Indoor Training: How effective is it?

GJM
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Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby GJM » Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:31 am

Last winter was my first go at indoor training. I thought it did a pretty good job of maintaining ride fitness but, when it came to hit the outdoor road again in earnest, I was probably a bit disappointed with where I was at. i.e. it made me wonder exactly how effective indoor training really is, regardless of how excruciating it felt as I was doing it. I was of course a novice at indoor training and in hindsight, maybe I wasn't doing the right intervals for the riding I had planned.

This year, even though it's still summer, I've committed to the indoor trainer again. I'm doing different types of intervals and I feel like I know what I'm doing more; I feel like it's working more. That said, I'm also doing lots of kms out on the road proper, so maybe that's it.

So to the more experienced indoor trainer users: let's just imagine that you get your mix of intervals and power parameters exactly right, how effective is indoor training? Could someone train for a major event on the indoor trainer only and make it work?

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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby g-boaf » Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:34 am

It can be very effective, as long as you do it the right way. Two or three times a week is enough, mix it up with real rides - 3-5 hours.

You have to do those outdoors, you can never spend 3-5 hours on a trainer in one go. Maybe some people can, but I won't. :roll:

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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby you cannot be sirrus » Sat Feb 13, 2016 7:17 pm

Dunno, my stationery trainer is outside :)
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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby ft_critical » Sat Feb 13, 2016 9:33 pm

g-boaf wrote:It can be very effective, as long as you do it the right way. Two or three times a week is enough, mix it up with real rides - 3-5 hours.

You have to do those outdoors, you can never spend 3-5 hours on a trainer in one go. Maybe some people can, but I won't. :roll:



This is my experience also, you can't just do indoor HIT sessions, you need the longer rides on the road.

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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby 3DKiwi » Sun Feb 14, 2016 5:46 pm

Ditto, indoor training can be very effective provided you do the right workouts, otherwise you can end doing junk miles just as you can outside. I do a lot of my workouts on an indoor trainer following the Trainerroad plans and training with power. Longer rides and low intensity rides I do outside. I find intervals are best done on a indoor trainer and in conjunction with Trainerroad using their power profiles.

Cooling is the major issue using a trainer in summer. I do my workouts usually early in the morning and have 3 fans on me.

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Alex Simmons/RST
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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Sun Feb 14, 2016 8:50 pm

GJM wrote:So to the more experienced indoor trainer users: let's just imagine that you get your mix of intervals and power parameters exactly right, how effective is indoor training? Could someone train for a major event on the indoor trainer only and make it work?

Yes but it's mostly a mental game. I've coached riders that will readily do 15-18 hour weeks on an indoor trainer for months at a time and flatten their opposition come race season. When you are snowed in for months, it's what you do if you have the desire to push your ability to the limits. You also need good equipment.

YMMV

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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby Derny Driver » Sun Feb 14, 2016 9:12 pm

If you know what you are doing, it can be highly effective.
But as Alex says, not many people have
* the mental ability
*the knowledge of how to structure the workouts
*the right equipment

Triathletes may be interested to know that a certain world level age group triathlete (initials MM) does 100% of his training indoors. And he will go top 5 in any elite race on any day, even though his running is compromised due to injuries. His swim (hes a swim coach) and his incredible bike riding ensures he wins or is right up there. On race day he draws on years of bike riding to actually ride and pace himself, as he does NO road riding at all. He has 5 kids.

It can be done. But not with some TrainerRoad program and a fluid trainer.

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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby JdM » Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:42 am

Derny Driver wrote:If you know what you are doing, it can be highly effective.
But as Alex says, not many people have
* the mental ability
*the knowledge of how to structure the workouts
*the right equipment


I think this sums it up well - I'm still working these three things out myself, but I certainly can't get in a 'quality' threshold interval workout within 90 mins before work during the week on the road due to the constraints of my location and suitable roads. I suspect this is a problem for many of us weekend warriors living in the city.

Derny Driver wrote:Triathletes may be interested to know that a certain world level age group triathlete (initials MM) does 100% of his training indoors. And he will go top 5 in any elite race on any day, even though his running is compromised due to injuries. His swim (hes a swim coach) and his incredible bike riding ensures he wins or is right up there. On race day he draws on years of bike riding to actually ride and pace himself, as he does NO road riding at all. He has 5 kids.


Cody Beals, who is a second year pro triathlete (70.3 distance at the moment) posted about this late last year, a very similar sort of situation to what DD has posted above, an interesting read: http://www.codybeals.com/2015/11/how-to ... ike-a-pro/
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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby GJM » Mon Feb 15, 2016 1:18 pm

Fantastic replies, thank you very much.
Planning on taking a fair crack at it over the next 6 months.

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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:17 pm

GJM wrote:Fantastic replies, thank you very much.
Planning on taking a fair crack at it over the next 6 months.

A small tip/suggestion... (and obviously it depends on your personality traits)

When you do an indoor session and expect to do a lot more of them in the weeks and months ahead, then do a little less to begin with than you might think you need to, and gradually introduce ways to make the experience one you look forward to rather than dread. Better to get off early thinking that you want to do it again tomorrow, than get off feeling like that was so mind numbingly boring you are wondering how on earth you'll do another and make finding excuses easy.

It's very common for people's enthusiasm for indoor work to last a couple of weeks and then peter out. Making it a sustainable part of your training diet is quite a challenge and that should be your priority over and above what specific types of efforts you do. Prove you have the desire to keep doing it over a longer time frame, then you can start to play with the training mix. What mentally enables you to do that will be unique to you though - and there are many mental aids. The conundrum at times of course is that sometimes the type of efforts you do can also contribute to your desire or lack of it to continue.

Some people learn to love their trainer, and in fact enjoy it more than riding outside.

