The Turbo

I’m currently sitting on a train to Dublin, and this seems to be as good a time as any to write a quick blog update.

I was just following a conversation on Twitter there about turbo sessions, and found myself thinking, as I have on many occasions before, am I the only person in the world that actually likes using a turbo trainer?

I often hear people berate the trainer. It seems to be hated almost as much as the dreaded treadmill, or dreadmill as I personally call it.

I like the trainer. I do. Last night, for example. After we got the kids to bed, Steph and a friend of hers had gone out to a Zumba class, but got stuck in traffic, so they came home and decided to play the Dance Central game on the Xbox as a replacement. So guilt free I retired to the front room to hit the trainer. With the kids asleep and Steph busy, I didn’t have to worry or feel guilty that I should be doing something else. The only worry was the downstairs neighbour, who has on one occasion, complained about the noise of the trainer. But it was only 8pm… so even that worry was appeased.

I turned on the fan, dimmed the lights, queued up a few tracks on the ipod and jumped on the bike for some intervals and had a good solid hour workout. Which I fully enjoyed.

Why do I enjoy it so much? Well… at 8pm at night in Belfast at this time of year, its dark. Cycling in the dark is OK.. but its not the safest thing in the world. Its also cold, so requires about 4 hours of getting ready to actually go outside. Finally.. and most importantly.. I can do completely focused training sessions. Last nights was intervals to build speed and power. When I cycle out on the road, I’m not really very good at this. I just happily cycle along and enjoy it.

Now at the moment, I’m not cycling on the road anyway. I still don’t really have the strength or flexibility in my wrist, and I don’t have the confidence either. This is not the issue though, last night was just a prime example of how enjoyable using the turbo can be. I got a really good hours training session in. My legs feel it this morning much more than an hour on the road would achieve.

Weirdly, the total opposite is true for running. I cannot run on a treadmill. Well, obviously technically I can, I just hate it. Id much rather be outside, regardless of the weather. Rain, wind, snow, whatever. I guess the turbo haters just feel the same way

Now, apart from the fact Id rather be outside.. I also have a bit of a rationale for this loving the turbo and hating the dreadmill thing. I think running outside makes you a much better runner. The wind, hills, fluctuations in the terrain etc are all good for the leg strength and stability in a way that running on a treadmill just wont achieve. Conversely.. If you use it right, I think the turbo can provide very significant gains for cycling. There are no downhills on the trainer. Provided you are using the right resistance and gearing, using the trainer should not be like cycling on the flat. Even a steady state spin should be a like a constant gradual incline. My average speed on the trainer is by default several mph slower than it is on the road.

Fair enough you can set a gradient on the treadmill, but its not the same. Maybe its just personal preference. If you love the treadmill, feel free to comment or drop me a mail !

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2 thoughts on “The Turbo

  1. Your rationale is spot on – it must be a better workout on the turbo than on the road. But I do still believe, despite that, that you are the only person in the world who actually ENJOYS the turbo. Weirdo 😉

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