Saturday, February 18, 2017

Embracing the Trainer



This is my 11th season as a Triathlete and my 2nd season "embracing" the trainer.  Every coach I have had, 4 in total, have given me trainer workouts and up until last year I politely declined refused to do them.  My reasoning justification was as follows

1 - I live in San Diego and (until this year with mega rain) can ride outside nearly every day so WHY sit on the trainer
2- I have a flexible work schedule and can ride outside most days
3- Anything you give me on the trainer, I can do outside ( or so I thought) 
4- I don't like the trainer- the main reason! 
5- I am doing reasonably well on the bike and thus don't "need " this form of punishment - okay so maybe it will help but NO
6- This is a hobby and I want to enjoy what I do and riding alone on the trainer is not fun

This was acceptable or my coaches did not want to enforce it for 9 years and for the 1st year of working with Mike.  But at the start of our 2nd year, the trainer became " if you want me to coach you, YOU WILL, ride the trainer as prescribed" So my husband (who has wanted me on the trainer for years) happily purchased the Wahoo Kickr.  I now had a "smart trainer" where I could control the watts and desired effort from an app on my iPhone.  I cannot say I liked it but it was 100% improvement over the old school trainer and then the Computrainer (with 1000 wires and took an engineer to connect each time) we once had.  I also moved it from the "pain cave" to the living room and we purchased a Smart TV so I could watch smutty Netflix shows to pass the time.  
At the start of this season the trainer got even better.... really it did - in 2 ways - see look at me now "liking" the trainer. 

1- TrainingPeaks workoutbuilder where I can upload the exact workout into TrainerRoad  and the tension adjusts automatically based on the workout.  IE:  10 min warm up at 130W, 5x 1:00 @230 W and the trainer adjusts the erg to 230 watts- so I just try to hang on and get the workout done.   Less thinking and just do the work as the "smart" trainer adjusts and I can stream random shows on the big screen. Current trainer viewing is People vs OJ Simpson - OMG great entertainment as I am sweating a river, literally, during intervals.  
2- Zwift is the the latest, genius, innovation in riding inside.  Zwift is described as your digital destination for fitness, fun and adventure.   You ride as an avitar online wtih1000's of riders all over the world.  It is fricking amazing..... I held off for quite a while and finally gave it a try a few weeks ago when I had a 1 hour recovery spin and it was raining outside.   Within 10min I was in a pack on a climb  and pushing over 300W to drop the group I was in,  With my headphones on and music cranking I was apparently calmly talking aggressively shouting at my fellow riders to  "get off my wheel" "take that" "ha dropped your sorry ass"  and John walks about the corner asking what is going on.  I tell him just a recovery ride as I am out of the saddle with sweat pouring on the mat and yelling again.  OMG this is FUN!!!

 If you haven't tried Zwift- do !    You can upload your workouts in Zwift as well but if you do that you cannot draft, pass others etc - so I don't do that.   This AM I  had a trainer workout and was just not feeling the motivation  to buckle down alone (sorry Mike) so I hopped onto Zwift  - There were 1300 other riders on the same course from all over the world.  You can see the names and country flag of everyone around you and it flashes when they pass you. 

Today my " tragedy" was as I was .4 miles from the summit of a long climb my iPad died... turned off - OMG I was screaming...NO no no.  Dang it had to quickly re-start with my phone.  Lesson learned- plug in the iPad -

Riding the trainer is hard -  how some people do it for 3-4 hours I will never know and will not be doing.  Again I do this for run and even Zwift is not fun for that long....

If you are looking to stay safe, maximize time, suffer a bit, increase FTP- I recommend the trainer...and give Zwift a try- it really is fun!   

RE: set up.  Kickr sells a ridiculously expensive mat as in $70 for the " power mat" .  I found a great alternative on Amazon - the Supermat  $29.99. Durable and can absorb a lot of sweat and protect the floor.   They also sell the Wahoo Kickr Desk  which is very convenient and also very expensive at $229.   I found a tripod stand @$49 which works great - why do you need this?  To hold the ipad,  phone, random stuff to say aero and keep riding.   So there you have it..... hope to see you in Watopia soon!