Cycling indoor don’t need much equipment and is for me a possibility to add more endurance training without “destroying” my body with more running. In the following article I describe my experiences training with TrainerRoad.
Depending of the equipment used the set up is quite easy. In my case I have:
- Indoor trainer (Tacx Booster)
- Android smartphone (Google Pixel XL)
- Speed and cadence sensor (Wahoo Blue SC)
- Heart rate monitor (Wahoo Tickr)
- Road bike
The Tacx Booster is a basic trainer without any electronic, so no power is needed. All other equipment communicates over blue-tooth with the TrainerRoad App. First I needed to create an account and select the payment method. There are two possibilities, monthly (15 US$) or yearly (129 US$). Connecting everything together is done in the App in the Device section. The App immediately starts to search for blue-tooth devices and connects the found devices (Wahoo Blue SC and Tickr). With the speed, cadence senor data and the resistance value (1-10) from the Tacx Booster the TrainerRoad App calculates the virual-power and display it in the App.
FTP stands for Functional Threshold Power, which is commonly defined as the highest average power you can sustain for an hour, measured in watts. You can find everything about FTP on the TrainerRoad side. I thought before I can begin with a plan I have to do a FTP test. Unfortunately the suggested RAMP Test didn’t show up in the TrainerRoad App, so I did the 8 Min FTP Test. Later I realized that with every plan there is a RAMP test scheduled as first training session. For the books I got a FTP value of 85 W.
TrainerRoad Training Plans
The training plans are divided into three big blocks.
- Base Phase (Step One)
- Build Phase (Step Two)
- Specialty Phase (Step Three)
Each Phase has different 4-8 weeks plans for a different purposes (e.g. Sweet Spot Base, Traditional Base, Sprint Triathlon Base up to Ironman Triathlon Base). In addition each plan is available in Low Volume, Mid Volume and High Volume. A ton of choices and for every training level there is a plan available. The workouts are fixed in each plan, but if a workout seems to hart, there are alternative workouts available or you can reduce the intensity. Each workout addresses a specific goal, endurance, tempo, sweet sport, threshold, VO2Max, anaerobic, speed. It is totally possible to put you own plan together from the “endless” workouts.
For my purpose, getting more endurance, I started, as suggested by TrainerRoad, with the Base Phase and the Sweet Spot, Low Volume Plan. This means three sessions per week on the trainer. Two 1 h and one 1:30 h ride. When selecting a plan the workouts are added to the TrainerRoad calendar. The start date can then be moved to any day of the week and all the other training days are then adjusted. I started on Wednesday and moved the training in the second week to Tuesday.
After loading the workout from the calendar in the TrainerRoad App, the workout automatically starts after 5 seconds. On the screen there are all information which are needed to follow the training. Power, target power, cadence, heart rate, interval time, total time, two graphs (one total training overview and one with the actual interval). To make things more interesting the App “talks” to you. Overlapped onto the overview graphs are written information, tasks, drills, etc. which gives you more information and keeps you focused. For example there are drills for pedaling efficiency, get out of the saddle drills, aero position drills, reminders to relax your body as much as possible, etc. For me it is sometimes hard to absorb all the information, especially later in a session, when I get more and more tired. But most of the time the information are very useful and let the time fly by faster. Nevertheless the training is hard and it is like a sauna session, even when the room I train in has barely 10°C (50°F). From the nutrition side I drink only plain water, between 1 and 1.5 liter and on the longer sessions I have a banana in reach.
So far I have two broken parts in this six week (18 training sessions)
- broken crank of the manual resistance control of the Tacx trainer
- on the rear wheel the tread started to dissolve
The crank is a plastic part and very delicate as I know now. I didn’t use much force to move it and it just broke. Maybe Tacx can come up with something more stable in the future. At least there is the possibility to get it as spare part from them. The poor tire was obviously not suitable for the task. I don’t blame Schwalbe for this. I should have known better. Now I have mounted the recommend tire from Tacx.