VeloClub is CyclingTips’ membership program which brings us closer to our members, and connects likeminded cycling enthusiasts.
February 5, 2015
I’m not a guy who gets excited by riding on the indoor trainer. However, I do understand the massive benefits and efficiencies that you can get in a short amount of time by doing ergo sessions. It’s not easy though. You need to go into each session with a plan. Personally, if I have a plan I’ll have motivation. This is where TrainerRoad hits the nail on the head.
What is it?
Simply put, TrainerRoad is a subscription service that unlocks hundreds of different workouts, multi-week training plans (over 40 of them), fitness tests and lots more to provide some structure to your indoor trainer routine. In addition, it provides a useful interface that displays the prescribed workout as well as your real-time numbers (i.e. using your powermeter, cadence sensor and heartrate via bluetooth or ANT+) and maps them against the day’s workout.
If you’re looking for some structure to your trainer sessions, TrainerRoad takes the guess work out of your day’s workout. There are over 800 workouts to choose from. Anything from VO2Max sessions to strength endurance work and time trial efforts, etc. They’re categorised many different ways for you to chose from so that you’re not paralysed by choice.
But what if you don’t know which workout to choose and want to train towards a goal? TrainerRoad also has a variety of multi-week training plans that can be used to set your fitness goal and work backwards from there, giving you the workout you’ll need. It’s not a personal coach who looks at your strengths, weaknesses and all the rest, but it’s more than adequate for someone who needs some structure to your build-up to your goal, race or event.
The wonderful thing about TrainerRoad is that your laptop, smartphone or tablet (iOS, Mac & PC compatible) acts as your head unit if you have a wireless powermeter, cadence sensor or heart-rate monitor. There’s even virtual power if you only have a speed sensor. If you have none of that, using RPE is still useful. It displays your workout with prescribed power levels, interval times, and gives you real-time feedback on how you’re tracking against that workout.
Using the trainer for your targeted workouts is an efficient and measurable way to achieve your training goals and TrainerRoad makes that process easier and more motivating. It tells you exactly what to do and you just ride to the numbers without second guessing yourself. If you’re like me, riding to the levels and charts makes it harder to skip an interval since everything is being recorded and measured. If you cheat, you know about it. It’s all there.
There are even motivating messages that pop up on-screen from time to time that make it fun and as if someone is there pushing you on. And if that’s not enough, there are even a number of Sufferfest workouts that you can pair up with the Sufferfest videos if you own them.
Testing tools are available to help you find out your functional threshold and training zones which are essential to use it’s features going forward. In order to set your proper training zones you’ll need to know what your thresholds are so TrainerRoad can customise its workouts for you. After every few weeks you can test yourself again to see your improvements and for TrainerRoad to reset your baseline levels.
Building towards a goal in cycling needs various fitness layers built one on top of another. Setting your goal and working backwards from it is the strategy that most coaches will use and TrainerRoad gives you an excellent set of tools necessary to build those layers. You don’t need to know anything about training to do this. TrainerRoad does it all.
Again, it’s not a personal coach, but it’s a fantastic stepping stone towards that. If you have a coach or know what workout you want to do and it’s not already in the system, you can customise your own. In that case TrainerRoad is still a useful tool to help you through the session.
Along with hundreds of workouts to choose from, TrainerRoad does an excellent job at giving real-time feedback on power, cadence, heartrate, and time against the workout being performed in a simple yet effective interface.
Note: The ipad app will be released shortly and will include a larger and more legible interface (with landscape mode).
The subscription service costs $10 USD per month or $99 per year.
Would I recommend it? Without a doubt. It’s a brilliantly thought-out and effective tool and a service well worth the cost if you want to make the most out of your indoor trainer sessions.
Find out more on the TrainerRoad website.