Are These Habits Ruining Your Training? – Ask a Cycling Coach 397

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  • 0:16 Should cyclists avoid creatine?
  • 20:59 Why are aerodynamic dimples not used in cycling equipment?
  • 30:54 Is doing your intervals in the middle of longer aerobic rides a good idea?
  • 40:24 Do some athletes have a naturally higher core temp, and does that change the way they should manage heat?
  • 51:26 How much time pedaling while standing is too much time?
  • 58:17 Do short breaks between intervals ruin a workout?


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RESOURCES FROM THIS EPISODE: Do Massage Guns Work, Fainting, Peaking, and More – Ask a Cycling Coach 393 - Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast - TrainerRoad

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Thanks for bringing the Intro back @Jonathan !!! Much much better to hear at the start of the podcast.


Enjoyed the episode! Super insightful.

Zipp still making dimpled wheels, no?


Related to the “no coasting” comment by Jonathan with thoughts from Nate & Keegan, I have similar thoughts. I aim to start a workout and finish it with no coasting whatsoever. I succeed the majority of the time when this is the typical 60-90 minute workouts, but also in my 2-4 hour endurance rides on the trainer.

As the saying goes, “I have no science to back this up”, but I can majorly feel the fatigue from holding constant pressure on the pedals without a single interruption over those long workouts. I’ve heard it said by someone that DOMS isn’t possible on the bike, but my legs sure feel something when I’m stretching this 100% pedal into those extra long workouts.

It isn’t a workout or adaption killer for those that take mini breaks intentionally or accidentally. I’ve had to coast for a moment to snag a dropped bottle or food on occasion, but I think there may be some marginal gains level stuff hiding in pure pedaling efforts.

For anyone that questions it, I suggest nailing a “no coasting” workout and see how it feels compared to their other efforts that had some breaks.


I think there is a little YMMV. At 2 hours, my practical limit for indoors, it takes the same focus to keep a steady upper endurance effort going. Coasting or no coasting.

Last night I did 121+ minutes on Zwift with only 40 seconds of zero cadence (a couple times for Kickr auto calibrate).

Felt just like all the ~2 hour rides I do outside with 2-4% stop time due to traffic lights.

From a neuromuscular point-of-view I believe some will get tired sooner than others. Continuous or nearly continuous pedaling/walking/hiking/running/swimming at 2 hours is a lot of muscle contractions and firings of the nervous system. We aren’t robots.

My aim for outside workouts is to start strong, and finish stronger than I started with a negative split while keeping internal strain (HR and breathing) under control :man_shrugging: “Always be pedaling” but micro breaks to shake off inefficient movement patterns or weird strain increases is a good thing.

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For sure, this is likely the YMMV type of thing. As such, that’s why I suggested people try it if the haven’t made done it or made a conscious effort to pedal 100% of the trainer workout.

With all the hand wringing & hair splitting we see here, it is an easy thing for anyone to try and evaluate for their use. I never bothered to mention it before despite having this thought and goal for many years of my TR use. I only replied here since Jonathan mentioned it and apparently others like Nate, Keegan have similar thoughts. Just sharing another N=1 for consideration.

I find there is usually something to old school training methods even though they are no longer the best way to do things. One of those is riding a fixed gear in the winter. Keeps you pedaling all the time, widens your cadence range and generally moderates your effort level.


Great point, this is a bit parallel to that in essence and maybe even impact. The biggest difference is that fixie and braking forces are sure different than trainer use. But the core “never stop pedaling” aspect is right in line :smiley:

I’m just amazed there are people who stop pedaling while riding a trainer. :man_shrugging:


I will hit the need to coast/back pedal in some of the high intensity workouts when I’m in high Productive and Stretch land. But I never need to do that for the long endurance, which seemed the focus of Jonathan’s comment. I’ve seen some people mention coasting to stand. Could be the oddity of riding a rigid trainer or some other factor that they need to stop pedaling for a standing break, but I always pedal through those too.

Life happens and helping a kid, pet or other unplanned stuff can lead to needs for a short coast. But it it is a regular occurrence, I’d look at the reasons and see if they can be removed/fixed. Again, might be less than even a marginal gain, but the ability to keep on the gas the whole time is an advantage of trainers that I aim to use to it’s fullest.

