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bike trainer time vs road time
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 Just picked up the Feb issue of Triathlete Mag. So I found an interesting "rule of Thumb" when it comes to time spent riding on a stationary trainer vs time spend riding on the road.

The bike stationary trainer is worth 1.5 times the time spend biking on the road. Of course you don't get the climbing or bike handling skills on the trainer.

The example given in the article (Trainer Time pg 106) 3:20 Trainer time is = 5 hours of road time.

I feel better already.
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [tri-ski] [ In reply to ]
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I find spending time on my trainer a ton harder than riding outdoors, the same goes for treadmill running.

Nothing is as hard as the "year end review" and self evaluation for work that I'm supposed to be doing right now though. I hate this crap.
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [tri-ski] [ In reply to ]
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I also read this article and read something similar in the past that equated every hour on the trainer to 1 1/2 hours on the road. Just curious, as I've been doing 5-6 hours of trainer rides a week, does this mean I can log in 7.5 to 9 hours on my training log? Does anyone here on the twitch make it a practice to give themselves the conversion hours in their log?



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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [tri-ski] [ In reply to ]
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My time on my computrainer has much more quality than riding on the road. You get more data (watts, rpm, HR etc) that you can watch so your training is more efficient and effective.


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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [tri-ski] [ In reply to ]
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Wow, so my many 7hr trainer rides were actually more like 10.5hrs? SWEET ;-) AP

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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [Orcaman] [ In reply to ]
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I have to agree with every word you said Orcaman. I live in Florida where I can virtually ride all year long outdoors but I choose to do very focused quality type workouts on my CompuTrainer. Most of my friends don't understand but I think it's definitely made me stronger and has helped speed up my recovery from being hit last April. Furthermore, my wife and kids love that dads at home riding rather than out possibly being hit again. Everyone wins in my household and everyone's happy at the end of the day.



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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [QuintanaRooster] [ In reply to ]
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while I do believe that trainer time is more efficient than time on the road, I log it the same. 1:1.

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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [QRgirl] [ In reply to ]
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It would nice if this ratio is accurate....I know its mentally harder to ride a trainer but always wondered if the ratio is accurate....i.e. if my plan says ride 4 hrs am I going to prepared for my race as well if I only ride 3 hrs on the trainer and still be prepared as if I would have rode 4 hrs outside...I know this is debatable, nice if someone did some research of some sort to know this answer scientifically...

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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [tri-ski] [ In reply to ]
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I get good workouts on an exercise bike at the gym but have a hard time doing it on a trainer. My average HR is always lower on the trainer.

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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [QuintanaRooster] [ In reply to ]
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Your training logs are for you. It's up to you how you want to record it. Nobody but you really cares if you worked out for 25 hours this week 27 hours. Personally, I'd rather be honest with myself. If I ride 1hr on the trainer I record it as one hour and then make a note that it was on the trainer. At the end of the week or year I like to see that i spent XXX hours riding. If I write down 90 minutes when I'm only on the trainer for 60 minutes I'm basically lying to myself at the end of the year. Just my .02 though.
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [tri-ski] [ In reply to ]
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I should let the more knowledgeable people speak on this topic, but I will chime in anyway. I am pretty sure the 1.5:1 ratio was developed before the advent of power meters. It most likely takes into account the fact we have a tendency to coast, or we have to coast, more on the road while the trainer pedaling is continuous. Thus, lower pnorm and KJ's.

With that said, if you have a power meter, a 60-minute ride with avg Watts X, and a pnorm of Y and a KJ output of Z is the same whether it is on the road or on the trainer. Chances are though you will put out more focused power on the trainer as you don't coast. However, it seems people can sustain harder efforts outdoors which may offset coasting. So, take the 1.5:1 ratio for what it is worth.
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [AndyPants] [ In reply to ]
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You are my hero!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

peace

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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [sxevegan] [ In reply to ]
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I have been logging in my trainer workouts in real time as I, like you, would feel like I was cheating myself but I still believe that my 1 hour trainer workouts are of higher intensity and better quality than my 1 hour road rides. The only exception is if I were to go out and do a high effort group ride "balls to the walls" with my roadie friends. But I think these kind of work-outs are counterproductive to me and how I train for tris.



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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [tri-ski] [ In reply to ]
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Like others here I book it 1 to 1. However I tend to do more sessions indoors, even in the summer as I find them more effective.

