As the colder and more unsettled weather of winter closes in for many, or perhaps even country restrictions mean getting outside is not possible, then turbo trainers can become the go-to training equipment for keeping up some fitness.
I often hear many cyclists express their complete hate for the turbo. The predominant reason is usually due to boredom. So here are a few quickfire tips on helping with boredom, comfort and keeping your equipment in good condition during turbo training.
1. PLAN: Never get on the turbo without an objective and structure for the session . Even if you just want to do a 40 min recovery spin, then even make a plan to vary cadence throughout the 40 mins. Variety throughout a session regardless of length allows you to set target interval times and remain engaged as well as decreasing potential boredom.
2.VENTILATION: Ensure to have your setup close to open windows and ideally a fan or even two fans circulating air around your body to dissipate heat. Use a towel to wipe excess sweat from the body during recovery intervals to allow the skin to ‘breathe’.
3.COMFORT: Saddle discomfort and shoulder fatigue can be synonymous with turbo training, but by placing a block under the front wheel (even if there is a wheel support)to make it 10-15mm higher than the rear wheel can help greatly in a more kindly balance over the bike for saddle area, neck and shoulders. The block could be a book wrapped in a plastic bag for example. Point to measure is from the floor to the center of each quick release, as seen in the photo. Compare the height of the front wheel from the rear from those points and raise by the 10 -15mm as per the upper line of photo. There are front wheel blocks available which allow for different stack heights which mean adding an extra improvised block is not required. An example can be seen HERE.
4.HYDRATION: Heat production from the body can be up to 15 times greater during an indoor session than when at rest, therefore hydration is super important and if doing a longer or very intense session it is also a good idea to incorporate an electrolyte mix too. Nutrition is also an important consideration for longer sessions.
5.EQUIPMENT: It is highly recommended to fit a sweat protector to your bike to protect the headset area from sweat. Failure to do so can cause corrosion of stem bolts and of the headset bearings in a very short space of time. Also at the end of a session always wipe down your bike and pay close attention to the front rim for any sweat that has landed on the spokes and moved towards the spoke nipples.
It is also advisable to consider using a protection mat under your bike during a session to protect flooring – especially wooden floors.
6.VISUAL STIMULATION: Having a visual distraction is a great way taking your mind off the passing minutes and seconds of session – especially if you are doing hard intervals. There is lots of virtual software out there at the moment or failing that, simply use Youtube to find some repeats of your favorite races or search for cycling motivation videos which are often set to music too.
Overall, a turbo trainer can be an excellent training tool, and it can actually be very enjoyable. But it is important to always have a plan or a basic structure to any session otherwise it can feel very boring and laborious.
Hopefully the other brief tips prove useful, especially when taking care of your equipment.