Power on the Trainer - how can you use it?

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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AJS914
Posts: 1753
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

A "smart" trainer is coming my way to aid in the winter training program. I realize that a Smart trainer has a built-in power meter. How can I use that feature to train better/smarter this winter?

I don't have power on the bike yet and I'm not sure I can justify the cost.

I'm imagining that I can use it to test myself, for example, on things like FTP.

Should I just purchase something like a TrainerRoad subscription and follow along? I'm planning on trying Zwift.

by Weenie


AlphaDogCycling
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Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:57 pm

by AlphaDogCycling

If you don't have a Training plan, then TrainerRoad is a great options as it has plans that come with it that should cover pretty much everyone. Good luck


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boysa
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Location: Back in the saddle...

by boysa

Do you race? Do you want to race? Do you want to improve? If so, the cost is worth every penny. Nothing you can spend your money on, IMHO, will help your training more than a powermeter on the bike. Hiring a coach would be runner-up.

As for the trainer, it can certainly be utilized for a wonderful winter of fun! Ok, maybe not fun, but definitely for a solid training period. Without knowing your status/goals, however, it is virtually impossible to pass along any advice.
"Deserve's got nothing to do with it." William Munny

AJS914
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Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

My goals are a bit open right now.

Background: 50 years old. I've been road riding in a serious way since 14 years old. I have 8 years of racing under my belt. The last few years I've only been able to ride 2000 miles per year because of work but I've been consistent.

I've had a life change where I'm not working right now and don't have to work full time for the next few years or maybe never again so I have time, lots of time.

My immediate goal is to ride a lot and get in the best shape I can get into. Because of my racing background I still approach riding like training. Even when I was only doing 2000 miles per year I was doing intervals twice a week and getting pretty fit for such a low volume.

I bought the new trainer because I recently moved from California to Spokane, WA where we are set to have a tough winter. It's rained 5 inches just in October (50 year record).

My secondary goal may be to race next year or the year after depending on fitness. I don't think I will want to race crits again but I might be attracted to a granfondo, gravel grinder race, cyclocross or something off road.

Anyway, I didn't mean for this topic to be about me so much - just more of what I can technically do with the built-in power meter on the new smart trainer.
Last edited by AJS914 on Wed Nov 02, 2016 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

11.4
Posts: 1097
Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 4:33 am

by 11.4

Then it depends on how you want to train for these events. You aren't pursuing the fastest or most stressful events, or I would suggest that you need to focus on hard intervals, where hard is defined by your power meter and the kind of wattage you need to produce to be competitive -- let the power meter set the standard, not you. However, for many of these events you don't have to train with that kind of rigor, especially with more time on your hands. So it really depends on how you want to go about it. Hard intervals? Define the intervals, calculate the wattage, set it into the trainer, and go do it. You may die the first few times. You'll get better. That's what it's about.

If you just want to get a measured hard workout, using the trainer to egg you on, you just figure out your own performance and then step it up with a schedule of intervals, long and short, that build you up to the next level, Then repeat. It's fundamentally the same exercise, just the pain level is less.

Do you need Zwift or TrainerRoad? Up to you. They make trainer workouts more distracting, less focused on the pain in your legs and lungs. However, depending on your events, you may want to be focusing on that pain so you can cope with it in events. Especially if it's shorter duration, higher intensity, it's hard to do if you're watching the tube and distracted by anything but your legs. Ultimately it's a personal decision -- can you concentrate on the pain or do you need to take it easier and have something to distract you? For the events you describe, you can go either way, depending on how you train best.

AJS914
Posts: 1753
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

Mostly I find trainer workouts boring. In my racing days, I kept them short and sweet - 10 minute warm up - 20 to 30 minutes of 1 minute intervals and then a 10 warm down. I'd do two sessions like a week. If I could motivate myself I'd do a 3rd session during the week of just riding, watching a Tour de France tape or something. It would get me through a California winter with doing long group rides on the weekend.

My Washington state winter this year is going to be much longer, colder, wetter, and snowier. I'm going to try Zwift and Trainer Road and see what they do for me. I'm hoping they can help me put in more trainer time when needed.

And since I'm facing a cold, wet, snowy Dec-Jan-Feb I've also been thinking of joining a gym and putting in some serious weight work. I'm going to jump on some cross country skis if we get a lot of snow and go do laps around the park. I have time to do it all.

bungis
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Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:59 pm

by bungis

I wonder if you can transfer TrainerRoad workouts to Zwift workouts.

yinya
Posts: 94
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 9:06 pm

by yinya

You can recreate them manually in Zwift


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TonyM
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:11 pm

by TonyM

AJS914 wrote:A "smart" trainer is coming my way to aid in the winter training program. I realize that a Smart trainer has a built-in power meter. How can I use that feature to train better/smarter this winter?