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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [tri-ski] [ In reply to ]
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I post 1 for 1 for stationary rides but I track my miles as indicated on the YMCA Cybex stationary bikes. For spin class days or days on my trainer in the basement, I estimate 18 mph avg for my time. In the wintertime, nearly all my miles are on one of the indoors methods just listed, or on my 40lb MTB....so 130 miles a week in winter is more than 130 miles in the summer. I do keep track of bike time as needed to sum each weeks workout time.
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [tri-ski] [ In reply to ]
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I do not know what the ratio is or the 1.5 is correct but riding my CT is always harder and I get more out of it because I do not have to deal with traffic, weather,etc..If you are after structured training there is nothing better than a CT.
The only difference is it is a lot harder to sit on the bike because there is less give and flexing on the trainer and the seat feels hard as a rock.

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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [tri-ski] [ In reply to ]
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from a physiological standpoint 10 min on the road and 10 min on the trainer everything being equal is equal.

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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [tri-ski] [ In reply to ]
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I wonder what exactly accunts for the ratio?

I know when riding outside, after riding the winter inside, that stick out to me ...

1. Riding outside there are times when you can coast and maintain your speed. I know on one of my routes there is a downhill section where I can essentially coast for almost a mile and not have my speed decrease much. Obviously, on teh trainer, you stop pedalling and your speed goes to zero. I wonder how much "actual" time outdoors is spent coasting, even for just a few seconds at a time? And how much "coasting distance" that adds up to?

2. Perhaps the first thing that "slaps me in the face" when riding outside is the headwind, which around here is usually 15-25mph. I don't feel that trainer time adequaltely prepares one/me for riding into the wind. On days when it's very strong, it can be downright demoralizing ... even if countered by the same tailwind (although it doesn't last nearly as long as the headwind).

I don't think that "bike handling" accounts for much, because I doubt that very many of us that ride indoors in the winter, are swerving all over the road onec we get outside.

I will say compared to the trainer, time outside flies, even if you don't get to watch TV while you're riding.

=======================
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [tri-ski] [ In reply to ]
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Even if this is only fairly accurate, it makes me feel better about my trainer workouts. I'm not getting much time outside due to my work schedule and time of year (wake up in the dark, come home in the dark).
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [tri-ski] [ In reply to ]
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I'm with Desert Dude on this. It may make you feel great and inflate your training log stats to think an hour on the trainer is equal to an hour and a half outside, but there are no shortcuts. Sure, you can't coast on the trainer, but for most people, perceived exertion is so much higher on the trainer relative to the same actual workload outside, that you may not really be getting as good a workout as you think you are.

If some people have better results from the trainer than riding outside, it's only because they are likely to be more focused and structured about the workout than training outside.
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [tri-ski] [ In reply to ]
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For me the terrain of my outside ride, hills and crossroads, calls for more stopping and coasting so the sustained effort I get on the Computrainer is more consistent. Of course I still take a quick break every 30 minutes to wipe up the puddles. I just log it the same but realize the effort is more on the trainer. A total of 13 hours on the Computriner this week is tuff though. Looking forward to Spring already.

Jim
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [tri-ski] [ In reply to ]
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I have wondered about this as I have done a fair amount on the turbo over the last year. I have even done some 3hr+ rides on it this year which is a record for me. I have powermeter but it is set up on my tri bike which is only used on the turbo during the winter so I cannot validate this theory. From the knowledge I have can though I would say that work on the turbo is probably more constant - whihc is why it is great for intervals whilst an out door ride is generally varies in intensity a bit more - so the Normalised power / effective training stress may actually be quite simalar.
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [tri-ski] [ In reply to ]
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Using TSS, generally 1:1, however I can get more trainer miles in than on the road because I am not stopping

I use 1.5h = 2h
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [tri-ski] [ In reply to ]
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I also agree that for training logs, you just put the time you actually trained. No need to inflate it because you rode indoors.
If its about bragging rights, Im more more impressed with the guy who breaks 4:15 half IM or 2:00 Olympic on 5 hours of riding than the guy who rides 10 hours/week.

The trainer allows you to get the work done, take recovery, and do it again. No stop lights, commuting to trails, etc. I do most of my training on the trainer, and use my MTB and 1 group ride in the summer to maintain/improve skills. The trainer rides are done on the TT bike, so i get plenty of time in the aero position.
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [tri-ski] [ In reply to ]
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I don't keep a log so I have no idea how to log trainer hours.

My trainer is a VRT so I have the climbs, wind, coasting downhills and even drafting during a race. So I guess my time would be 1:1. Although the trainer workouts are harder since I'm racing against others for up to an hour. My road rides are alone.

.
.
Paul
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [tri-ski] [ In reply to ]
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the 1.5:1 ratio is BS IMO. I log it as the same time. Time spent, is time spent.

