Consistency - If time is your limfac, there is nothing better than an indoor smart trainer. You can get solid work in w/ three 60 min workouts during the week and two 90 min workouts on the weekend. The key to improving is consistency, so set your training plan and follow it. If you have a demanding job and busy family life remember that no one misses you before 7AM! TrainerRoad’s calendar feature is extremely helpful in this regard. If you follow the 28 week Base>Build>Specialty plan you can’t help but get stronger/faster and you can do it all before your kids get out of bed. I’m sure this leaves a lot to be desired in terms of bike handling skills, but future (ultra fit) me can worry about that.
Nutrition - You have to fuel your training with quality carbs such as quinoa, steal cut oats, sweet potatoes, fruit, veggies, ect. I started tracking my daily intake w/ myfitnesspal and was shocked to learn that I was eating far more fat, and far less lean protein and carbs than I expected. I’m now targeting 2k calories a day, w/ 60% carbs, 20% lean protein & 20% fat. Since doing this I have felt far better on the bike (and in general) and I’ve managed to drop 10 lbs without ever really feeling hungry.
Rest - Rest is a part of the plan, so resist the temptation to train on your rest days, even if you feel fine. I’ve found that I feel far better and come back stronger when I adhere to the prescribed rest, or even drop the intensity slightly or take a back pedal before completely blowing up on a hard interval. Remember that you’re actually adapting to the training stress and getting stronger during rest and recovery.
Cadence - I’ve found that I can reduce muscle fatigue while holding the same power output by increasing cadence. Example: pushing 250W at 70 RPM I’ll feel lactic acid build to a breaking point after 2 - 3 minutes, but if I increase cadence to 95 RPM the lactic acid will start to dissipate and I can hold that output for 4 to 5 times longer. Power = torque x speed… that is, increased leg speed = reduced muscle fatigue at the same power output. I have found that this does engage a bit more of your aerobic system and you will see a heart rate increase, but it is more sustainable than muscle fatigue. Future me will have to address very steep, low cadence climbs.
Cooling - The in-laws came to visit so I moved the trainer from a slightly hot upstairs bedroom w/ generally poor circulation to the garage where it has been cool and breezy and I felt a significant increase in performance. I thought I was pretty well heat adapted, so this one really surprised me. I have one nice fan, but I now realize that two is the correct amount of fans for indoor training.
So that’s my rookie $0.02 thus far. Thoughts? Anything off the mark? I’m sure I’ll have a lot more lessons to learn going forward.