It seems that my friends on the Swim Bike Mom Ambassador Team are slowly trying to kill themselves! In the past couple of weeks there have been multiple bike crashes with potentially race cancelling results, a busted toe, cuts, scrapes, contusions… It’s enough to make me want to wrap myself in bubble wrap until October 17th!
THIS, my people, is one of the many reasons why I choose to do 80% of my cycling training on the trainer. There are plenty of people, including a lot of my friends, who think I am doing myself a disservice by spending so much time on the trainer. And they may be right, but the trainer works for ME! Could I be a better technical cyclist if I rode outdoors more? Probably. Will I ever win a triathlon with or without more on the road time? Uhm, NO!
Pro triathlete, Andy Potts, trains almost exclusively on trainer. He’s won a bunch of 70.3 and 140.6 distance races over the past years. He says, “The only time I ride outside is when I race; otherwise I am always on my CompuTrainer.” Why? He’s a professional triathlete, he can train where he likes, why does he choose a trainer. Because, if you do a trainer session right (and note I said IF), it can be a more effective cycling workout than out on the road.
Think about it, you control your cycling workout – 100%! There are no stop lights… no intersections… no cars or trucks buzzing by you with only inches to spare… no rough pavement… no animals running out in front of your path… you don’t have to worry about the weather or getting stuck miles from home with a flat or a mechanical issue… you can test out new hydration and fueling strategies without worrying about “issues” popping up… you are always working since there is not coasting… and so on. It’s very controllable.
Now, you can’t put your bike up on the trainer, hop on and spin with zero intention and little or no resistance and expect to get better. I have specific workouts that I do on the trainer and I am a sopping wet MESS at the end.
AND, I can hear my tri-friends saying that you HAVE to ride outdoors to prepare for race day conditions – what if it’s windy… what if it’s raining… yada, yada, yada.
I DO ride outdoors sometimes… I just ride on the trainer MOST of the time.
Plus, I think riding on the trainer builds mental toughness like nothing else. I know people who would rather gouge their eyes out with a spoon than ride their bike on the trainer. I get it – It’s BORING as F–K!!! But ride 112 miles on your trainer and tell me you don’t feel like a major badass when it’s over! Like there’s NOTHING you can’t do!
Another big plus FOR ME about riding on the trainer is that I can get up early and get a long ride in before my family wakes up. THIS IS HUGE FOR ME!!! My family is awesome and they are so supportive of this crazy triathlon thing I’m doing. I train between 10-15 hours per week preparing for a half-iron distance race and I don’t feel right about stealing that time away from my partner and my son when I already work 50-60 hours per week in my business.
I will NOT ride in the dark – it scares the hell out of me. God love you people who do it, but I can’t make myself go there.
And at the end of the day, I am a safe cyclist on race day – I follow the race rules, I keep my distance from other riders, I pass appropriately, I am mindful of traffic, I am respectful of what CAN happen on a bike course.
And I train 80% of the time in my living room.
Hey, if it’s good enough for Andy, it’s certainly good enough for me!