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Stand up on the pedals for a micro break, to take the load off my butt, and then sit back down and keep pedaling. Its also when the newer Kickr models will auto-calibrate. Kill two birds with one stone kinda thing.

I’m amazed that people suggest sitting and pedaling non-stop for 2 hours. If you need to take a load off to finish a long workout, then just do it. If you feel like something isn’t right, stop and adjust your position on the bike and for all things holy don’t reinforce poor pedaling mechanics just to say “challenge accepted.” If you want your Kickr to auto-calibrate, stand up and stop spinning.

FWIW the podcast comment started out about a 1 hour workout.


I live where it’s flat, so there’s no coasting outside and maybe as a result, it’s never occurred to me to coast inside. I also almost always have Erg on, so that could be part of it. I’m not saying I’ve never stopped and taken a break, but I’d never coast while the clock is running on the workout.


I stand up all the time. At least every 15 minutes, but I don’t stop pedaling

  • For the record, I never stipulated anything of a requirement, and certainly never said it must be “sitting” the whole time. Per my many other discussions with respect to trainer comfort and use, I strongly advocate for standing breaks even in workouts at an hour or less.

  • If you have to coast to stand on the trainer, fine. But I and many other are able to mix in standing breaks of long and short durations with no interruption to pedaling.

  • Again, I never said anything like this. Of course, if things are off or there is any other reason to stop pedaling, DO IT. This was just a comment with my experience and mentioning an option for other to try. Noting as concrete or potentially detrimental as ignoring warning signs of any kind.
  • Yup, and I shared some experience above and beyond that, for reference.

Welcome to deep-dives with TheOtherChad & WindWarrior! :wink: Our first episode was years ago, on the topic of big vs little chainring :tada:

I’ll summarize my perspective after doing a LOT of 2+ hour endurance and 2+ hour endurance+stuff rides for the past 3 years (starting on the Kickr).

Yes, I can feel my legs by the end. In a good way. Some days my legs start asking for a break after 90 minutes, and somedays it takes a full 2 hours of steady endurance with few breaks. On good days I’ll “spike the ball in the end zone” with some punchy efforts. Its not DOMs and quickly passes once off the bike. Same for 3 or 4 hours of steady endurance, although the legs feel ‘pumped’ a little longer after a 3-4 hour ride.

On the 2 hour jobbers, I perceive no difference between, say, doing 121 minutes with 40 seconds of zero cadence on the Kickr, and doing 121 minutes mostly steady with a few power surges (restarting, overpasses, pushing to make a light) and a couple short traffic stops. My marginal gains come from paying attention to body position, maintaining high quality pedaling mechanics (no reinforcement of bad habits), and breathing patterns. Slow my breathing and I’ll slow my heart rate, kinda like training for free diving. N=1 and all that.

Flatland is a lot like riding on a trainer, like @Pbase said everyone around here learns early on to keep pushing the pedals :+1: That all changes when you ride outside in the hills, or even in flatland when hiding in a group and dealing with all the yo-yoing.

If you are coming from rides with a lot of coasting, doing 1 hour steady pedaling might be an eye opener, and by 2 hours your legs will likely be demanding your full attention!


I live in central Alabama. A typical road ride is mostly rolling hills and usually 50 ft/mile of elevation. About 10 years ago, my family made a trip down to the Gulf coast (Cape San Blas, FL) and I took my bike to ride there for the first time. I was very excited at the thought of how far and fast I’d be able to go without having to climb any hills. As it turned out, I was shocked at the struggle it was to be constantly pedaling without any downhills to coast for a bit. Stop pedaling and you quickly stop moving. I have family on the coast now, so I get to ride there a little more, and that is one of my big motivators while spinning away on the trainer.


My last 2 hour trainer ride I did I had 17 seconds of coasting. Kid stuff, dropped earbuds and water bottles and numb nuts can all happen. There is definitely value in choosing flatter low traffic routes for outdoor steady state work. My last such 2ish hour ride I had 2 minutes of coasting.

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