I use Zwift, which is a large multiplayer ‘game’ where you cycle in the virtual cities of Richmond, London, or New York, France, or Watopia. There are sometimes thousands of other cyclists riding at the same time as you from all over the globe, which I find motivating as there is someone always pushing you to go just a little bit harder. Zwift offers a variety of workouts and rides around volcanoes, underwater tunnels, cities, and the countryside with some gnarly hill climbing options. There are also group ride options. I often see cycling and triathlon teams riding together for training rides and workouts. Zwift also recently added in a virtual running option as well. Zwift, like several other applications, offers a free 7-day trial so you can determine if this is the right program for you. And if you're looking for more motivation, there's the option of giving and receiving what is called a ride on 👍🏼 from fellow cyclists during your ride. The more ride ons you get, the bigger the back pockets of your jersey grow.
Other training applications include Trainer Road, The Sufferfest, Rouvy, Erg Video, Hurts Ergo, Kinomap, and more. Many of these apps, including Zwift, automatically sync your training data to your TrainingPeaks account and will automatically upload your data to Strava and Garmin as well. To find out more detailed information about training applications, check out this review on DC Rainmaker.
What do you need to support a smart trainer and an online training app? An ANT stick and a cadence sensor, as well as a tablet, smart phone, Apple TV, or a laptop. I use my MacBook Air, which I put on a Quik Lok Laptop Holder (purchased through Amazon). An optional piece of equipment (which I use) is a heart rate monitor, as many of the applications offer heart rate data as well.
In addition to using Zwift, I also listen to music or watch movies, documentaries, or TV shows to pass the time, as I'm sometimes on the trainer for upwards of 2.5 hours per session. I have found Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime to be invaluable during these winter training months.
Television series to make the trainer sessions fly by
The Assassination of Gianni Versace
House of Cards
Friends from College
The People vs. OJ Simpson
What fellow riders have watched
Game of Thrones
Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Call the Midwife
A few additional tools I have found invaluable are a sound bar and Apple TV. The sound bar helps amplify the audio from whatever I'm watching over the noise of the trainer and the fan — and music sounds divine on it! Apple TV offers other options like iTunes to manage and select music — and also project video from a laptop onto the TV and through the sound bar.
Indoor training can definitely get a bit tedious by February and like many of you, I'm ready to be back out on the roads. I remind myself often that indoor training is temporary and perhaps more importantly, it's helping me to prepare mentally (and physically) for whatever comes my way during race season.
Now, it's time to kick back in front of that toasty fire and find movies for this week's riding. Happy training!