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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby zill » Mon Feb 15, 2016 3:40 pm

Derny Driver wrote:If you know what you are doing, it can be highly effective.
But as Alex says, not many people have
* the mental ability
*the knowledge of how to structure the workouts
*the right equipment

Triathletes may be interested to know that a certain world level age group triathlete (initials MM) does 100% of his training indoors. And he will go top 5 in any elite race on any day, even though his running is compromised due to injuries. His swim (hes a swim coach) and his incredible bike riding ensures he wins or is right up there. On race day he draws on years of bike riding to actually ride and pace himself, as he does NO road riding at all. He has 5 kids.

It can be done. But not with some TrainerRoad program and a fluid trainer.



What is wrong with a fluid trainer?

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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby zill » Mon Feb 15, 2016 3:44 pm

ft_critical wrote:
g-boaf wrote:It can be very effective, as long as you do it the right way. Two or three times a week is enough, mix it up with real rides - 3-5 hours.

You have to do those outdoors, you can never spend 3-5 hours on a trainer in one go. Maybe some people can, but I won't. :roll:



This is my experience also, you can't just do indoor HIT sessions, you need the longer rides on the road.


Can the longer ride be broken into two parts in a day with say 2 hours of rest in between? Assuming I'm not looking to compete in road races or grand fondo.

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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby g-boaf » Mon Feb 15, 2016 9:21 pm

Why would you do that?

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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby zill » Tue Feb 16, 2016 12:14 pm

g-boaf wrote:Why would you do that?


Time constraints.

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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby g-boaf » Tue Feb 16, 2016 12:38 pm

That defeats the purpose of doing those rides. Do the whole 4-5 hours in one go.

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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby Hugor » Wed Feb 17, 2016 10:46 am

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:Some people learn to love their trainer, and in fact enjoy it more than riding outside.


I'm one of those. I frequently finish real life group rides feeling underdone. Perhaps I'm not riding with the right people or long enough etc.
Its very unusual for me to be underdone even after an hour on my trainer.
I can push myself to far greater levels of pain than I can safely do outdoors.
For the time poor a trainer is a necessity in my opinion.

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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby thearthurdog » Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:06 am

For me, indoor training is the magic bullet. With the correct set up and workouts (as stated) you can make some serious gains.
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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby Paul B » Mon May 09, 2016 8:18 pm

I bought a Wahoo Snap a couple of weeks back and started using Zwift. It's wet and winter here in Hobart and to be honest, I don't see myself getting outside much for the next few months & will happily train inside. I was averaging over 300 kms a week on the road and that is now over 400 since getting the trainer. Last night is a perfect example. Got on the trainer at 7.00pm and did a 4.5hour 165km Zwift ride. No breaks just pedaling, fairly high intensity at times... Love it.
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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby Karati » Thu Jun 09, 2016 3:00 pm

I'm trying to work on the trainer a lot lately due to weather and work commitments. I have noticed that I just don't have the endurance that I used to though. First hour, smashing it, second hour really struggling.

Last year when I could train outdoors I didn't have this issue and had been on track to racing open b grade...now getting dropped on group rides!

Hopefully I might get back to more road time in the next few weeks but I had the feeling that the trainer was a better quality workout so I'd rather make it work.

Has anyone had a similar situation?

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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby g-boaf » Thu Jun 09, 2016 9:45 pm

On a fast bunch ride you have no option but to smash yourself.

On a trainer it is too easy to throw in the proverbial towel. Also on a trainer, watch the calibration. That's important, otherwise your workout might be too easy.

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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby Karati » Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:36 pm

Well after a bit of research and a bit of testing I have come to the conclusion that my issues stemmed from poor nutrition more than anything.

Although I'm no longer doing the volume I was previously the trainer is definately helping in focused triaining rather than junk miles out on the road so you don't need the same duration. Definately have to back it up with a decent ride on the weekend though where possible.

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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby trailgumby » Thu Jun 16, 2016 10:58 pm

g-boaf wrote:On a fast bunch ride you have no option but to smash yourself.

On a trainer it is too easy to throw in the proverbial towel. Also on a trainer, watch the calibration. That's important, otherwise your workout might be too easy.


This^^^. I have never been able to match the power curves I achieve out on the road with trainer sessions, nor do I get close to the Training Stress Score. Even with the Big-Ass Fan blowing a gale in the garage.

I think having to navigate and remain aware of surroundings takes your mind off the suffering, and hanging onto the back of a faster bunch provides some extra motivation.

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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby g-boaf » Fri Jun 17, 2016 9:15 am

At the same time, I know a few people who purposely did a heap of quite long trainer sessions in quite warm/humid conditions. When it came time for their races, they did very, very well. And now headed overseas.

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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby trailgumby » Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:01 pm

g-boaf wrote:At the same time, I know a few people who purposely did a heap of quite long trainer sessions in quite warm/humid conditions. When it came time for their races, they did very, very well. And now headed overseas.

Sounds like Heat Training.

Apparently it stresses the body in a way that produces adaptations similar to altitude training, and is used by some of the AFL clubs in Adelaide. It carries some risks - as you would expect - that need to be managed.

Perhaps Alex may care to weigh in on the state of the science around this?

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Re: Indoor Training: How effective is it?

Postby GJM » Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:25 am

Fair to say that I've taken to indoor training like a duck to water since starting this thread. I'm pretty sure I know what I got wrong last winter and am happy with progress over the past few months. Very happy. I reckon I now know the limitations of indoor training but also the strengths. Will know for sure in the spring :)

The above suggestion that it's easier to slack off in an indoor ride versus a bunch ride is the opposite to my experience. I put in far better quality workouts on the indoor than I can/do out in the real world. The great thing about the indoor is that you are in absolute control. Nothing can get in the way. It's all up to you. I am a confirmed convert.

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