COACH FORUM: Indoor Training
Hello Purple Patch athletes!
This week we will be answering questions about all things indoor training - from equipment and setup recommendations, to mental tips for indoor workouts, and more. Drop your questions in the comments below and we'll help you to take on indoor training with confidence and excitement!
The Purple Patch Team
Zwift .... should I be using the platform? (as in modernize my indoor training setup!) Been on a Computrainer for years, which won’t break, and use PerfPro software on top of it, which is basic but high utility. Know this is not cut & dried question, but seeking some viewpoints. Thanks.
Know this is not a cut and dried answer.
I’m thinking about upgrading my trainer. Think the moving from the Tacx flow to Wahoo Kickr. But still washing back between the Saris, Neo 2T and Kickr at this price point. Any feedback on why purple patch prefers the Kickr to end my turmoil and research?
Secondly, I’m using an Apple TV to drive my indoor experience although I know others use other setups. Anything you see as ideal for overall best experience with Zwift?
What sort of trainer sessions do you recommend for replacing swims? I have been using the optional endurance rides from the workout library. My concern is not getting enough stimulus each week.
Is it okay to insert harder bike sessions to replace some of the swims - essentially finding a workout that targets the same systems as the scheduled swim (e.g., tempo, VO2, etc.)?
Say I want to do a free ride one day on zwift. How can you find courses with specific elevation? Mostly flat, rolling, a big climb, etc. Also during our off season how long should indoor weekend rides be? I had been doing 60-80 miles on Saturday and didn’t want to lose what I gain over the summer. Thanks!
Weather has definitely been getting chillier in Virginia and I've been gradually moving rides indoors. I have a 70.3 in December (Haines City, FL) and I will be racing with my TT bike. I am not very comfortable on my aero bars and I'm worried that doing too many rides on my trainer will affect my bike handling skills. Do you have tips for beginners using a TT bike and utilizing outdoor rides? Thank you!
Coach Brad here, it looks like Zwift is the topic of choice, so let's dive in!
James - as you note, "modernizing" your indoor set up mostly comes down to personal preference, but since you asked for some thoughts I'll share mine. The bottom line is being able to get your training completed in a successful manner, so if you have a system that's working for you and allows you to hit the structured work the way you need, there isn't a need to fix it. Bottom line. Having said that, if you're looking for some additional motivation/entertainment/community for your indoor riding, I think Zwift can provide that. Just know that there's definitely a technology and time investment in getting everything you need set up, synced up, and working smoothly, but once you get there it's (mostly) painless. Personally, I've used Zwift a lot more this year than ever before, for obvious reasons, and I've been surprised how engaging it can be for indoor riding. But I think the benefits are mostly motivational, not structural.
Robert - it's definitely pay to play on Zwift, you can get a short free trial to test the system out, but you'll have to subscribe monthly to get ongoing access.
Trainer talk, lots of room for person preference and set up here as well.
Bryan - sorry to disappoint, but I don't think I can put in the final word to ease your mind on that purchase choice (perhaps other's will have additional thoughts to add). I think that ultimately you'll likely be happy with any of the options at that price point, and cost might be the best deciding factor, and whether or not it's easier to stick with software and sync compatibility that you already have set up with the current brand. Wahoo's gear and technology infrastructure is solid and robust, which is why we speak positively around it.
Jordan - 2 quick thoughts for you to consider in the smart/dumb debate. First, having the smart trainer can make it much easier to execute low cadence, strength endurance workouts (of the kind that you see frequently in our training) as the trainer can increase resistance for you. It can be challenging to find gearing that allows you to hit the cadence/power recommendations for some of the challenging SE work that is prescribed. Second, if you're only using zwift for structured workouts, then this probably won't make a difference for you, but having a smart trainer synced to the virtual environment is what allows you to replicate "outdoor" riding when you're free riding in the game. More resistance as you climb hills, less as you descend, etc... Mileage and excitement for this will vary, but it's something that the dumb trainer does miss out on.
- Coach Brad
Thanks for all the great questions team. This is great and I'll dive in also to help Coach Brad.
Miriam Phalan great topic. I would 100% agree with your initial concerns that bike handling skills are incredibly important in your execution on a 70.3. With the daylight shrinking and the temperatures dropping we face this challenge of getting the time to keep riding outdoors while balancing some harder interval sessions on the trainer. That said, I would highly highly encourage you to keep 50% of the rides that you do outside. That can actually be simpler than it sounds, so if you do 3-4 rides a week right now, you just need 1.5-2 of those rides outdoors where you are highly focused on technique, posture, and handling.
Now... you might ask, how do I get a 0.5 ride outside? Here's how... if you have a time-crunch or a trainer session that you need to get done, you can warm up on the bike outdoors for a little time and practice some light handling drills around the house or in a parking lot. Then you can finish the session on the trainer.
If nothing else, I would say you should really try to get 1 KEY ride done outdoors and do a little handling practice during some in-between times.
Mike O. PPF Coach.
I have one more trainer problem. I have a new Saris M2 trainer and the clutch knob doesn't "click." I am supposed to inflate my rear tire to the maximum and turn the clutch knob until the roller is about halfway into the tire and then the knob is supposed to "click," putting the appropriate amount of tension on the tire. I have communicated with Saris about this, and it is sending me a new clutch knob. But, if this doesn't work, I am interested in knowing others' views as to the importance of having the pressure set by a clutch knob versus adjusting the pressure manually. I will say that adjusting it manually is imprecise, and often leads to the wheel slipping or, alternatively, hardly moving. And, it does feel as if the wheel is a square and not a circle. So, I would rather have the precision but am interested in others' views. Thanks.
Dominik Machado great topic and question as well. I would agree that you can find a session that does target similar zones or intensities that the swim does, but be mindful b/c those sessions on the bike will drain you a bit more than the swim might. So important to possibly reduce or shrink the session a tad.
My really ideal recommendation would be this. Spend 20-30 minutes going through a solid Stretch Cord session at home, really give it a good effort, those sessions can truly be tough! Then, you can jump on the bike and get in a nice 30-40 minute MAIN SET on a bike workout with a little warm up and cool down after.
Specific to triathlon cycling? You bet.
Mike O. PPF Coach.
Do you guys have any thoughts on doing structured workouts in Zwift in ERG mode vs none-ERG mode? I've heard people say you should mix it up, but curious about your opinions on that.
Similar to a question already asked - I live in Colorado and while the weather fluctuates a lot day to day, there are usually stretches of 1-2 weeks in the winter where riding outdoors is just not possible. What are your thoughts on doing unstructured free rides on the trainer (on Zwift) in lieu of outdoor workouts? In other words, if there was a scheduled supporting ride that reads, "go ride your bike for 2-3 hours and have fun", but I can't do it outdoors, is it okay to do that indoors instead? How much time should I spend on it? Or is it preferable to just do the indoor structured option?
Can you please provide a breakdown on proper pedaling efficiency. I’ve only been cycling for 3 years and know that my pedaling needs a lot of work. Although I’ve completed 2 Ironmans I realize I am very much a beginner on the bike. Any advice/tips/drills would be greatly appreciated!
A follow on from the pedalling question. I used to pull up as well as push down on the pedals in my MTB days. Switching to road a few years ago and having a bike fit with Cyclefit in London, I was told not to pull up (see: https://www.cyclefit.co.uk/journal/correct-pedalling-technique) and since have adopted that technique. Coming to PP, I think Matt and the team advocate pulling up (correct me if I'm wrong). Can you please shed some light as I'm very confused now!
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