You've just checked the weather for tomorrows ride. It looks grim ... Predicted 95% chance of rain for the entirety of next week. In the morning you wake to the sound of the rain as you roll over to turn off the alarm. Your phone starts beeping messages, "Raining, again!", "Enjoy the extra sleep in everybody." But you dwell on your nemesis who isn't stuck in bed like you. No, they're training in the luxury of their own home.
But maybe you're not feeling competitive and you're missing the social aspects of cycling. Rain can thwart your daily dose of companionship on the road, but did you know your bunch can enjoy a social training session on a virtual platform?
Whatever your motivation for riding, a trainer once or twice a week has been proven to effectively boost your efficiency on the road. And thats a good thing for anybody.
But I still often hear some riders vehemently hating on trainers or the concept of using a bike indoors. There are vast ways to train and knowing the options out there to tailor what's best for you can make or break your enjoyment. So I devised a brief on how we use trainers to stay on top of fitness even when the rubber doesn't hit the tarmac.
Here's some information for those at the edge of deciding.
Lets start this foray into training programs with a brief on trainer choice...
At Chainsmith, we regularly use 2 trainers. 5 years ago we searched for a hardy machine to handle our household of cyclists. At the time I owned a cheaper model ... you know, the one you throw your bike on - back wheel and all. But as with most owners, a session that left the room smelling of burning rubber (that was actually the walls of my tyres being stripped down) was enough to have me looking for alternatives.
I wanted a sturdy machine that didn't require a rear wheel and felt as similar to road as possible. I also wanted a dependable unit for measuring watts yet independent of a power source. To accomodate the list of needs the LeMond Revolutionary trainer was added to the household of gadgets. Being so useful it continues to endure weekly use beyond the 5 years.
The Wahoo is great in terms of linking to training programs like Zwift as it controls wattage output - enhancing a likeness to gradient feel during a workout. Otherwise, if using basic non-connected programs, the LeMond is same same.
We've also tested the Kinetic Rock and Roll and based on the enjoyment of our hour we certainly consider this a strong contender to the Wahoo based on the added bonus of side to side motion.
I'll be brief because there's enough material on this topic for an entire series. Lets just say we choose a Garmin Edge or Wahoo Elemnt. Both work succinctly with either trainers and all the below programs.
So, lets get in to four solutions for rainy days or when you feel the urge to up the pain threshold and goal setting and metrics is your thing.
Firstly there's the obvious Zwift
The bonus of Zwift is the motion graphics, the comprehensive programs and the ability to join rides with virtual groups or friends around the globe.
The training programs prove excellent and incrementally increase output expectation over the course of weeks (depending on your choice).
With a huge array of workouts to choose from, you can target training as a road or off-road rider and gain plenty of benefits through fitness development.
As a motivator for the competitive cyclist, one appealing incentive is the chance to ride past others on route. Talking of which, while there's plenty of programs and routes to choose from, you can also choose to ride your own rhythm.
At times I've found the wattage a bit low for my Functional Threshold Power (FTP), but you can use a manual slider to increase power beyond the recommended wattage.
There's a dozen plans available and the options look basic, but appealing.
The price of an annual subscription is a fraction of the cost for competitors products. Though it doesn't offer tailored alterations to programs you can change a few things by indicating the weekly hours you intend to spend in the training saddle.
And obviously the stats you are privy to as a summit member are astounding. Par it with a heart rate monitor and cadence sensor and you're set for any training plan.
GLOBAL CYCLING NETWORK
Try the complementary programs with the boys on Global Cycling Network (GCN). If you've ridden the Italian Dolomites, are planning to, or like the idea, then you'll love their accompanying climbing footage.
Because we visit Italy annually, we get a total boost as we follow the landmarks up iconic mountains. But there are plenty of differing programs all spiced with GCN's English humour.
After several repeated workouts you quickly get tuned into the workout quirks of the program. At which point you can switch the volume off to enjoy the scenes with the luxury of your own favourite music.
Some of my preferred training has been done with the GCN boys. They're ex pro's who retain their fitness, so seeing them visibly labour with you helps keep your head high all day.
GOOD OLD PRO RACING
Lastly, if you already know your own workouts .... another of our favourites methods is to free ride watching youtube clips of races.
If you coordinate your last 20 minutes with the finish line, you get a pretty good boost to complete your training. Its free, and you get educated.
This can be the cheapest form for training, and the videos provide great fodder for your next post-ride coffee.
There are plenty of training methods to keep you on track and reach your cycling goals. Don't dismiss local training studios or personal training plans devised by PT's. If you're after accountability this is definitely a bonus as well as tailored approaches to your specific needs.
Drop us a line for more information. In the meantime, if you're after more options for paid programs, take a look at David Arthurs article, "13 personal training and coaching apps to help you get fit"