8 tips for effective training on the trainer


Winter is a time when it's often harder to motivate yourself to train, yet the work done during this period is crucial for later stages of preparation and reflects in future results. The vast majority of triathletes switch to indoor trainers during this time, but they don't always do everything to maintain the quality and highest level of training comfort. Therefore, we have prepared this post for you.

  1. 1. Ensure proper cooling.

    This is one of the most important aspects of indoor training. Remember that when riding on the trainer, the watts we see on our computer screen represent only 1/4 of the power we generate! The rest is converted into heat energy, and depending on the intensity, it can be around 500-1000W! Neglecting cooling in such conditions can quickly push us to the upper limit of our heat dissipation capacity, and our body will defend itself in every possible way to prevent overheating. Consequently, this will result in a decrease in the power we generate. Not only will it prolong our recovery, but it will also decrease the quality of our training sessions. A simple fan can greatly improve the comfort of our training session. More advanced options, such as the Wahoo Headwind, can connect to our heart rate monitor and adjust airflow according to our intensity zone – a great and practical solution!

  2. 2. Have everything at hand.

    Constantly getting on and off the trainer for gels, phone, water bottle, or to adjust the fan speed decreases the effectiveness of our training. Simply prepare your setup in advance, take care of a side table, and you'll have to interrupt your training much less frequently.

  3. 3. Use the ERG mode wisely.

     I'm all for using technological novelties, but I also believe in using common sense. I think the ERG mode can both help and hinder cycling training. It helps us when we have trouble focusing on the task, find it hard to motivate ourselves to reach the desired intensity, or tend to give up too easily or get distracted during warm-ups. In such cases, this mode immediately reminds us of the target watts. On the other hand, relying on ERG every time can make us lazy, and when we go outside for training later without the proper experience, we might struggle to find the right gear or maintain the desired power.

  4. 4. Beat the boredom.

     The winter season is not short, and let's face it, not all training sessions are interesting and fly by quickly. Luckily, current technology allows us to diversify our training in various ways, so we don't have to worry about what to do, just what to use. The options are vast, starting from apps like Zwift, which take us into the virtual world of cycling and can keep us engaged for months with numerous events, gamification elements, and challenges. Another option is, of course, TV shows and movies, but be careful as they can distract us significantly from our tasks and are suitable only for easy rides. Lastly, music, there's probably nothing better for VO2max intervals than a good motivational playlist. ?

  5. 5. Sweatbands, towels.

    These are essential accessories, especially if we sweat a lot. Also, take care of your equipment and, if possible, use two towels (one for the bike and one for wiping) or
    a special cover to prevent sweat from dripping onto crucial parts of your bike.

  1. 6. Anti-vibration mat.

     A great option for those living in apartments. Not long ago, it was often placed under washing machines to dampen vibrations during spinning. Now it works well under a trainer and calms down the frayed nerves of neighbors. In my case (when I had a magnetic trainer), it worked perfectly.

  2. 7. Hydration and nutrition.

    On the trainer, we usually lose a lot of fluids, so make sure to replenish them regularly. In my case, during a relaxed ride, a 750ml bottle lasts for an hour! Solid foods are also harder to consume in such conditions, so I prefer isotonic drinks based on vitargo and fruits.

  3. 8. Discomfort while sitting.

    The efficiency of the trainer comes from the fact that we practically rotate the pedals for 100% of the training time (which is not unusual when cycling outside, to finish a training session and realize that we spent several minutes with zero cadence, meaning we didn't pedal during that time!), we spend most of the time in our target position, we don't stop at traffic lights, etc. However, this often results in discomfort from sitting on the saddle. Of course, we should start by checking if the saddle we have is really suitable for us (if we don't have knowledge in this area, it's worth consulting a fitter). Assuming we have the right saddle, and yet there are abrasions and irritations, I recommend using creams like sudocrem and a little trick that literally, more than once, saved my behind. I mean using a running shirt or a buff outside of the cycling shorts like a diaper. It significantly increases our comfort, especially in critical situations.



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