Today I am starting a series of blogs that will continue for the next few weeks. Winter is upon us and my cycling gear is limited so I am exploring the world of biking nowhere. Yes, the dreaded trainer season is upon us. I picked up a Cyclops Magnetic trainer off craigslist and have constructed a small pain cave complete with fan and TV. Since I have a non smart trainer I am exploring the possibilities of virtual power in the virtual world.
Conveniently there are numerous options to spice up the trainer life. I am going to take full advantage of free trial weeks for three different services. The Sufferfest, Zwift and trainer road. Each of these will work with speed/cadence sensors alongside a trainer. If you have a power meter or a smart trainer they will work even better.
Each week I'll tell you the things I liked, the workouts I completed and the things I didn't like. I'm not getting any financial kick back from any of the services aside from the universal free 7 day trial.
I wanted to start with this one because the name sold me. I also like the idea of watching old racing footage alongside a structured workout. Plus, I was looking for some good suffer.
From the initial download to the first ride went pretty quick. I was able to synch my Wahoo Heartrate, Cadence and Speed sensors effortlessly. I selected my trainer from their list and activated the virtual power mode. Sufferfest gives you a suggested first week, I didn't see this at first and opted for a workout called The Blender. This may be a side affect of it being my first workout but I really enjoyed my experience, even the "Pain Shakes" at the end.
For day two I wanted to explore more of the app. In addition to cycling workouts and videos the sufferfest offers 30 yoga videos designed for cyclists. The program also includes different stock programs and mental training videos you can perform before the harder workouts, more on those later.
The yoga videos are easy to access and vary in length from 10-20 minutes. They're split up into sections, Core, Balance, Mobility and recovery. This makes it easy to pick the correct video and get flowing. I completed a session for the hips and hamstrings. I enjoyed the straightforward 15 minute flow, nothing crazy but a good change up. On the down side she moved a little fast through the poses and I was't the biggest fan of her accent.
Day three brought about another trainer workout.
I kept with the suggested first week of training and tried out Cadence Builds. This was a little less structured and allowed me to use my own music. The workout went smoothly and I enjoyed my time on the trainer.
On day 4 I worked through the first day of the mental training program. Goal setting and goal strategies are a key part off offseason training. Having a well defined goal helps you stay motivated when the temperatures are low and the couch is inviting. The Mental training program has videos and a workbook where you write down goals, limiters, and other various performance strategies. I enjoyed the video and identified what they call my " Mt. Sufferlandria."
For the last day I will tackle the Full Frontal Fitness test. The Sufferfest uses this test to establish what they call Four Dimensional Power. This is a way of identifying your Neuromuscular Power, Anaerobic Capacity, Maximum Aerobic Power and Functional Threshold Power. After completing the test you save these values in the app and the workouts will adjust to your 4D Power. This style testing isn't as accurate as what we do in the Performance Lab but it allows you to re-test more frequently and gauge your progress.
Check back next week to see how the test went and whether I'm still alive.
We'll also dive into the most popular virtual training app, Zwift.
Thanks For Reading