We're all spending a little bit more time indoors than we expected for this time of year… and some are even managing to make the most of it all. Instead of manicuring their tan lines, they're conjuring the motivation to get on the spin bike, turbo trainer, or rollers. While the trainer is universally recognized as an incredibly productive training tool, there has always been a bit of an asterisk placed next to riding the trainer. Plus, time really does seem to stand still while on one of those things. After all, who doesn't want to enjoy the sunshine, fresh air, and wind on their face?
Fortunately for us, there have been numerous fantastic developments on indoor training software (and hardware!) that have made killing time (and calories) on the trainer that much more enjoyable. Here are a few tips from members of the Eliel staff to help keep your motivation and fitness through the quarantine.
Jordan Babb, King of Custom
"Over the past year, the trainer has become a staple of my training, even something I look forward to after a long day at work. It's taken me a while to embrace, but over time, I've found a love for the trainer that can't be replicated when riding outside. When I think of meditation, I think of sitting on the floor, criss-cross apple sauce, practicing mindfulness, and focusing on breath. Riding the trainer has become mediation for me, without the apple sauce. The trainer gives me the ability to close my eyes, disconnect from the outside world, and focus on my breathing.
The program Trainer Road has given structure and guidance to my training, which has helped prepare me for my favorite events throughout the year. I find over-under workouts, like Carpathian Peak, help tune me up when searching for fitness. The primary objective of over-unders is to increase your ability to tolerate and utilize byproduct, or lactic acid, that accompanies riding above your FTP, all while maintaining reasonably high-power output. Whether you're looking to complete your first century or prepare for the your next road race, Trainer Road offers a variety of training plans. My favorite feature is the "plan builder," which takes into consideration the unique demands of your goal events, how much stress in training you can tolerate, and your available weekly training schedule."
Alex Lamb, Graphic Design Extraordinaire
"Spanish Needle is one of my favorite workouts on Trainer Road. It’s all about short microburst sprints spread out over the workout. Over time, it is incredibly demanding. While there are a few different variations of Spanish Needle, the regular flavor is 6 x 8-minute sets with 15-second sprints and 15-second recoveries of 150% of your FTP. The recovery interval is set to 40% of your FTP, then you have 5-minutes of rest between each set of sprints. It’s my favorite workout, as I love to sprint, and like pushing high-power numbers. I could do this workout all the time because it’s fun and not as difficult as you might think. There are so many workouts to choose from on Trainer Road, but if I had to choose, I would work on sprints ALL the time, because, why not??"
Jamie Sullivan, Marketing and Popcorn Enthusiast
"I really thought when I moved from Colorado to sunny San Diego that I would be putting trainer workouts in my rearview mirror (or: in the closet). I love riding outside, but recent events have led to less opportunity for that. Fortunately, all of the progressions made with turbo trainers and online interval programs have made this time indoors a bit easier. With Zwift, you have a social option, where you can ride with friends, draft in the group, and attack at the opportune moment. Trainer Road fits my personality a bit better, a simple bar graph and effective intervals, with every second on the trainer an efficient and beneficial training stimulus.
As a bigger rider that packs the same acceleration as Fred Flinstone’s car, I gravitate toward “sweet spot” training. This is the type of power that works to pull the group along the flats, before getting spit out the back on the first climb. In particular, the Tallac workout offers 15-minute intervals where the resistance slightly fluctuates between 88-94% of your threshold. The resistance certainly builds throughout the workout, and holding the power that felt comfortable at first gets more and more difficult. Additionally, Trainer Road offers a number of form suggestions, and you focus on different quadrants of your pedal stroke. Paying specific attention to each individual part of your pedaling form can be a challenge on the road, so the indoor trainer time can work doubly as an opportunity to increase your efficiency on the bike. "