Trainer Set Up: Wheel Height
While many cyclists dread the indoor training season, ensuring proper bike set up will make any workout more comfortable and enjoyable. A trainer elevates the back of the bike upwards a couple of inches. In order to ensure a comfortable position, make sure the bike is level. Lift your front wheel using a riser block to make up the height difference. This will ensure a more comfortable feel when riding the bike along with alleviating some of the pressure from the change in position. You can also elevate the front wheel to get an additional training effect. Lift the front wheel 4-6 inches to simulate a climb.
Trainer Set Up: TV Placement
Indoor training can sometimes get monotonous and using a TV to supplement your workouts will take away some of that monotony. You can also use the TV to view some of your favorite workout videos. While setting up your bike is important, proper TV placement is equally important to ensure comfort and prevent any soreness or kinks in your neck. Set the TV at a spot consistent to where you would be looking when you are in a normal cycling position. This may involve lowering the TV from the current position. Also, keep the remote with you to prevent any disruptions during the workout.
Trainer Set Up: Cooling
While riding indoors, maintaining your core temperature is very important to prevent overheating and dehydration. Riding outdoors allows the wind to evaporate sweat, which acts as a natural cooling system. When you are indoors, you still sweat and your body no longer has the benefits of natural wind and airflow to help evaporate the wetness and cool you down. Setting a fan up for your workouts is a great way to compensate for the lack of airflow with indoor riding while providing additional cooling. Place the fan in front and off to the side of you. This will help prevent your from sweating too much and prevent dehydration.
Fueling During Exercise
As with hydration, fueling your body before, during and after workouts is as important during indoor training as it is with outdoor training. Three to four hours prior to your workout, you should take in 1.5-2.25 grams of carbohydrate/kilogram body weight. This means a 73 kg (161 lbs) person should consume 110-165 grams of carbohydrate. In terms of calories, this would be 440-660 calories. During your workout, you should be consuming 30-60 grams carbohydrate per hour. The exact amount depends on your body weight, the intensity of the exercise, and how long you are going to be working out. Smaller people and those working out at low intensity would be nearer to 30 grams, while larger people, or any size person working out very intensely, would be nearer the 60-gram level.
The trainer is a great place to get a recovery ride in when conditions outside are less than favorable or nearby terrain does not accommodate an easy recovery ride. Active recovery is great for the day after a race or after a tough block of training, as it helps facilitate the recovery process by increasing blood and nutrient flow to the muscles and reducing soreness. A recovery ride should be done at a low intensity (you should be able to talk comfortably) with a cadence between 80-90 rpms. The ride can last anywhere between 30-120 minutes depending on your level of development, as well as the volume and intensity of your training/racing.
There are two ways to ride faster- pedal faster or pedal harder. This workout will emphasize the pedaling faster part. It is best done with the CycleOps Mag Trainer but can be adapted for the Fluid² or the Wind model as well. The emphasis of this work out is not heart rate or power but leg speed so you will need a cycle computer that measures cadence or you will need to count every downstroke for 15 seconds and then multiply by four to check your cadence.
Begin with a 10 to 15 minute warm up by steadily increasing your pace until you feel like you're working at a moderate level. Shift into an easier gear such as a 39-16 or 42-17 and hold 100 rpm's for 5 minutes. Recover for 1 to 4 minutes and repeat but this time use one gear easier (39-17 or 42-19) and hold 110 for 5 minutes. Then recover again and go another gear easier with a cadence of 115.
You may find this is too easy in which case you could start out in a harder gear such as a 39-15 or 42-16 or start at a cadence of 110. Usually 5 increases will be sufficient for the first set. Then take 5-10 minutes of easy spinning and repeat the first set. You may also do 5 straight sets at 110 or 115. To make the workout more challenging you could sprint at the end of each 5 minute segment for 15-20 seconds in the same gear you did the work interval in.
Be sure to do a 10 minute cool down after the workout. CycleOps offers two videos as well, one comes in every trainer box but there is another video called "Speed and Technique" that takes you through a leg speed workout.
There are all sorts of intervals out there and the important thing to keep in mind is that you do some sort of high intensity workout at least once a week. The idea is that you split up a big workload such as a 25 mile Time Trial into smaller segments such as 5 efforts of 5 miles with a mile in between efforts. This way you gradually decrease recovery or increase the length of the interval so that you teach your body to handle a greater intensity for longer. The exact workout is not that important but should consist of some combination of the following:
-3 to 8 efforts ranging from 2 to 8 minutes in duration
-Recovery between efforts should not be longer than the work interval but not shorter than a minute.
-High intensity (labored breathing and a burning feeling in the legs)
-A good warm up and cool down
-Cadence between 90 and 110, you may choose to do some strength building efforts that will put cadence around 50 to 60. These efforts are usually longer in duration (10 minutes) and should not be performed if you have bad knees.
Riding at a moderate pace (usually Zone 3 in most heart rate zones) is a good way to increase overall fitness. It usually means doing a short warm up and then maintaining the pace where you are challenged to speak in complete sentences but your legs aren't filling up with lactic acid. You should be able to maintain this pace from 30 to 120 minutes.
There really isn't much to say about endurance riding. As the name implies it's just about riding your bike for extended periods of time.
Usually going for long rides to increase endurance is fun, especially when the weather is nice and you have some riding companions. But, when the weather turns and you have to do some long workouts on the trainer it can get boring. To spice things up a bit you may want to throw in some easy high cadence sprints. A must is to set up a TV and VCR in front of the trainer and watch your favorite movie or Tour de France Videos. Other tricks are to set up an "indoor group ride," have your normal riding partners come over and you can all ride in the basement together.