Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Indoor Training with Turbo Trainer

Everyone knows how boring riding indoors on a trainer can get, especially during the winter when the weather makes it difficult to ride outside. I've discovered two ways to make training indoors more bearable. The first is Computrainer $20 a pop or free if I joined the store's Tri Club, I decided to add a 3rd Tri Club membership. Now I just need to decide which uniform I like best and weigh that with which club I'll have more friends in. I'd really love to buy my own Computrainer but at $1500, I can't justify the purchase (especially after having just bought a new bike) since it would definitely lead to more electronics so I can wirelessly display my computer on my flat screen. Not to mention all the course videos available. I don't really trust buying one on Ebay.

The second way, I discovered last week, is Turbo Training. It's a UK based website that allows you to create interval sessions for riding on your trainer. It also lets you use workouts created by other users. The only downside is that you need to be able to see your computer screen from your trainer. I just set my laptop on a hightop chair right in front of my bike. Another thing you may want to watch out for is the screen saver. I forgot to turn my off and it popped up every 5 minutes so I had to reach over and hit the touchpad.

There are a lot of workouts on there and I think the max time is 60 minutes. Some of them are more detailed than others and you can rate the workout after you do it. The better workouts have a suggested cadence, heart rate, gear and/or power (if you have a power meter). To use the sessions you have to create a profile and you can enter a resting heart rate and max heart rate. The website then determines you BPM for each interval of the workout. It works sort of like a Tabata timer as you can see in the picture below. When you click "start" it gives you about 5 seconds to get on the bike and then starts. The big blue timer is the overall time completed. A small green timer will countdown the seconds left in each interval right above the blue timer. The interval you're in will enlarge and you'll hear a beeping sound a few seconds before the next interval is starting. I did the Pyramid workout below.

When you're done, it gives you the option to enter all the workout info from your bike computer and creates an activity record.

I'm not quite sure about all the details but, it seems as though you're only allowed to use 3 different workouts a month (as many times as you'd like) and create 1 workout a month. The Premium version is £12 a year.

It worked great for my first time using it and the hour went by fairly quickly vs. just pedaling for an hour.


  1. Like yourself, I don't to fork over 1500 for Computrainer so I have been looking at these sort of sites. Thanks for the information I will check it out.

  2. Brian, you have been tagged. See my blog post titled "My First Tag".