training and information

Turbo training sessions

Initially this will just be a collection of favourite (can you really say that?) turbo trainer sessions that I've used. As the section develops I'll add other sessions and some specifics about why and how. Martin Harris has kindly donated his turbo trainer schedule which is in the form of an Excel spreadsheet (updated November 6th, 2004). There's a website dedicated to turbo training,, where you can get turbo workouts sent to you on a regular basis for a small fee.


Our current turbo collection comprises 2 Tacx Excel trainers (one a Grand Excel that we are planning to upgrade to an iMagic, a Cateye Cyclosimulator and a Shelford RollerTurbo. One small design fault with the Cyclosimulator is that the computer unit sticks up too far for 650 wheeled bikes with aerobars. Half an hour with a pipe cutter and some tools fixed this!

The main advantage of the turbo trainer is that it allows you to train consistently but you should have the following items to get the best out of it:

IMPORTANT You will need to drink throughout these sessions. Allow for a litre per hour and this is best taken in large portions every 10 to 15 minutes rather than little sips. A fan is really useful to cool you down or you may see your heart rate rising as the body tries to dump heat. The heart rate rises because the blood is being pumped out into all the small vessels near the surface and this may fool you into thinking you're working harder. It is common for the heart rate to rise up to 10bpm and then level out again under these circumstances. If you feel unwell, dizzy or your heart rate continues to rise then back off!

Quick sessions

If you want benefits quickly then the turbo is an excellent tool but you do really have to work. The other side of this is that the sessions can become boring. Sorry, that's BORING!!. The following work for me but I'm sure that plenty of more experienced users will have their own opinions and comments.

30 minutes (A)

This is the simplest session of all, a time trial. Instead of risking life and limb on the road just do a 30-minute all-out session and see how far you get. Make sure that any resistance setting used is recorded so you can repeat the test under the same conditions and see what improvements you are getting. As an added twist you can do this after a swim session and/or add a run session afterwards. If you have access to a running track then you can do this session then a track session as well -- excellent training.

30 minutes (B)

If you only have 30 minutes and want a progressing workout then this is probably as good as it gets and you can see and feel improvements quite quickly. As I don't do long distance events I'm not sure of the benefits there but for sprint and Olympic distance this is probably the shortest session that will get an improvement. This set is extensible in blocks of 10 minutes (interval set plus steady state).

45 minutes

Yes, I know, it's actually 46 minutes! As you improve you can work a progressively harder set of sprockets or add more resistance to the system.

Muscular Endurance

A 75 minute session from Dave Stanton - pre-season when you've got a good bit of winter base riding behind you. The aim is to progressively build this workout as the race season nears; ie week 1 as shown, week 2 as 6 x 7 mins with 3 mins recovery, week 3 as 6 x 8 mins with 3 mins recovery. Then progress to 3 x 10 mins, 3 x 12, etc, until 3 x 20 mins. At this point you'll be well prepared for a 40k PB.

Warm up (20mins)
10 mins easy spinning bringing HR up to 60%
10 mins SL (single leg) as 1 min left, 1 min right concentrating on smooth pedal action.

Main set (45mins)
6 x 6 mins at or near LTHR (Lactate Tolerance HR) with 3 mins easy spinning recovery. Aim for 85-100 rpm and this is intended to be race pace training; ie any harder you'll blow up, any easier and 6 mins is not a struggle.

Warm down (7-10mins easy spinning)

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