The static indoor (turbo) trainer has gained popularity amongst triathletes and cyclists as a method of hitting real quality workouts with both specificity and safety ensured. And for this reason I’m a huge FAN!
But, it’s essential to ensure adequate cooling methods are in place when hitting those key indoor sessions. And here’s why:
Energy production in humans is pretty inefficient. When energy is produced from the breakdown of ATP about 70% is ‘wasted’ in the form of heat production (thermogenesis). Some is lost from the body and some hangs around causing an increase in core temperature. On the digital thermometer in my garage training room I regularly see the temperature of the room rise by 2-3 degrees during a 60-90min session, paying testament to how much heat is being produced.
The human mechanism for cooling and therefore maintaining a stable core temperature lies in the ability to sweat. For sweating to efficiently cool us down it needs to evaporate from the skin; we don’t want to see puddles of sweat under the bike when we finish. Sweat that drips from your body is not cooling you down. When core body temperature increases more blood is directed to the skin in an attempt to cool it but it is also needed by the working muscles. So your heart begins to work harder (pulse rate goes up) and the effort begins to feel harder (your RPE goes up). These two (plus a rise in core temp in severe conditions) combine to inhibit our exercise ability and tolerance. Meaning we may underperform or fail to finish a session.
Now, it’s rare to see sweat dripping from our lycra clad bodies when riding outdoors unless the ambient temperature is very high or we are riding very hard and this is largely to do with the airflow across our skin. The consistent flow of air ensures that when sweat presents itself on the skin, it then evaporates cooling us down.
The solution is simple but essential!
A FAN or multiple fans will ensure airflow whilst on the static trainer. I’ve been known to have one in front and one behind on the hottest of days. Open windows and doors to allow a breeze in to your training room and perhaps keep curtains closed earlier in the day if the room is in direct sunlight. A more expensive option could be a plug-in air conditioning unit used before and during your training. By helping your body to remain cool you will vastly improve your chances of success.