I also don't dink around riding outside, rarely coast and am always working, so I don't notice much of a difference. On the trainer I am really working. No long easy rides; I limit my time to 90-120' max, but do some intense intervals during that time. I can't imagine spending more than 2h on a trainer and see it as worthless. If I do longer stuff on the trainer I may do the following. 1h trainer + 30' run repeating 2-3 times and building intensity.

I look forward to riding on the trainer, because I can easily sit within the specific power range without distractions of stoplights, etc and the deviation from hills, etc. Also, I limit my time and total sessions so that I don't get mental burnout and therefore have much more productive trainer sessions: 2 sessions/week in the winter (3 if it really sucks outside), always keep 1 session/week during all weeks including summer.

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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [slugchowder] [ In reply to ]
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Coach Troy says an hour on the trainer is worth 80 minutes on the road. I hope he is right but I just count actual time.
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [desert dude] [ In reply to ]
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[reply]
from a physiological standpoint 10 min on the road and 10 min on the trainer everything being equal is equal.[/reply]

Well, that's exactly the question being debated. If everthing was equal, then there is no argument. The question whether or not cyclist spend more energy in 10 minutes on the trainer as opposed to 10 minutes outside. I think for most people, the intensity varies based on a number of factors.

The only way to know for sure is to use a power measuring device to compare your own indoor workout with your own outdoor workout. For any ONE individual, they may find that their indoor rides are consistently more work overall due to the constant power output. Other's may find that they do not work as hard indoors as outdoors and therfore the total work done indoors is LOWER.

I've talked with people who use power who have done such comparisons, and one finds his rides to be equal, and the other finds her rides to be less intense indoors.

You can't make the same assumption for everbody, but when a coach like Chris Carmichael, which is were I first read it, says that a 1 hour trainer ride can be substituted for a 1.5 hour outdoor ride, I think that probably reflects that for most of the athlete's he's worked with it's true.

If you really want the answer, you'll need to buy yourself a power meter, and then the question will be moot anyway.

Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Steel City Endurance Coaching


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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [tri-ski] [ In reply to ]
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I thought that was an interesting 'rule of thumb' when I read it too in the Triathlete Magazine, but I wouldn't trust it. There was nothing at all regarding how they came to that conclusion. It seems pretty arbirtary to me.

When doing the training log, I always just log what I did. Simple as that. I think problems arise when people start playing games translating one workout to another. Its apples and oranges. I remember a thread a while ago when someone asked how many miles they could log for 45 minutes of aquajogging. I found that ridiculous. Log it as 45 minutes of aquajogging.

A training log is useless unless it is accurate, so translating trainer time to road time is pointless.

I think of it also as saying, "Oh, I ran four miles today in the rain and wind uphill. That would be worth seven miles on a nice sunny day on flat terrain. I'll log it as seven miles." That proposition is absurd, just as absurd, in my mind, as logging trainer miles as anything other than trainer miles.




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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [zone2] [ In reply to ]
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" "Oh, I ran four miles today in the rain and wind uphill. That would be worth seven miles on a nice sunny day on flat terrain. I'll log it as seven miles." That proposition is absurd, just as absurd, in my mind, as logging trainer miles as anything other than trainer miles. "

Really. So if I'm training this year for a 1/2 IM and it snows four inches the day before a long run and I go out for 2 hours, I get an average HR of 150 for my run, but I only ran 14 miles because the footing was so bad I should log that as a 14 miler. (My online training log primarily tracks mileage, not time)

Next year when I look at my prep for the same race and I want to replicate it, should I go out and run 14 miles at 150 bpm? No. I shouldn't. I should run 17 miles in about 2 hours because that's what got me the fitness that I had the year before. Not a 14 miler!

So, if I'm on a trainer this weekend and I ride for 1 1/2 hours at a good steady rhythm without stopping--what might I have to do on the road next year to replicate that session were I to go outside. (I don't have a power meter) Well, I'd better plan on a longer ride than 1 1/2 hours because there's stopping, slowing down, turning and worrying about cars when I'm on the road. It might take me 2 hours or 2:15 to exact the same training stress in an uncontrolled environment.

Training logs can have different purposes--I may use mine differently that you use yours. My log entries may make no sense to you and I really don't care what you're logging in yours. But that's not important.

My training log only needs to make sense to me. Yours only needs to make sense to you. You should log trainer miles as you see fit. Why do you care how someone else logs their miles?

We're not competing in a training log contest--
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [tri-ski] [ In reply to ]
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I was wondering if there's a difference between time spent on a trainer verses time on a spin bike. I feel the trainer gives a better workout myself.
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [bobcowin] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
I was wondering if there's a difference between time spent on a trainer verses time on a spin bike. I feel the trainer gives a better workout myself.

