I will be on a ship with a VERY basic trainer, and no internet for 8 weeks

HI all, I’m new to TR and hope you can help me make the most of being away for 2 months. For example, I’ve read that you can DL workouts to store for later riding and I’d like to DL a whole block.

Also, I won’t have my bike, a fancy trainer, or even any sensors aside from HRM. How can I try to do what TR is telling me to do? Just go by perceived effort?

I know this is a weird request but believe it or not, there are still some places in the world where internet is mostly non-existent. :slight_smile: Thanks for the tips!

The outdoor versions of the workouts have an RPE option, i.e., warmup 10 minutes at 3, 10 minutes at 7 (or whatever). It would be tedious, but you could write them all out in a notebook and follow them.

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Use RPE and HR, but just bear in mind that HR won’t always be the same for the same effort.
Perhaps use some of your HR numbers from previous trainer efforts and use those as a gauge if you’re performing the same workouts whilst you’re away.


Just a few notes on when I did something similar:

  • Cooling-- not enough, never enough, not even close. I ended up buying a fan from a local CVS and donating it to the hotel gym when I left-- you’d need to bring one with you (above anything, I’d do this!)
  • Lean towards doing simpler RPE workouts-- things like Kaweah/Ebbetts/Bays. Workouts where there’s distinct ‘distance’ between recovery/threshold/sprint.
  • Bikes always seem to be a limited resource at the hotel gyms I’ve been to (as in, they have a single bike and 10 treadmills) so I felt a bit of a git using one for a solid 90/120 minutes-- so limiting myself to harder efforts up to 60min helped assuage my guilt-- this also ties in with cooling-- as everyone else is jogging along with nary a bead of sweat, whereas I’m filling a swimming pool around me. Your mileage may vary on that though!
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I’ll echo @doobeh - above all else, figure out if you can bring a blower fan (or any kind of fan that you can position well) with you. Then use the outdoor version of the workouts that go by rate of perceived exertion.

In environments where you can’t control the cooling as much as you’d like, I’ve found (and I think @Nate_Pearson mentioned this on a podcast) that VO2max intervals with an equal ratio of work duration to rest duration (e.g., 2 minutes at RPE 9, then 2 minutes spinning easy) work well, because the longer work duration, the worse the heat builds. Going by RPE and using a very simple structure like that, all you really need is a stopwatch.

Over the course of two months you can mix in more progress by increasing the length of the individual intervals (starting at 1 minute, working up to 3-5 minutes) and slowly working up from 15 minutes total VO2max effort to 20 minutes. Maybe increase the total duration every week by 30-60 seconds, while increasing the length of individual intervals by 60 seconds every week (reducing the number of intervals as appropriate to hit the right total duration).

If you have the money, a pair of power pedals can go onto almost any indoor bike. Garmin’s Vector 3 pedals are the best for this, but the Favero Assioma pedals work on quite a few indoor bikes as well.

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I’m going to the Arctic in late autumn so I’m not expecting cooling will be an issue. Polar low storms may be a bigger problem, but you never know though.

Good suggestion for simpler RPE workouts. It makes sense that if I’m using rough estimates of effort, distinct gaps will be necessary. Also, I think the bikes may be a limited resource so you’re probably right about not doing the crazy long workouts.

I think I can make this work.

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Be careful if the boat has steam heat! You will still need sufficient cooling and fans

I believe you will need to reconnect at some point to authenticate your membership, maybe @mcneese.chad can confirm?

I don’t know the answer to that, unfortunately.

Maybe it’s best to email support@trainerroad.com to get a firm answer.

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On a ship - this was the biggest problem I faced. The stationary bikes were right by a big sunny window and there were no fans. And the staff weren’t used to a guy doing max effort 30 second repeats, so they legitimately came over with expressions of concern at the level of distress they saw. Better to let them know you work out hard but that you will be fine.

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So here’s my 10-week setup onboard ship:

Fortunately I can connect my TR app every couple of days via LTE, so I can’t speak to how long between logins. I also have very effective AC on the ship, as well as my fan with me, but cooling is still hard in a space this small. I heat that room up in no time flat.

But, I’ve been able to make it work.

From past experiences where I didn’t have the space or ability to get my bike and trainer on the ship, I’ve made do with LifeCycle bikes and a small handheld usb rechargeable fan for additional cooling. I kept everything zone 2 by HR and would ride up to 2.5 hrs at a time. It’s mostly miserable, but running on a treadmill at sea is even worse!

I did almost six weeks of my base phase last year on life cycles on the ship, still managed to build enough fitness to go under 2:30 for my 70.3 bike leg. Not as fast as if I’d have full TR access, but it was better than nothing! Good luck!


This has nothing to do with pain cave setups on ship, I’m just curious what sort of work is going to keep you out for that many days?

I used to be a merchant marine and spent some time working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration up in Alaska, so I can appreciate the difficulty of keeping fit while at sea. Back then I was more of a runner, which when I worked for NOAA was good because we had a treadmill in the focsle (though I second the opinion that there is little worse than running on a treadmill while underway, our treadmill was even oriented athwartships so as the vessel rolled you went from running “downhill” to a pretty steep gradient up every few seconds, it was terrible). The toughest place to keep fit was when I worked on tugs in NYC. All we had was a crap stationary bike from the 80’s (complete with a fan for a front wheel and handlebars that moved back and forth as you pedaled). The bike was down in a line locker surrounded by diesel tanks with no real air flow, it was not a nice place to exercise.

Best of luck finding a good setup, and stay safe out there. It’s been more than a decade now since I shipped out, and there are certainly elements of it that I still miss.

It might be heretical but why not some of the old Sufferfest videos (sorry Nate!) and do them based on RPE/Heartrate?

Why not get a yearly subscription? No need to check In I think

I train indoors all winter in Michigan. Outdoor temperature means nothing :wink: Unless your trainer is next to an open window, cooling is going to be an issue.

Heart rate while not perfect is a fine alternative to power when it is not available. If you do TR workouts between now and when you leave, you should be able to get a decent enough feel for RPE plus HR to be pretty close to the actual power targets.

Remember that most non pro cyclists did not have power meters of any kind until about 6 or 7 years ago and they’ve only had wide use among pros for 20 years or so.

I want to thank you all for the input. After doing a basic airplane mode test on the 100% no-eletronics spin bike here in my office it seems the best thing will be to write down a bunch of outdoor RPE workouts on a notepad, load up Strava and a podcast on my phone and power away.

I definitely agree that cooling is important. I think in this case, similar to when I went down south the bikes are set up in the vacant helicopter hangar. It’s not really heated and the doors may even be open much of the time. I’ll probably start with a couple of layers then peel them away as I heat up.

It’s going to be a pain, but I do have a couple of Nov, Dec goals to keep motivated. It will be interesting to finally use TR in its full glory on my own bike with a smart trainer in a few months.

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Thanks for all of your work with NOAA. It’s important work that is very underappreciated. I’d bet most people don’t even know people are out at sea. All they can relate to are the guys from Deadliest Catch who seem more like modern day 49ers.

I’ll be on an icebreaker supporting scientists doing oceanographic work.

Question somewhat related - if you have no wifi, will the TR app save your workouts and upload them when you have internet? or once you close the app they are gone?