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Can you match road intensities on the trainer?

Mar 16, 2009
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Help, I can't match road intensities (i.e., HR) on the trainer.

Am I alone in not being able to get my HR up on trainer? I have recently been doing the Robbie Ventura "Force" DVD on my trainer. The workout essentially consists of ten minute threshold repeats. When I do these intervals on the trainer, I really struggle to make the ten minutes holding my HR around 163 (and I mean I am REALLY working to do this). However, today on the road I decided to do a twenty-five mile ride at about the max sustainable effort. I rode for about an hour and ten minutes with an HR average of 166 (this is about where I estimate my threshold HR as a runner). So, do others notice a similar phenomenon? Is it just a matter of mental toughness, or is there something more going on when on a trainer? For example, is it that one naturally experiences changes in effort (due to wind and hills) on the road, while on the trainer the effort is more constant? I have a good quality trainer (a Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll), so that I can come as close to the feeling of the road as is possible (while still sitting in my crappy garage). I would like to hear people's thoughts on this one as I have to spend a lot of time on the trainer (I have a young child) and I want to make sure that I'm getting the best workouts that I can. Thanks.


Dave
 
Jul 27, 2009
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There are a number of things that can affect HR: hydration, mood, altitude, ambient temp, body core temp to name some. I would focus more on the speed that you are able to hold (or use a power meter) than HR. Then you can try for increases in speed on the trainer (which would be a proxy for power) as fitness increases.

Dave
 
Mar 18, 2009
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I get some coaching from CTS and live in Canada, so do interval sessions on the trainer in winter and outside whenever I can. I train with a powermeter. I hate doing intervals on the trainer - they hurt more and seem to go on forever. I also think it is harder to maintain power while on the trainer, but this is probably more subjective than actually real. I think most of the feelings on a trainer are mental, although some trainers are definitely better than others. A friend that rides ironman triathlons seems happy enough sitting on the trainer for 5-6 hours while I can barely tolerate an hour. The intervals make the trainer more tolerable than just a spinning session, but if you want to liven your trainer sessions then consider either a Tacx or Computrainer like system where you can get interactive DVDs and online racing.
 
Mar 16, 2009
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dkrenik said:
Then you can try for increases in speed on the trainer (which would be a proxy for power) as fitness increases.
Dave

I do use speed (and, via the cubic function of speed that Kurt claims approximates power, estimates of power) to determine progress. I just have the nagging feeling that I am cheating myself on these workouts by not having the mental fortitude to get my HR to the levels that I can reach on the road. I can only get 4-6 hours a week for training, so I need to make sure that I'm making the most of it. So, when the day calls for threshold intervals, I really want to make sure that that's the workout that I'm doing. Based on RPE, I feel like I'm working even harder than threshold (despite the lower HR), but, again, this could just be a function of lack of mental toughness (not having the exhilaration of speed that the road provides). It's this gnawing doubt about whether I'm accomplishing what I need that is bothering me.


Dave
 
Mar 16, 2009
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elapid said:
I hate doing intervals on the trainer - they hurt more and seem to go on forever. I also think it is harder to maintain power while on the trainer, but this is probably more subjective than actually real. I think most of the feelings on a trainer are mental, although some trainers are definitely better than others.

I'm glad that I'm not alone in feeling like it's hard to push myself on the trainer. It's not just threshold intervals either, my HR for any workout is always lower on the trainer than the road.

elapid said:
<SNIP>The intervals make the trainer more tolerable than just a spinning session, but if you want to liven your trainer sessions then consider either a Tacx or Computrainer like system where you can get interactive DVDs and online racing.

I have a pretty wide variety of DVDs, and this does help quite a bit. I find that I cannot use non-cycling videos. If I'm watching a movie, my HR sits down in the 130's and I REALLY hate the session and can't keep going. This is probably evidence that I am not really hitting threshold levels, though I am suffering mightily (i.e., there are mental factors limiting me). I don't know how to generate the mental fortitude that I need (the computer linked trainers are just waaay to expensive for me).


Dave
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Biciclette Bianchi said:
I have a pretty wide variety of DVDs, and this does help quite a bit. I find that I cannot use non-cycling videos. If I'm watching a movie, my HR sits down in the 130's and I REALLY hate the session and can't keep going. This is probably evidence that I am not really hitting threshold levels, though I am suffering mightily (i.e., there are mental factors limiting me). I don't know how to generate the mental fortitude that I need (the computer linked trainers are just waaay to expensive for me).

