Constant Sorrow: The Indoor Trainer

Most of my training is indoors right now. This is more a function of the type of workouts Coach Rob has inflicted on me at the moment than a weather factor, since I can ride all year round here.

cycleops_fluid2_12_zThe last two days’ rides – called ‘Killer Hard’ and ‘World of Hell’, respectively – lived up to their names and I have, in turn, re-learned something from last season: the indoor trainer does a number on my osteo-arthritic knee when I push too much.

The same thing can happen on the road, but because of the overall lighter (and far less consistent) rolling resistance on the open road, my knee can take a good, hard ride without much complaint usually.

This is a little unfortunate because these types of workouts are the ones that get me close to ‘the red’ and should, in theory, be pushing up my anaerobic threshold, thereby giving me a higher ‘top end’ and allowing me to work more in those upper zones of suffering.

It’s not a big worry, to be honest. I’m just happy I can ride hard, thanks to the miracle of modern medicine (and fish oil!). But I’m curious: are there any others out there who find that the constant sorrow of the trainer gives you any grief?

19 thoughts on “Constant Sorrow: The Indoor Trainer

  1. Hmm, i hate indoors alone. Did some group spinning two winters ago. Now i prefer cyclocross with friends. Pushes. Not as ‘clinical’ as on a Trainer, but more fun

    • I actually like the fact I can just put on my bibs and shoes and train without dressing up in 4 layers 6 days a week. Also a great way to catch up on my pro race viewing.

  2. Hi Gerry, I may be one of the rare ones but I actually don’t mind indoor training. My goal was to go ‘scientific’ this winter and follow a plan. My heart rate was always high when out on rides mostly due to lack of training, so for the last 2 months I’ve been on a spin bike at the gym, following a plan and laying a base in primarily zone 1 and 2. I am actually using a metronome on my iPhone for various rpms from 60 to 125+. And has it worked? I went out for my first outdoor ride this year on Tuesday and because of the hills it is hard to just be in zone 1 or 2, but my average heart rate was down to 149bpm over 51km and 939meters of climbing. For me that was a huge improvement as previous rides at similar speed but far less climbing would have had me at 161 average. Still a lot of room for improvement but the indoor training has helped keep me in the lower zones and although initially my thoughts were “this workout is doing nothing” you soon feel the improvements and the pain even in zones 1 and 2. I also got out for an easier ride yesterday(thursday), 53km ride and only 637meters climb, same HR but more speed. So, if you are following some sort of plan and there is variety in the rpms and zones, then indoor training can actually be beneficial, not at all boring and almost meditative in the lower zones.

    • I don’t mind it either, to be honest. Like you, I find it lays a nice base to work from when the good weather and longer days call you outside. By the way, those climbing numbers are pretty impressive. Not hard to tell you live in Switzerland! i’d be hard pressed to find a 50 km route around here that has nearly 1000 meters of ‘up’.

  3. It used to, but not any more. I never ride longer than two hours, and I find that when I remind myself that each interval really is short, I know it’s just not a big deal. I’m learning to enjoy them, because I can feel how they are revealing my weakness, and helping prepare myself for the suffering that will come as a result of others’ will. I can attest though, that too much sitting will mangle my left hamstring if I let it. Stretching every night is key, and that goes for the whole season.

    • Yeah, I think for me it’s the extreme grind, so in the 50/13 or 14. It’s the same thing on big, nasty mountains, but somehow not as painful as the trainer is.

  4. I am not scientific at all in my approach to indoor training, with my goal each ride to ride harder than the previous time on the same circuit. That bring said, I am itching to get outside again. Here in Montreal we are finally starting to see the tarmac again and I may be able to ride to work as early as next Tuesday. You can bet I’ll write about it when it happens.

    • Looking forward to it, James. I kind of like the break from outdoor riding, but I still do weekend rides outside through most of the year, so I don’t get too many pangs of separation. I remember March in Quebec, by the way, and I’d be impressed if you start doing that commute!

  5. Te pain inflected on these indoor workouts is a fraction of what we’ll be experiencing in Haute Route this summer. So all I can say is re-read rule #5.

Leave a Reply to Gerry Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s