Consistency & the Stationary Trainer

You don’t have time to train.  You’re not in a very exclusive club.  No one has time to train.  So how will you get through a single day 25 or 50-mile ride or a two day 180-mile adventure?  One word: consistency.

You have access to the online program and, if you’ve been following it, have likely noticed a pattern.  There is a framework to each week.  There are three workouts that form the basis for your training and that can provide you with the fitness necessary to get to the finish line.  Tuesday is a higher intensity interval workout that is labeled “Turbo Trainer”, Thursday is an easy ride and the weekend is for your longer ride that will give you the event specific endurance to handle Pedal the Cause in October.  Can you do more?  Absolutely, and many will supplement this with a couple of additional rides and/or cross-training sessions but these are the three rides that should provide you with your weekly training template.

What is a turbo trainer?

Tuesdays, we have a higher intensity workout that is designed to be performed on a stationary trainer and this is the focus of our discussion.  The name, “Turbo Trainer”, comes from a product conceived in the ‘80s that allowed a cyclist to remove their front wheel and put the front forks into a quick release mount while resting the rear wheel on a small roller that connected to a flywheel on one side and a “turbo fan” on the other.  This was the birth of the much maligned stationary trainer.  Easier to use than traditional “rollers”, that require balance and near perfect pedaling technique, the Turbo Trainer provided the same convenience of riding indoors when weather or light prevented going out on the road while offering stability & ease of use.

Today, stationary trainers are more commonly rear wheel mounted but most use either a fluid or wind resistance unit similar to the old turbo fan to provide the same progressive resistance that you experience on the road.  Progressive resistance means that, the faster you go, the harder it becomes to pedal.  If you don’t have one and are considering purchasing a trainer, we suggest the fluid version.  Yes, they’re more expensive but they’re MUCH quieter.

Turbo Trainers are an efficient way to train

While many riders don’t love their trainers due to the boredom of pedaling in place, others have discovered the convenience and time efficient nature of these workouts.   Since you’re always pedaling and never coasting, you can accomplish in an hour what would take 1.5 to 2-hours to do on the road.  From a workout perspective, stationary trainers offer the ability to control workload and effort without worrying about the interruptions that come with riding on all but the most rural roads. (traffic lights, stop signs, pedestrians, dogs, etc.)

So go into the training plans provided in the TOOLS & TRAINING box of your profile page, and take a look at the Tuesday turbo trainer workouts.  They are much simpler than they seem at first glance.  When we look at this, it’s composed of 4 primary components:  Warm up, main set, drills, cool down.  Of these, the warm up and main set are the most important.  Every workout should finish with some easy pedaling.  This doesn’t have to go longer than 5-minutes but gives your body to return to normal before dismounting and hitting the shower.

Are you worried that you’ll get bored?

There’s no reason to be.  You can do a lot of other activities when on a stationary trainer including but not limited to:

  • Listen to music
  • Read
  • Watch television
  • Talk on the phone

 A few other thoughts:

  • Have a towel handy.  Without the wind in your face, sweat won’t evaporate like it does when out on the road.
  • Keep your rear tire pumped to the recommended pressure.  Usually, 90 to 110lbs of pressure is optimal.  If you leave your bike on your trainer for weeks on end and ride with low pressure, you’ll find that your tire wears out.
  • Consistent resistance.  When mounting your bike on the trainer the final step is turning the knob that puts the resistance unit in contact with the tire.  Once the unit touches the tire, count the # of turns ‘til there is no slippage.   If you keep constant recommended tire pressure and use the same # of turns, you’ll find that your resistance is consistent in each of the gears you use when working out.  This allows you to see progress from workout-to-workout without wondering whether your trainer is set up the same way.

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