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Matt Bottrill: Winter Training - Turbo Or Road?

06 January 2018

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As a coaching company, we often get asked which is the best way to train through the winter,  especially with limited daylight hours and the cold / icy conditions that the lovely British weather likes to throw at us. Which method is more effective to get that level of training that you need to hit the numbers and build for that racing season goal. So the question is Turbo ...

As a coaching company, we often get asked which is the best way to train through the winter,  especially with limited daylight hours and the cold / icy conditions that the lovely British weather likes to throw at us. Which method is more effective to get that level of training that you need to hit the numbers and build for that racing season goal. So the question is Turbo Vs Road??? 

So we have put this to two of our MBPC coaches to see what they think are the pros and cons of each method! 

Coach Gareth Pymm

Turbo - good in the winter when it's dark, weather is bad/icy. Also good for really specific interval sessions as you don't have to worry about junctions and other road users etc. You can get your head down and crack on. The downside of the turbo is overheating and boredom!

Road - well this is real cycling, isn't it? So much more enjoyable. You get a real feel for the differences, various positions and pacing methods make to the speed. Plus you learn the art of controlling the power on the roads, which is very different to on the turbo and has much better practical implications for racing. And racing is what it's all about! 

Coach Stuart Auckland 

Turbo:

  • You can use it to really practice holding the aero position. Brace your core, hold aero and really nail it. Putting a mirror in front of you helps keep you honest.
  • To help counter the boredom have plenty of films and playlists loaded ready so you don’t faff about trying to find something for motivation.
  • If your workout area is cold this can be off putting. Put a little heater in there and switch it on whilst you get changed - that’ll take the edge off. Then put on the fan when you start training. Make sure you have a good high-velocity fan to ensure effective cooling.

Road:

  • Much better for continuous, steady-state efforts in the winter months. Make sure you have some training wheels with decent tyres to help with the adverse weather and risk of punctures.
  • If you don’t want to use your TT bike then consider fitting aero bars to your roadie to help simulate the aero position. 

Rollers:

  • Don’t overlook these. Whilst you can’t use them for many dedicated sessions, if you have a recovery/L1 ride to do (as if!) - or fancy doing one then try rollers. They’re great for technique. If you can get to the point of riding them for an hour in the aero position at race cadence then it’ll pay dividends come the Spring when you start heading back on the TT bike.  

As you can you can tell there is no right or wrong way, it's down to personal preferences and what suits you as a rider and helps you fit your training into the time you have available and really maximise each session. 

Interested in getting a coach? take the stress out of planning your own training and have that support network to keep you focused with bespoke training plans to your individual needs and goals then get in touch with us at Matt Bottrill Performance Coaching Ltd and make a real difference to your 2017 season. www.mattbottrillperformancecoaching.com

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