Yes, there are pretty significant differences. You want to spend as much time in the saddle of your race bike as you can -- even if that means it is parked in the training. Riding your race bike in the trainer will allow you to adjust to the seat, hold race position, gain or maintain flexibility in the aero position, get more comfortable on your bike, and prepare for being able to hit the road. Spin bikes have their place -- don't get me wrong -- their place is for spinning classes to break up the monotony of indoor riding. However, you cannot replicate the feel of the road bike on the trainer by using a spin bike.

The one exception may be the Cyclops stationary bike w/ the built-in power meter (cannot remember the name). It is highly adjustible and gives you the ability to monitor power. However, no matter how close you get, it is not your race bike.

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Last edited by: JSA: Feb 5, 07 13:33
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [bobcowin] [ In reply to ]
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I think the spin bike is good in that it encourages a high cadence with a smooth pedal stroke because of the heavy fly wheel.

But like the previous poster said--it's not your bike.
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [cdanrun] [ In reply to ]
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Can't you just enter your actual distance/time and ADD a note stating what the weather conditions were that day instead of inflating your logs?

Jorge Martinez
Head Coach - Sports Science
E3 Training Solutions, LLC
@CoachJorgeM
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [slugchowder] [ In reply to ]
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"I can't imagine spending more than 2h on a trainer and see it as worthless."

-- I've heard/read this a number of times and don't get it. Do the same people who think this think that anything over 2 hours out on the road is also worthless? What's the difference they swear by?
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [thunderlegs] [ In reply to ]
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I see it as not worthwhile (at least for me) because is not necessary at this time of the year. IMO one is better off doing shorter, more focused training when required to be indoors, so that you improve fitness without trashing your head during the process. I know if I spend every weekend doing 5-6h rides on the trainer that I would be soooo burned out by race time. If your race requires you to do this type of training, then it is too early in the season for the region you live in. Time/perspective outdoors is much different than indoor training. Too many times, people get on the trainer and slog through a workout without goals and with an intensity that overall isn't challenging their fitness....thus unproductive or not worthwhile. I get outdoors whenever I can unless it is really nasty, and will often complement a solid 2-3h outdoor ride with some extra focused intervals on the trainer. Bottomline, I limit trainer time as much as possible (2/week in winter) so that my sessions are much more productive.

If you want to do 6h rides on your trainer, go for it. I am going to spend my time doing focused rides with harder intervals to elevate my FT so come springtime I will be much faster and have plenty of time for the long stuff. The rest of my time will be spent focusing on run volume/frequency and other limiters that are more appropriately addressed at this time of year. I guarantee I will be much fresher mentally come race time.

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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [desert dude] [ In reply to ]
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how often does it equal out? Do you usally have to ride 1.5x more outdoors to get it to do so? ;)

Dan
www.aiatriathlon.com

http://www.aiatriathlon.com
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [Jorge M] [ In reply to ]
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"Can't you just enter your actual distance/time and ADD a note stating what the weather conditions were that day instead of inflating your logs? "

I do both. I'm not doing it to inflate my log. I'm thinking "What will I have to do to replicate this training next year if I ride outside?" That's my thought process and riding outside is my baseline.

Next year, when I look at my log I can look at my long rides and get an idea for how long I was riding without reading each entry to see if I was on a trainer or not.
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [slugchowder] [ In reply to ]
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I'd say there is a lot of room between 2 hours and 6 hours. The only reason that I can agree with for not doing longer sessions is the burnout factor, if it applies. Meaning different people are going to react in different ways, at different lengths of time - I just don't see why 2 hours seems to be thrown out as some magical number, especially when coupled with phyisiological benefits. I have earned significant improvements in my cycling and endurance through this winter with a lot of hours on the trainer - and no mental burnout. Time of year shouldn't apply to the question though as I'm wondering why folks seem to have a blanket rule "no trainer rides over 2hrs."
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [cdanrun] [ In reply to ]
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Don't even keep track of actual time and distance ... just record whatever you "think" you did. That's what I do. It's very liberating.

Just last week, for example, in one workout I ran 15.7 miles in 1:23:56. It was a new PR for me, and I'm stoked. I think I'll probably set a new PR sometime next week. =)

Using this method, my swim times and distances are just light years ahead of where they were when I was logging actual time swimming and actual distance covered.

I may actually write a book about this method and start my own coaching service.

=======================
-- Every morning brings opportunity;
Each evening offers judgement. --
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [thunderlegs] [ In reply to ]
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"...as I'm wondering why folks seem to have a blanket rule "no trainer rides over 2hrs."