I don't have power on the bike yet and I'm not sure I can justify the cost.

I'm imagining that I can use it to test myself, for example, on things like FTP.

Should I just purchase something like a TrainerRoad subscription and follow along? I'm planning on trying Zwift.


I had the same question as I bought a fews weeks ago a smart trainer (Tacx Neo) with power.
I tried several platforms like swift, Bkool, Fuelgaz, TrainerRoad and I stay now with TrainerRoad and train depending on the power (vs. heart rate 25 years ago).

Meanwhile I have also installed a power meter on my bikes as I really like this measurement.
Surely not that cheap but really better than only the heart rate I used 25 years ago as I was racing.

Among the riders I know, the vast majority really love Swift (I don't; at least with the current version; it is just too "gaming" for me)

kulivontot
Posts: 1170
Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 7:28 pm

by kulivontot

Read any of the power threads and any of the power "bibles" by Andrew Coggan or Joe Friel and you'll get a feel for how many to use it.
Unfortunately a lot of the tools out there does a very poor job of combining statistics from full power instrumented rides and any other type of activity. So a lot of the stress tracking stuff you'll either need to track manually for non power rides or just ignore that aspect overall.
tl;dr
Do set intervals on the trainer (2 20 minute sets for example) and see what your high score on wattage is week after week.

11.4
Posts: 1097
Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 4:33 am

by 11.4

I find that many if not most riders use a smart trainer in one of two ways. First, they, pair it with TrainerRoad, Zwift, or a similar app and the smart trainer basically facilitates entertainment to keep you on the bike. Not a horrible result, but it doesn't necessarily play to the potential of the device. Second, they use the basic controls (and their relative accuracy) to do higher intensity workouts but without any extensive programming or analytics. It's important to recognize that a road bike power meter will respond to your road workout and provide you with an extensive analytic of what you're actually doing under varying conditions. A trainer power meter works differently -- it can let you set a specific workout level and you just do that. If you talk to many of the reviewers of the Kickr, for example, you over and over hear that they most love to set the Kickr to Erg mode and simply set a power level and ride to it. Again, it underutilizes the potential of the trainer.

There's plenty of opportunity to do more, but riders often want to do the workout, not the analytics. It's worth figuring out just how much you really want to do (and keep doing for a few years) before you decide which device to get.

joec
Posts: 100
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:20 pm

by joec

yep Intervals,

without knowing how fit/poweful you are, I would say just get on it and ride to start with, mainly to sort out bugs like catching sweat, sorting fan position, you might even want to change your bike setup for the trainer to stay comfortable. once your happy with that start looking to get a base line to work from.

start of winter I tend to start with 10 min on 3 min off intervals, start at a target heart rate, for me thats 170bpm, see what power that gives you over three intervals then go from there. work up to 12 min, 14 min 15 min etc to 2x20 min. I find the 2x20 a really good structure for an hour sh work out, eg 10 min warmup, 20 min hard, 5 min easy 20min hard and 15 min cool down, or maybe 5 min easy, 5 min sprint 10 min cooldown depending how i'm feeling.

I'm sometimes flexible on the intervals depending how i feel, so sometimes 3x 20 and make it a 1:30 workout, or if I'm not feeling it 3x15's or somthing. depends what other stuff Ive been doing, but generally I set a strava training stress number to hit. the main thing is to keep the power pretty solid throughout the interval thats what gives a quality workout IMO.

livio livius
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2007 9:32 pm

by livio livius

Take one of the TrainerRoad trainingplans and hit the road. Also TrainerRoad provides a lot of info how to use power(meters) / indoortrainers.

gaappa
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Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:28 pm

by gaappa

Elite My-E-Training App
Available for iOS and Android Smartphones and tablets, manages an interactive, challenging and exciting indoor training experience.Compatible with ANT and Bluetooth Smart sensors. My E-Training displays and manages power, cadence, heart rate, speed, time and distance data. Train with Elite RealVideos and download hundreds of user-created free My RealVideo races.

by Weenie


xrs2
Posts: 228
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:46 am

by xrs2

Trainer Road has to be the best bargain in athletic training period. I am 100% in love, and its quantitative impact on my ability as a cyclist (at least in terms of power output) has been dramatic. Best thing I've ever done for my training.

The only problem is that now I'm worried about losing fitness when I start to train outdoors again!

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