Structured cycling workouts
As a full time performance triathlon coach and performance Spin instructor for over 15years I have found the latest generation of trainers and Apps offer a fantastic and engaging way to make the most of what was often a rather dull but super effective training option.
One of the first ways a smart trainer and a really great App like RouvyAR can improve your training and fitness is allowing you to follow a programmed workout on screen, either one that’s pre-installed within the app or that you create yourself.
Within Rouvy, it’s possible to either use the workout builder to create structured training sessions to follow along with or use one of the many fantastic routes and use that as the base of your session, using your own set of intervals monitoring Power, Cadence and or HR as you ride along.
Having a workout that’s made up of different intensities, durations etc will help you not only target and develop particular systems or abilities, but also does a lot to help you keep engaged with your training.
Using “ERG mode”, a feature that’s only recently become available with the advent of smart trainers and bikes, takes the concept of structured training even further.
ERG mode is where the trainer/bike holds the given resistance and holds you to a certain power output, no matter what cadence you pedal at, meaning you don’t have to concentrate hard to stay at the right intensity.
This results in accurate, precise workouts that avoid all the obstructions like cars, traffic lights etc that can get in the way out in the real world.
More social interaction
In the past, indoor training was largely a lonely affair, where cyclists training inside would have to battle through their workouts alone. Now that trainers can be linked up to the Internet and the possibility of riding and racing others on real roads around the world turbo training has become a much more social affair.
There are numerous benefits to training in a more social, group setting too…
One of these is accountability. When you have a ride organised and there are other riders to hold you to account if you don’t show up, it makes getting on the bike a lot easier. This also helps foster training consistency, one of the keys too long term improvement.
Now, instead of watching the clock tick down, you can check out what other riders from around the world are up to and communicate to a fellow cyclist.
This can be a great way to find new like-minded people to ride with regularly too, in both a virtual and real-world setting if they happen to be close by.
Regular online racing
So Smart trainers have not only brought the ability to train effectively into your home, but also the opportunity to race and compete whenever you like for the first time too.
The IronmanVR series for instance enables athletes around the world to compete on real Ironman courses, not only useful in these times of restricted travel but also great to experience the route before you ride it for real. This last aspect cannot be overlooked nothing beats training on the actual course ahead of the event.
This Virtual racing can do wonders for your training, whether you’re pressed for time or wanting to maintain high intensity training throughout the winter. Racing against others will help you to push harder and stray much further from your comfort zone than a regular training session, and when incorporated into a balanced training plan, will help improve both your fitness and motivation.
With most new smart trainers and smart bikes like the Wahoo KICKR, Elite Direto, Tacx Neo, WattbikeAtom and WahooKickr Bike.
These modern units can offer up to 2000W off resistance, allowing you to perform even the shortest, most intense efforts without spinning out (i.e. running out of gears) or the rear wheel skipping around and losing power.
This helps you to perform better interval training (leading to bigger training adaptations), as well as the added benefit of saving you from buying new rear tyres on a regular basis, since the direct drive design does away with the friction-based method of older trainers. Even better with a smart bike wear you do not wear out any part of your bikes drivetrain.
Again, you can use ERG mode to pre-program these higher power intervals into your workouts and use the resistance of the trainer itself to overcome the need for a huge range of gears, meaning you do away with the need to shift up or down the cogs at all!
With smart turbo training still in a fairly early stage of development, it’ll be exciting to see what training advantages these units and software developments such as RouvyAR’s drafting will offer in both the long and shorter-term future.