I recently finished the Tour of Sufferlandria which worked in conjunction with a pretty cool application called TrainerRoad. Now that I am starting down the road to Ironman Boulder, I wanted to talk about how useful TrainerRoad can be to your indoor cycling training.
The way TrainerRoad works is it uses the Ant stick that can talk to your Ant enabled bike devices. I use it with my Garmin speed/cadence sensor and heart rate strap. It will work with a variety of other Ant enable devices like a power meter if you have one. I don’t have a power meter so that is where TrainerRoad really does its magic. TrainerRoad will use the data it gets from your devices coupled with the type of bike trainer you are using and give you virtual power. Then, you can use one of the workouts in TrainerRoad to find your FTP (functional threshold power) and use that as the basis for all your workouts. It may sound complicated but it is really quite easy.
Now one of the reasons TrainerRoad works so great for training is because power is so much easier to train to instead of HR. Specifically, you can train immediately to power whereas heart rate is a lagging indicator. If you are doing short efforts at prescribed intensity levels, you can see the power output long before you can see the effort reflected in the heart rate data.
You can see above that my HR doesn’t peak until well after I have done my 30 second interval. This was all achieved using TrainerRoad without a power meter. While you are riding TrainerRoad will display what percentage of your FTP you are riding. This way, if you coach tells you what zone to be in, you can easily use TrainerRoad to ride to the correct effort level. You can find information about training zones just about anywhere. Below is the information I found on Joe Friel’s blog regarding zones.
Zone 1 <55% (active recovery)
Zone 2 56-75% of FTP (endurance)
Zone 3 76-90% of FTP (tempo)
Zone 4 91-105% of FTP (lactate threshold)
Zone 5 106-120% of FTP (VO2max)
Zone 6 121-150% of FTP (anaerobic capacity)
Zone 7 >150% of FTP (neuromuscular power)
TrianerRoad is a very cost effective way to use power if you don’t have a power meter. It costs $10/month or $99/year. They have a variety of workouts as well as amazing integration with Sufferfest workouts. TrainerRoad will make your time spent on a bike trainer more effective then training to rate of perceived exertion alone. If you have to use a trainer, you might as well do it right!
Back in January I started using TrainerRoad for all my cycling training workouts. If you are unfamiliar with TrainerRoad you should click here to visit their website and here to read Stuart’s post about how to set it up. It is a great service and if you do any indoor cycling training it is totally worth it! In Janury before I did the Tour of Sufferlandria I did an FTP test using Trainer Road and The Sufferfest video, Rubber Glove. Your FTP is your Functional Threshold Power/Performance, the maximum sustained effort you can maintain for over an hour (click here for some great info from The Sufferfest on FTP and using Rubber Glove). The more fit you are the higher the number is. TrainerRoad uses my Garmin data to give me virtual power. If you have a power meter you would use that (I don’t have one yet but I am thing that it might be REALLY nice to get one for Ironman Arizona). Anyway, I needed to test my FTP because my rides on TrainerRoad have been feeling a little easy lately and it has been about 6 weeks since I tested last. Result, I am getting fitter! My FTP went up 15 watts and my LTHR (the HR I am at when I am at my lactate threshold) went down!!! (see TrainerRoad data here) I am really pleased with my training right now. I have made improvements in all three disciplines! Things are going well!
Now I would like to share my love of TrainerRoad with you. Because I am a TrainerRoad Ambassador I have month trial of TrainerRoad to give away. If you would like this I need you to do a couple of things. You get an entry for each one.
- Like TrainerRoad on their Facebook page
- Tweet the following “I want to win a month of @TrainerRoad from @TriBeccaTO blog tribeccato.wordpress.com!”
- Leave a comment on my blog telling me you did all three
It is just that easy!
I have recently started working with a coach and I am very excited about it; and now that I have adopted TrainerRoad I am eager to see how I can combine both things to get the most out of my training. This morning was my first ride from my coach. I used the 60 min free ride in TrainerRoad to capture it. See image below and the details here.
What I liked about using the free ride option in TrainerRoad was as I was doing the prescribed workout from my coach, I could see what % of my FTP I was working at. Once I was done with my workout I got a great graph that shows all aspects of the ride in a perfect summary. Easy to use and pretty effective!
You may have seen some extra chatter from me lately about Trainer Road, a great product you can use with your existing trainer set up to get more focused training out of your time. Well all my enthusiasm has landed me an Ambassador spot! (more to follow on that) I was a late adopter of this software and have really thrown myself into it over the last 7 days because of the Tour of Sufferlandria. Now I can see the error of my ways! Just look at the picture below. That is the same ride on the same trainer done 9 days apart. I put a line on both graphs at 16 mph to show you the difference in intensity. If you want success on your trainer, you really need to use Trainer Road.
How can that not inspire you to kick your own a$$?!
I have had to use a bike trainer to get my cycling training in for a few years. I was turned on to a set of training videos a couple of years ago and they have been an absolute blessing (and a curse). The Sufferfest videos are an amazing set of training videos that use real cycling footage, expertly developed workouts, and amazingly entertaining stories to get you through some pretty gnarly trainer time. They are pure genius! Some I love (Hell Hath No Fury, A Very Dark Place, #ISLAGIATT, and There Is No Try) and some I am not a fan of (they are so damn hard!). If you have to use a bike trainer you must check out these videos.
My amazing Husband getting it done in our pain cave.
My turn to work!
This weekend I finally completed the last piece of perfecting my home pain cave for bike training. I re-enrolled in Trainer Road. I had used it briefly about 2 years ago but just found all the set up a bit cumbersome. I was space and equipment challenged at that time but now I have a better bike training set up. The awesome thing about Trainer Road is they translate your speed/cadence/HR data into power in real time. You can use the software to find your FTP and then all your workouts are based off of that! There are tons of good workouts to choose from in their library BUT they also integrate with the Sufferfest videos. PERFECTION!
The Trainer Road profile from The Sufferfest’s Revolver
Sufferfest and Trainer Road have paired up and this weekend we started the Tour of Sufferlandria. Along with 2200 other riders we are using the Sufferfest videos and Trainer Road to complete 9 days of suffering riding together across the world! It has been epic to say the least.
If you use a bike training to do any in home training I HIGHLY suggest you look at these two products. Both are very affordable and well worth your time.