It's far to wet to ride, there is snow and ice, or you simply can't get out on the road. Don't worry you can still get some k's under the belt using an indoor stationary trainer.
Now, don't turn off here, lots of people we meet turn their noses up at just the slightest mention of a stationary trainer. At La Velocita we've spent some time on the indoor trainer and bring you our top tips for making it time well spent.
Using a trainer in the right way will allow you concentrate on high intensity intervals and structured training to get the greatest fitness benefit for your time in the saddle. You can use them to help you warm up prior to a race or work on a specific aspect of your riding or to keep the legs turning over if you have some sort of injury (hand/wrist etc) that keeps you from riding on the road.
Turbo Trainer - We'd recommend you borrow a trainer so you can to see if you like using it. If you are going to continue to use one and decide to buy the four main options are:
Wind trainer - A fan creates win resistance. They are generally at the cheaper end of the market and get the job done, however they are very loud, have limited resistance adjustment and don't really have a 'road' feel.
Magnetic - A metal object is forced to spin against a magnet field, creating resistance. They are usually low to mid price and generally offer reasonable resistance adjustability and are quieter than wind trainers
Fluid trainer - A fan (or impeller) moves through a sealed unit full of liquid. These trainers range in cost but are generally sit in the middle to upper end of most manufacturers range. Most provide a good realist resistance that increases with your speed, and are much quieter than wind trainers. La Velocita uses a Cycleops fluid trainer.
Rollers - A series of cylinders attached to a metal frame that allow both wheels to spin. You'll need practice to get going on rollers. At La Velocita we have seen some serious cyclist come off the rollers so they are something you need to work on and get used to. They are quieter than turbo trainers, provide a road like experience and help you develop your balance and bike handling skills.
Most people hate (yes hate) trainers as they find them very boring. Sitting on your bike pedalling away looking at a wall is not quite the same as being on the open road. Watching TV or getting the headphones on is an option to pass the time, but to get some real entertainment and training benefit there are many of cycling training films available for download.
At La Velocita we've been working our way through several training movies and we found the stand out to be the Sufferfest series. They provide good structured training while providing point of view camera action from track, cyclocross and road races including the Tour de France. We loved the way there was some fun in the movies with pop up comments along the way. Most of their training movies are around 60 minutes and leave you feeling like you have had a solid workout. We love "Fight Club, "Angels" and "A Very Dark Place". Check out the Sufferfest here.
We've found the most simple way to get the best out of stationary trainers is to pair your chosen cycle training movie with a heart rate monitor and spend some time working out you heart rate at various effort levels.
Even if it's cold (you are in the shed or garage) you won't need much more than you shorts. You'll be pretty hot and sweating up a storm in no time even with a fan in front of you. You'll realise just how critical it is to rehydrate on the bike when you are out riding when you see the pool of sweat under you trainer after an one hour effort. On this point make sure you put down some rubber matting to catch the sweat, it will also cut down vibration and noise levels.
Make sure you warm up and cool down, five minutes will stop you hurting yourself if it cold. Good traing movies will include this.
We 'd love to hear you comments of how you pass the time on the indoor trainer or any epic workouts you've put together.
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