Indoor training programmes w/o power?

Harry182 Posts: 1,169
Hoping to pick the collective mind of the BR cognescenti --

I'm looking to follow an indoor training programme over the winter. I don't have a power meter and my trainer is "dumb".

What I do have is Planet X resistance rollers, Heart rate monitor, speed + cadence sensors, laptop with Ant+ dongle and, if relevant, a Garmin Edge 25 and iPhone.

I'm currently recording sessions on Strava and training to GCN workout videos. The GCN vids are good for what they are but I'd like to go beyond riding to perceived effort.

Is there a training app or web-based programme that uses virtual speed and/or HR targets during its workout sessions? I'm interested to hear how other non-power types are pursuing their indoor training.


  • Harry182
    Harry182 Posts: 1,169
    Right -- I've done a bit of research and will be trying MaximumTrainer. The basic setup is free so no risk there. They have a power curve for my specific trainer so can display virtual power, along with virtual speed, cadence, HR, etc... I'll do they're FTP test in the next few days and will report back.

    I'm still interested in reading about what others are doing. Anyone use Zwift without a power meter or smart trainer?
  • ravey1981
    ravey1981 Posts: 1,111
    Basically everything that uses virtual power, and that includes zwift, trainer road etc are generally a mile out when it comes to readings. Perceived effort is actually a very good way to train if you don't have power. Alternatively, train to your heart rate zones... its how it was done before power was around. That being said if you use virtual power and keep all other variables to a minimum, ie make sure your tyre pressure is always the same than even though the actual readings may be off you can still use them for training and progression purposes. Let us know how you go on with MaximumTrainer, never heard of it. FYI I use zwift and a Tacx Vortex Smart. Its been well worth the initial outlay as I actually get on the turbo where as before zwift I just didn't bother....
  • cgfw201
    cgfw201 Posts: 674
    I used virtual power on TrainerRoad and Zwift for ages until I got a power meter.

    I was surprised by how accurate VP was given how much bad press it got. If you set up your turbo right, the software knows it's power curve and you put your weight etc in correctly, it'll be pretty good. It's also consistent ride on ride which is the main thing.

    It was within 2.5% of my Quarq pm, which is not too bad given how basic the setup is.
  • Harry182
    Harry182 Posts: 1,169
    Thanks for the feedback and comments on virtual power. As ravey notes, I don't need to be too concerned with power accuracy as I won't be racing virtually or otherwise. As long as I get a power metric that's comparable/consistent from session to session then that's all I'm really after. I won't mind if it's a mile out so long as it's overestimating.

    I do really like the idea of Zwift and reckon it would provide extra motivation. But, unfortunately, I currently have other financial priorities (and an other half to constantly remind me of these.)

    Tomorrow I'll be doing an FTP trial run...
  • jgsi
    jgsi Posts: 5,062
    On Zwift especially, this virtual power has a bit of a bad rap because it is very easy to spin up with some turbo trainers ,thus spiking the power readout massively. This gives a corresponding w/kg number, gives a corresponding increase in "speed", you can see why in Zwift racing ZP is not universally liked. Having said that, some so called smart trainers can be hacked to give the same effect.
    Doing hard intervals on either TrainerRoad or Sufferfest (their videos are still the standard) , you wont get this issue and can work to fairly accurate power zones.
  • fat daddy
    fat daddy Posts: 2,605
    I would go with the virtual power option .... the figure it gives might well be inflated, deflated or in bananas .... to be honest the number is irrelevant unless you are racing and even then it should only matter if you are CAT A ... because less face it when you win in cat C ... you arnt actually winning, you are placing 25th as all the A's and B's beat you ... so one more person with a miss calibrated Zpower beating you should make any difference as that person could just be another one of a million people that are better than you anyway.

    WOW - I digressed.

    where was I .... oh yes, the number is largly irrelevant ... however its consistant, so its good to train with and set your workouts by ... if you are 270bananas for your FTP ... workout using the different percentages bassed on your bannanas then at the end you might be 300bananas ... oooh an increase of 30 bananas

    virtual power woks for training .. IF .. you are using it to compare yourself against yourself
  • navrig2
    navrig2 Posts: 1,851
    ravey1981 wrote:
    FYI I use zwift and a Tacx Vortex Smart. Its been well worth the initial outlay as I actually get on the turbo where as before zwift I just didn't bother....

    I am the sdame but with the Vortex and TrainerRoad. Bfore that investment the turbo was a trudge and rarely got much beyond 20 minutes and when I managed 40 minutes I was usually so knackered that I couldn't face it again for weeks.

    I've had the new setup since January and in 9 months I have done more turbo work than I did in the previous 5 years combined.

    Perceived effort, for me, was a complete waste of time. I haven't tried virtual power.
  • You can try also Sufferfest or some ERGDB programs with GoldenCheetah
  • jgsi
    jgsi Posts: 5,062
    Sufferfest does rock old school nowadays - combined with erg or mrc files, it makes for satisfying free training... I have bought 25 of the videos over the years.
    I dont pay subs online with anything else but PayPAL, Sufferfest please note ! I do not use credit card online end of.
  • Harry182
    Harry182 Posts: 1,169
    That was interesting -- Used the Maximum Trainer software for the first time today and did an (ultimately aborted) FTP test. Actually did half the session twice: The first time, halfway through the test, the app crashed/became unresponsive. The second go round, I crashed/became unresponsive halfway through the test.

    Software/hardware issues notwithstanding, I did like it overall. I liked having the large graph displays of speed, cadence and HR. Also, the displayed graph of my virtual power juxtaposed with the power target was very motivating/made it hard to slack during the interval efforts. Looking forward to the next go round (which would probably indicate I wasn't trying hard enough.)

    Preliminary FTP results suggest that the virtual power may as grossly inaccurate/underreported as suggested above. (At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.)
  • Harry182
    Harry182 Posts: 1,169
    Having said all that, I do think Zwift would provide more fun/motivation/effective training. But this will (have to) do until I can upgrade equipment.
  • I have a non smart turbo and tend to use GCN, CTX and Turbo Tripping videos to cycle along with. These all give cadence, effort zones and when to stand etc so I find them good. Can't be arsed with Zwift and can't see me using it enough per month to justify paying for it (not expensive but don't see point). If I had a smart trainer than Zwift be worthwhile but for dumb ones can't see it myself. Note- I did free trial with Zwift so did a few rides so I have tried it.
  • Matthewfalle
    Matthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    Loads of stuff on British Cycling website at the mo'.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • Harry182
    Harry182 Posts: 1,169
    Loads of stuff on British Cycling website at the mo'.

    Excellent. Will be checking these out hoping they can be downloaded and imported to MT.

    Does anyone know of any (other) sources for downloadable training plans and/or sessions?
  • Mapaputsi
    Mapaputsi Posts: 104
    Last winter was my first winter on a turbo (dumb, no power meter) and I followed the improvers training plan on British cycling just using my HR. It is slow to start but in 8 weeks or so you'll be doing 2 x 20 and VO2 Max sessions that are killer!

    Progressed to one of the more advanced ones then (can't remember now which) and it got very very hard, there were some over/unders that are not really possible with HR alone, but my fitness came on massively.

    Would recommend if you are a relative newbie like I was