I agree - very rarely can I tolerate a TV show or movie. Every year I buy a slew of WCP DVDs and watch these and the old races. Its actually great to watch all the races you missed during the year, particularly the classics, because nobody televises them in Canada. Yes, the computer-linked trainers are very expensive. I don't have one, but then again it would be an expensive gamble to see whether it would work for the likes of you and me.
 

eurotrash

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Jul 8, 2009
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Sorry, but it's metal weakness that prevents you from getting you HR up. Interval sessions on a trainer were part of my regular routine when I raced and I actually felt I got a better work out than I could on the road (for that type of work-out). All I had to concentrate on was my HR and stop watch for a very intricate set of intervals.

We always started with a set of intervals to get your HR up, but once done it was easy to pop it back up again on demand. A sample of this is the following:
10x 1min on/10 sec off "descending". Descending (or negative split) is a term borrowed from swimmers/runners, basically means you go faster/harder as the interval continues. So if you want your HR to be 185 at the end, and you are doing 10 intervals, try being at 140 at the end of your first one and then increase it about 5bpm for each following interval.
 
Jul 6, 2009
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not to be mean but its all mental put simply thats the truth. the human body can max out on a trainer or the road but the mind has a great effect. i can be having a bad day mentally and as soon as someone tries to drop me no problem fast again with high hr.
 
Jul 16, 2009
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hea Lad.
would check the tyre roller connection. too stiff?
never had a problem with an athlete not getting the HR up (unless it is a temporary problem indicator- tired/sick)

in fact i think all level four intervals should be done only on the turbo where you can push your abilities to the max and not be impeded by wind, road , traffic etc
 
Jun 1, 2009
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I do a lot of trainer work indoors, especially through winter - from steady state stuff to specific intervals. I also find that its a little harder to get my heart rate up all round when indoors (but the concentrated effort with no interruptions it gives is worth the limitations). I'm no scientist or expert, but i've always wondered how much more the brain has to work when out on the road - maintaining balance, negotiating traffic, concentrating on whatever is going on in the field of vision - and if that affects HR. I also find that when i'm sitting on the trainer, I find that looking at something moving makes the suffering 'easier' to endure - I guess its a form of distraction. If i'm not looking at a DVD, i'm looking at my legs moving, or the HR monitor stopwatch tick over. If i close my eyes, my suffering seems to magnify. I'm therefore wondering if the numerous distractions that go on out on the road go some way to masking a degree of pain, so that you can push yourself just that little bit harder - and that there's some impact of all these cognitive activities and distractions on HR itself - so the HR goes up.

I could be wrong :)
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Biciclette Bianchi said:
Am I alone in not being able to get my HR up on trainer? I have recently been doing the Robbie Ventura "Force" DVD on my trainer. The workout essentially consists of ten minute threshold repeats. When I do these intervals on the trainer, I really struggle to make the ten minutes holding my HR around 163 (and I mean I am REALLY working to do this). However, today on the road I decided to do a twenty-five mile ride at about the max sustainable effort. I rode for about an hour and ten minutes with an HR average of 166 (this is about where I estimate my threshold HR as a runner).

it is mental as others have said, you have to learn how to push yourself.
Running is much easier to get hr up, as you probably know.
I have to focus when i am on the trainer or my hr really slips sometimes.
One way to keep your hr high is keep your rpms high, 115-125
another way is to do some serious intensity intervals, short duration short recovery max effort. after about 4 repeats your hr will be sky high.
then you will have no problem keeping your rate up and you will see it is mental.
I forget the name of this workout, there is a long story behind it suffice to say if u can do 8 repeats u r good, no cheating though.
after a short warmup, do 30 seconds at max effort, i suggest maybe a 53x14 spinnning like crazy, 10 seconds recovery spin
repeat, repeat repeat:D
 
runninboy said:
it is mental as others have said, you have to learn how to push yourself.
Running is much easier to get hr up, as you probably know.
I have to focus when i am on the trainer or my hr really slips sometimes.
One way to keep your hr high is keep your rpms high, 115-125
another way is to do some serious intensity intervals, short duration short recovery max effort. after about 4 repeats your hr will be sky high.
then you will have no problem keeping your rate up and you will see it is mental.
I forget the name of this workout, there is a long story behind it suffice to say if u can do 8 repeats u r good, no cheating though.
after a short warmup, do 30 seconds at max effort, i suggest maybe a 53x14 spinnning like crazy, 10 seconds recovery spin
repeat, repeat repeat:D
do you get a higher heart rate running or cycling? bike riding i have hit over 200bpm in a full sprint(the exact number i will not know) running not as high. maybe 180.:cool:
 
