The turbo trainer is your friend, not your enemy. Use it effectively and the friendship will blossom…
Riders have varying relationships with their turbo trainers. Some see them as instruments of torture to be avoided at all costs; others a necessary evil; while some rare individuals claim to enjoy riding hard and going nowhere.
Whatever your viewpoint, a turbo trainer can add an extra dimension to your winter cycle training. It is possible to do long endurance rides on a turbo trainer, though possibly your mental endurance will be stressed more than your physical ability. Another limiting factor is the depth of your DVD collection and the tolerance of the people you live with to the relentless whirring.
Setting up the environment you train in right will help, as will having the right equipment. Good music and a clear plan for the session are both essential to you to see through.
Looking after yourself and your bike; Turbo Tips
Training indoors at high intensity can lead you to overheat. Wear lightweight clothing and position yourself near an open window, in a cool environment, and use a fan.
Because you are sweating so much both from effort and warmer environment, it is very important to hydrate properly. Ensure you have plenty of water or six percent carb solution on hand to sip during the recovery phases of your session.
A mat under your turbo will make it more stable and reduce noise and vibrations. A block under the front wheel raises the bike to an even level.
A heart rate monitor is absolutely essential for effective turbo training.
Your sweat is highly corrosive – protect your frame and have something to wipe perspiration on by keeping a towel across your handle bars. You can purchase a ‘sweat net’ that stretches from seat-pin to stem to prevent drips.
Use our virtual ride training DVD’s with music, dashboard and on-screen prompts to provide motivation and inspiration.
If you are doing intervals, a countdown timer on a DVD is easier to follow than trying to squint at the heart rate monitor on your bars – particularly when you are squeezing out the last few seconds of your final interval.
Getting there quicker…
Turbos offer more than just a warm, safe alternative to the road. Turbo training is a valid and important training method in its own right and one you would be wise to add to your existing programme. If you want rapid improvements and hard, goal-orientated, time-efficient training sessions then it’s time to bring the bike in from the cold.
Turbo Trainers offer a controlled environment for doing high-intensity sessions.
You can focus on pushing your body beyond its usual limits without the distraction of hazards and staying alert to traffic.
Specific drills to improve cadence or pedalling technique are better on a turbo trainer, as resistance can be controlled.
You can watch yourself in a mirror to look for good technique.
But remember the turbo trainer compliments and does not replace riding on the road. Real outdoor riding is the only way to hone your handling skills. And it makes you hard. After all, if it is raining on race day what are you going to do? Stay in?