Over the past 7-8 years, more and more athletes that I work use a smart trainer for their indoor cycling, and some of the new athletes that sign on to work with me only have experience with a smart trainer and ERG mode on for indoor workouts.
So is this a good thing or bad thing or is it neutral? Like most things, this is not a binary decision of “good” or “bad”, but a continuum. My initial thought was that there’s more bad than good, but I wanted to find out more.
I wrote a post a couple of months ago (Free Speed!) about reconnecting with Dr. Matt Miller, a longtime friend and fellow mountain bike racer.
From his site, www.mtbphd.com :
“Dr Matt Miller is a sports scientist and entrepreneur focused on MTB rider performance. He was the first to publish findings on using FTP to predict MTB race performance and pioneered braking analysis on the trails.
Matt is the Inventor and Founder of BrakeAce, the world's first brake sensor and analysis app. BrakeAce was successfully funded on Kickstarter in August 2021. He has coached gravity and endurance MTB racers 1-on-1, including riders earning multiple USA National Championships and top-10 overall finishes in the Enduro World Series. He continues to consult for major brands in the industry and publish educational science content for mountain bikers.”
When I see how often some folks struggle to find the will to ride their bikes, I realize I’ve been blessed with what seems to be relatively high motivation to ride. I love riding bikes. I really enjoy riding and training, and racing is just the best. I’m usually pumped for solo rides of many, many hours, and rides with friends and family is so amazing I feel like it’s a gift when I’m out there. I can even get fired up to ride my trainer or rollers. And if not fired up, I don’t dread it, at least.
Polarized Training has become quite popular over the past 5 years or so, but after talking about training modality this with many athletes and upon reading and listening to discussions, I believe it is often widely misunderstood. So what exactly is it and why the confusion?
The concept of polarized training was “invented” over 20 years again by sports researcher Dr. Stephen Seiler. Dr. Seiler looked at training data of successful professional endurance athletes and saw a commonality. To over simplify it, they trained either really hard or really easy. Both of these terms are relative terms, of course. And they training really easy about four times as much as really hard. He found that it fell into a breakdown of about 80% low intensity and 20% high intensity.
Coach B.L. is the head coach at BJL Coaching and an avid racer and cycling enthusiast himself.