Jun 16, 2009
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usedtobefast said:
do you get a higher heart rate running or cycling? bike riding i have hit over 200bpm in a full sprint(the exact number i will not know) running not as high. maybe 180.:cool:

Running for me. I have read that running heartrates on average run about ten beats per minute faster . Because of injuries i have not done any running intervals where i would reach my max rate.
Last year my "recovery" runs would avg about 155bpm, a hard tempo run would be 45 minutes avg 182.
On the bike my AT is around 172-176. Last year my max hr was around 196 on the bike.
 
This is anecdotal ... no evidence ... but I have always thought of time on the trainer as worth 2-3 times time spent on the road. The adaptation you get from spinning against a constant resistance for 60-90 mins is difficult to replicate on the road. Most of us live in places where the road at least undulates and/or you have to stop for traffic / junctions etc

So I have always considered the turbo as an essential way to really upgrade the quality of my program. AND I find I can push myself harder becaue i don't haveto worry about where I am going!

Having said all that it's hard to replicate the intensity of a race without it being a race - but I think we are just talking about training here.

I tend to ride infront of a mirror...is that wierd? It comes from rowing on a rowing machine for years - where it really helps your technique if you can see yourself. I actually find the same thing useful on a bike.
 
Apr 21, 2009
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Biciclette Bianchi said:
Am I alone in not being able to get my HR up on trainer? So, do others notice a similar phenomenon? Is it just a matter of mental toughness, or is there something more going on when on a trainer? For example, is it that one naturally experiences changes in effort (due to wind and hills) on the road, while on the trainer the effort is more constant? I have a good quality trainer (a Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll), so that I can come as close to the feeling of the road as is possible (while still sitting in my crappy garage). I would like to hear people's thoughts on this one as I have to spend a lot of time on the trainer (I have a young child) and I want to make sure that I'm getting the best workouts that I can. Thanks.


Dave

It is definitely harder mentally to train on a windtrainer. A year or so ago I changed from a wind trainer to rollers. You have to concentrate more otherwise you'll end up on your @rse, but the feeling you get is much closer to riding on the road than using a wind trainer. Of course you cannot replicate standing up and doing hill work otherwise again you'll find yourself on your bum. Doing hard intervals I can push my HR just as hard on the rollers as on the road. Also rollers are a bit easier on tyre wear than a wind trainer.
 
Mar 16, 2009
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usedtobefast said:
do you get a higher heart rate running or cycling?

Much higher running! In running races, I can get my HR above 190. In training (say hill repeats), upper 180s isn't very hard to do. On the bike, 177 is the max that I've ever been able to reach (in a race) and mid-170s doing hill repeats while training.


Dave
 
Mar 16, 2009
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180mmCrank said:
I tend to ride infront of a mirror...is that wierd? It comes from rowing on a rowing machine for years - where it really helps your technique if you can see yourself.

Hey, I rowed in college! I was the starboard stroke in an eight man shell. I have to say, I don't miss the ergasms (what we called the time on the ergometer).


Dave
 
Mar 16, 2009
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runninboy said:
it is mental as others have said, you have to learn how to push yourself.
<SNIP>
One way to keep your hr high is keep your rpms high, 115-125

Cadence may be a big part of it... On the road, I pedal at high cadences (105-110 rpm). I find it hard (mentally) to maintain that kind of cadence on the trainer (usually settling in somewhere between 95 and 100 rpm on the trainer). Consequently, doing intervals I am "leg limited" (i.e., it's the muscular burning that pushes the RPE and makes it so hard to maintain the effort). Next time I'm on the trainer, I'll try to more closely match my road cadence and see if this helps me reach target HRs.



Dave
 
Jul 24, 2009
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Is it the quads that burn the most?

Biciclette Bianchi, I've had the same problems. On the trainer I tend to get a heap more burn in the quads, I really have to focus to engage the glutes, but on the road it's different. I use the glutes just fine on the road.

Glutes are a big muscle group so properly utilising these will really increase the HR+power. Initiating the down-stroke earlier seems to help. (And moving the saddle back can too?)
 
