Thursday, February 3, 2011

Getting Intimate With Your Trainer

With so much of the U.S. under snow and ice, it's safe to say it's not safe to exercise outdoors.  I've heard several tales this week of runners who attempted to do so, slipped on ice, and injured themselves.  While mountain biking in the snow is an absolute blast, any kind of cycling (especially road cycling) is extremely dangerous on solid sheets of ice.  So, here we are left with no choice but to pull out the indoor torture devices trainers.

A cycling trainer holds a special place in Hell well beyond that of a treadmill (or "dreadmill" as my sister calls it).  Oddly enough, runners seem to harbor more hatred of their devices.  Seriously, here's the proof --- Runners vs Cyclists.  The 2 devices have some similarities of course.  Both get frequent complaints regarding noise, boredom, stagnant position, pools of sweat, and more.  Some have simple yet not always practical solutions.  Too noisy?  Buy a better trainer or smooth out your stride.  Pools of sweat?  Put a fan in front of you and keep more towels handy.  Boredom?  Ah, now here's an area we can address.  There are 4 basic solutions and most can be combined.

1) Music - Put on some of your favorite tunes whether on ear buds or cranked up on your home stereo.  One catch here, if you're one of those who exercises outdoors with music then this isn't likely to add any extra zing to your workout.  Personally, I'm 100% against using MP3 players while cycling outdoors (a subject for another time) so added music indoors helps.

2) Interval workouts - Indoors is perfect for mixing up your training routine with various interval workouts.  The consistency provided by a treadmill or trainer gives you the ideal scenario for comparing data and tracking performance gains.  The regular shifts in intensity that define an interval also give you shorter term focus which helps the time pass.

3) Videos - Set up in front of a TV, computer, portable DVD, whatever.  If you're just getting some miles in then any type of programming will do.  Comedies are great as they keep you loose and on the happy end of the spectrum.  You can even throw down a harder effort everytime it goes to commercial to spice things up.  If you're upping the intensity then I prefer more "athletic" programming.  If you happen to get NBC Universal Sports then flip there (great channel for endurance sports).  For cyclists, there's a myriad of options.  The most popular are DVD's from Real RidesSpinervals, and The Sufferfest.  Most of these have their own interval workouts as part of the video but no-one says you have to do exactly what they're doing.  Simply watching other cyclists going hard and suffering can be all the motivation you need.

4) Join others - For runners, the only option here is to meet up at the gym.  Cyclists can do the same with various spin classes.  Just make sure the class fits with your training schedule.  Thanks to the portability of indoor cycling trainers, cyclists also have the option of meeting up at someones house for a friendly (or competitive) customized workout session.  Share the suffering.  You'll feel better about it!

1 comment:

Tri4Successmom said...

You know I LOVE to HATE the trainer! I will be there tonight with Single Leg either before or after my run! Yea!