Ergo training is horrible. However, it works. Maybe it’s raining (or snowing like Greg Henderson experienced in the Milano Sanremo in 2014!). Maybe it’s dark. Maybe you’re injured. Maybe you only have an hour. Do an ergo session. Really, an hour is all you need.
Aside from setting up your ergo properly; music, fan and a towel to soak up blood, sweat and tears, having a standard set of sessions to choose from will help. I have found having a selection of tried and tested sessions to select from helps to avoid the common problem that people face when they get on the trainer; lack of focus and direction. Unlike on the road when we have training buddies or a destination, it is difficult to motivate yourself to get a meaningful session done. Having a selection of simple easy to remember sessions ready to go narrows the decisions you have to make. Choose one, get it done.
The latest ergo training tool is Zwift. It provides you with virtual rides, structured workouts and social group rides. Yes, you can connect online and suffer with others at the same time! Check out the Zwift website for more info.
But if you want to keep it simple then the following sessions are similar, but increasing intensity and differing purposes. I find that I usually need a 20 minute warm-up and 10 minute cool-down. More or less is fine if it works for you, but using this structure you can do a 30 minute main set and be on and off in exactly an hour. I don’t really stand up on a trainer, apart from a few short ‘leg stretchers’ during the warm up. It is difficult to simulate the biomechanics of standing, and it can be unstable or cause damage to your frame.
The sessions may look a little complex on paper, but once you nut them out they really are very simple. It helps to have a HR monitor, but if you don’t here’s a handy guide.
- At 50% you should be able to talk freely without breathing hard, and be able hold it all day. This is walking.
- At 70% you should be able to talk in sentences and hold it for some time, like the length of a long climb. This is like running.
- At 90-100 % you should not be able to talk, except perhaps a swear word here and there. You should not be able to hold this for longer than about a minute. This is like sprinting.