Biciclette Bianchi said:
I do use speed (and, via the cubic function of speed that Kurt claims approximates power, estimates of power) to determine progress. I just have the nagging feeling that I am cheating myself on these workouts by not having the mental fortitude to get my HR to the levels that I can reach on the road. I can only get 4-6 hours a week for training, so I need to make sure that I'm making the most of it. So, when the day calls for threshold intervals, I really want to make sure that that's the workout that I'm doing. Based on RPE, I feel like I'm working even harder than threshold (despite the lower HR), but, again, this could just be a function of lack of mental toughness (not having the exhilaration of speed that the road provides). It's this gnawing doubt about whether I'm accomplishing what I need that is bothering me.


Dave
The mistake you are making is thinking of HR as a consistent measure of intensity. Power is a consistent measure of intensity, HR is an indicator of cardiac strain. The two are not necessarily correlated in all circumstances and in many situations they diverge.

On the basis that you are doing hard intervals, whether they are threshold efforts like 2x20-min or shorter hard aerobic efforts like 5x5-min, what matters is the power level (or in your case, wheel speed range) you do them at. If you can up the power (speed), then do it, if you can't complete them, then drop it a touch. Alls you can do is alls you can do, no matter what your HRM says.

Besides, given the lag in HR response, it's a pretty useless guide for shorter efforts anyway. Even longer efforts should see a gradual drift of HR upwards and it may take a few minutes to even reach "zone".

See the following HR trace from well paced threshold and "VO2 Max" type efforts performed indoors.

ComparisonofHRresponseAPI-TTI-1.jpg
 
Mar 16, 2009
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Alex Simmons/RST said:
Besides, given the lag in HR response, it's a pretty useless guide for shorter efforts anyway. Even longer efforts should see a gradual drift of HR upwards and it may take a few minutes to even reach "zone".

I agree with this. I am cardiovascularly fairly fit (resting HR about 44), so it takes several minutes at a given RPE/speed & gearing for my HR to elevate and then stabalize. The Ventura video has a method to establish threshold gearing on the trainer that I have been using. You start spinning at your desired cadence in a fairly easy gear, and then every two minutes shift to one gear harder. You are about at threshold in the gearing where you feel burning in the quads at the end of the two minutes in the current gear. So, this is the method that I use to estimate threshold effort on the trainer. What I find is that I am really experiencing a lot more burning discomfort in the quadriceps at a given HR than I experience on the road (i.e., my RPE at a given HR is MUCH higher on the trainer than it is on the road). So, sure, I am getting a maximal effort ten minute interval, but I am not getting the cardiovascular workout that I would on the road (because of the lower HR). Whether this is something to be concerned about (i.e., whether I am "cheating myself" in my trainer workouts), I guess I don't know.


Dave
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Alex Simmons/RST said:
Besides, given the lag in HR response, it's a pretty useless guide for shorter efforts anyway. Even longer efforts should see a gradual drift of HR upwards and it may take a few minutes to even reach "zone".

See the following HR trace from well paced threshold and "VO2 Max" type efforts performed indoors.
QUOTE]

Heartrate is not useless for short intervals, if you work a very high cadence maybe 135 rpms, at your maximum effort, for a short interval with short recovery as i have mentioned you will be woking above your AT in less than 5 minutes.
This interval workout was developed in Japan for speedskaters if memory serves me correctly. I believe it was 30 seconds at max effort 10 recovery. Even the best trained Olympic athletes can only reach 6-8 intervals, while it is supposed to be a workout in and of itself, i use it to get my hr up in a short peroid of time. and then i can do my"normal workout" at my AT on the trainer.
I cannot remember the name of the Japanese man who the interval workout is named after, but it was mentioned in a triathlete magazine. It is intended to give some high intensity to stationary workouts but i think mark allen was quoted as using a variation of it on the road. I find it kind of dangerous to go all out on the road because it takes maximum concentration which is dangerous.

ok found the link its tabata interval killer workout enjoy

http://74.125.155.132/search?q=cach...triathlete+intervals&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
 
Mar 17, 2009
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I had a friend of mind ask tell me the same thing concerning his inability to raise his HR to threshold. I have trained on a trainer for almost 20 years and have never had and issue with not being able to raise the HR. The body doesn't necessarily know the difference between the road and the trainer, 175 on the trainer is 175 on the road. There may be variations in speeds, wind, incline, but the fact is 175 is 175.