I go over 2 hours all the time but it does seem like over 2 hours is when you really have to want it – especially if you have been doing a good interval workout for the prior 120 minutes. If the mental focus is not there it gets ugly real fast. That’s probably as good an explanation as there is.
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [tri-ski] [ In reply to ]
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Trainers and treadmills are controlled environments so it is easier to focus your workout. However, IMO, trainers and spin classes are an extremely poor simulation of an outdoor environment. For example, when my spin instructor yells out that we're on a 12% grade and to "move up one gear" (I have NO idea what this means), everyone in the class stands up but their cadence doesn't change much from when they were doing sprints on the imaginary flat road. Granted, many of these sweaty folk have never been on a real road bike but, even I tend to cheat a little; not because I want to but it just feels better to move those pedals faster and I'm totally guessing what the grade would feel like in terms of resistance. In the great outdoors, it is impossible to cheat the hill (unless you are Floyd Landis). I have always been of the opinion that 1 hour on the trainer is worth maybe 45 minutes on the road -- the opposite of what Triathlete Mag is suggesting.

What really matters, in the end, is how well you can ride/run on a real road. If I can run 10mph on a treadmill, it doesn't do me much good if this only converts to 8mph on the road. I'll take a real world ride/run any day.

I guess I'd just like to see the reasoning behind this study. I tend to take many of these types of articles, especially the ones in Bicycling Magazine, with a grain of salt. These publishers have pressure to come up with fresh content every month so I think they're willing to throw out just about anything; regardless of how well it has been researched.
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [cdanrun] [ In reply to ]
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Yes, you are right, we aren't competing in a training log contest. And I can understand the rationale you have for how you do your log. I just think it is comparing apples and oranges. Trainer miles are different than road miles. Snow miles are different than sunny weather miles. And like I said before, a training log is useless unless it is reliable and consistent. So converting apples to oranges is problematic, at least I think so. But to each his own. You say tomatoe; I say tomatoe.




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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [zone2] [ In reply to ]
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A training log is useless unless it is accurate, so translating trainer time to road time is pointless.

But wouildn't not translating trainer time to road time make it useless when comparing workout to workout (or week to week).

First, I don't think comparing road to a trainer is necessarily comparing apples to oranges. Suppose I have scheduled a two hour "endurance" ride. (I recognize the definition of an "endurance" ride or Level XX or whatever varies.) I think a two hour "endurance" ride on the road is significantly comporable to a 1.5 hour ride on the trainer, assuming the 2:1.5 ratio I use is accurate.

In week one, I log 6 hours of "endurance" riding on the road. In week two, I actually ride 4.5 on the trainer. When reviewing the log, I'd ilke to be able to compare my training from week to week. If I only log 4.5 hours for week two, I won't know the weeks are comparable unless I delve deeper to see that the time spent in week two was on the trainer. It gets more difficult to do this when I ride a good mix of on the road and on the trainer. It makes it easier to monitor my training over time. And I'm not lying to myself, as I still indicate where the ride took place and whether it was on the road or the trainer.

That being said, I don't use the 2:1.5 conversion when doing intervals or repeats. I think those are closer to a one to one ration, as I'm less likely to coast or stop at signal lights when doing intervals on the road.
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [TripleThreat] [ In reply to ]
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I swam 300 yards in a pool of jello the other day...I read somewhere that a 300 yard jello swim is equivalent to a 600 yard pool swim. I recorded as much in my log.

It was a sweet workout.
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Re: bike trainer time vs road time [zone2] [ In reply to ]
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why not the simple solution and just log the damn hours as they are? people want to compare between years, so you look at the training log and it says, rode on trainer for 2h due to crappy conditions outside, and that's what it is. so the next year at that time it was nicer and you were able to get outside...good for you. these things even themselves out. complicating things by having to extrapolate how many hours that would be if you were on the road compared to indoors only makes it more difficult. i have no problem comparing logs over several years by logging the workout as it is.

however, for you more complicated people i have derived a mathematical formula that precisely converts trainer hours into road hours and vice versa.

T(r)= {T(t) * Abs(E - Ent)} + log[(x + R)\t] or

T(t) = {T(r) - log[(x + R)\t]}\Abs(E - Ent)

T(r): time (road equivalent); T(t): time (trainer equivalent); t: temperature in Kelvin; x: # of turns on trainer resistance unit; R: resistance setting on trainer (for fluid or outdoors use R=1); Abs: absolute value; E: emotional status (motivated 2, neutral 1, unmotivated 0); Ent: entertainment (nothing 0, music only 1, TV 2)

More accurate than the 1.5 x trainer time...

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Last edited by: slugchowder: Feb 6, 07 12:26
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