If you're having difficulty raising the HR then you might consider:

Recovery! Are you recovered? Doing intervals on a trainer is mentally difficult but can be compounded if you are not fully recovered and struggle.

Mentally prepare. I know that intervals suck on the trainer but if you can get through the a workout and achieve the desired HR then it will get better, not easier but better. Try a have a positive attitude, the reward is not at the beginning but at the end.

Its not trainer but the trainee... I've used a cheap Nashbar trainer for years and have always be able to train the way I need to. Get rid of all of those thoughts and hit it.


Biciclette Bianchi said:
Am I alone in not being able to get my HR up on trainer? I have recently been doing the Robbie Ventura "Force" DVD on my trainer. The workout essentially consists of ten minute threshold repeats. When I do these intervals on the trainer, I really struggle to make the ten minutes holding my HR around 163 (and I mean I am REALLY working to do this). However, today on the road I decided to do a twenty-five mile ride at about the max sustainable effort. I rode for about an hour and ten minutes with an HR average of 166 (this is about where I estimate my threshold HR as a runner). So, do others notice a similar phenomenon? Is it just a matter of mental toughness, or is there something more going on when on a trainer? For example, is it that one naturally experiences changes in effort (due to wind and hills) on the road, while on the trainer the effort is more constant? I have a good quality trainer (a Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll), so that I can come as close to the feeling of the road as is possible (while still sitting in my crappy garage). I would like to hear people's thoughts on this one as I have to spend a lot of time on the trainer (I have a young child) and I want to make sure that I'm getting the best workouts that I can. Thanks.


Dave
 
runninboy said:
Alex Simmons/RST said:
Besides, given the lag in HR response, it's a pretty useless guide for shorter efforts anyway. Even longer efforts should see a gradual drift of HR upwards and it may take a few minutes to even reach "zone".

See the following HR trace from well paced threshold and "VO2 Max" type efforts performed indoors.

Heartrate is not useless for short intervals, if you work a very high cadence maybe 135 rpms, at your maximum effort, for a short interval with short recovery as i have mentioned you will be woking above your AT in less than 5 minutes.
This interval workout was developed in Japan for speedskaters if memory serves me correctly. I believe it was 30 seconds at max effort 10 recovery. Even the best trained Olympic athletes can only reach 6-8 intervals, while it is supposed to be a workout in and of itself, i use it to get my hr up in a short peroid of time. and then i can do my"normal workout" at my AT on the trainer.
I cannot remember the name of the Japanese man who the interval workout is named after, but it was mentioned in a triathlete magazine. It is intended to give some high intensity to stationary workouts but i think mark allen was quoted as using a variation of it on the road. I find it kind of dangerous to go all out on the road because it takes maximum concentration which is dangerous.

ok found the link its tabata interval killer workout enjoy

http://74.125.155.132/search?q=cach...triathlete+intervals&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

You might consider intervals like Tabata to be great training (and they certainly can be) but they are not paced by using HR as a guide. That's my point, you can't, HR response is simply far too slow* to be used as a guide to pacing shorter hard efforts.

If you are perfoming efforts such that your HR rises rapidly and then holds steady, your power will be falling through the course of the effort. Does that matter? Well, yes it does.

Not only is it possible that you end up spending less overall time working on the desired adaptations, you might actually be devoting time to working the wrong things.

It is also indicative of poor pacing of effort, something critical to good performance in many cycling events.

* HR response has a half life of the order of 30-seconds, which means that for something like Tabata intervals, HR is useless as a guide to effort.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Alex Simmons/RST said:
You might consider intervals like Tabata to be great training (and they certainly can be) but they are not paced by using HR as a guide. That's my point, you can't, HR response is simply far too slow* to be used as a guide to pacing shorter hard efforts.

If you are perfoming efforts such that your HR rises rapidly and then holds steady, your power will be falling through the course of the effort. Does that matter? Well, yes it does.

Not only is it possible that you end up spending less overall time working on the desired adaptations, you might actually be devoting time to working the wrong things.

It is also indicative of poor pacing of effort, something critical to good performance in many cycling events.

* HR response has a half life of the order of 30-seconds, which means that for something like Tabata intervals, HR is useless as a guide to effort.

I am sure you know much more about this than i do and i appreciate your experience & input. I have been thinking about this and decided to edit my message to reflect the fact that my methods are far from an effcient use of time and resources.
Basically my bad and i defer to you on the subject
:)