Turbo Trainers: What to do?

Easy tips to prevent boredom on your turbo trainer

Tacx Ironman Turbo Trainer

This might be your first winter and you just picked up your first Turbo Trainer so be prepared for long hours.  Or maybe you’ve done it before but can’t bare to make it to the end of your training session. To prevent boredom on Turbo Trainers here are some tips and tricks I’ve gathered from around the web to keep you going and motivated in your pain cave.

What to do on your Turbo Trainer

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Audio Books

Audio Books are an easy way to keep your mind occupied for hours on end. Solid stories or inspirational and motivational subjects. Nothing can beat a good audio book. Two nice audio books for triathlon are:

  • You are an IronMan
    New York Times bestselling author Jacques Steinberg takes listeners inside the Ironman triathlon. (11 hours 38 minutes, that should keep you occupied..)
  • I’m here to win
    McCormack shares his story along with training tips and practical advice to help readers develop their own routines, diet, exercise programs and race strategies. (8 hours 51 minutes)

You can download one book for free if you register at audiobooks.com

Triathlon Podcasts

Listening to a podcast can be a bit easier if you have trouble staying tuned in the whole time, as the subject changes quickly. So if your mind wonders off for a minute you can easily tap back in. There are heaps of really good triathlon podcasts with weekly or monthly editions to keep you going amongst our favorites are:

For more inspiration have a look at Player.FM’s list of triathlon podcasts. And for Android I recommend Podcast Republic

Watch more TV

This is your chance to catch up on all those series your non triathlon buddies are talking about (but why are you still talking to them? really…).
Setup your turbo trainer so you can view your TV or Laptop and start that Netflix marathon of Game of Thrones, Modern Family or any good movie you’ve been wanting to see. Swap out the popcorn for some good bars and the beers for energy drinks.

Or you can watch Challenge Bahrain in full, for 9,5 hours:


Have a buddy come over

You’re not the only one struggling and why shouldn’t you meet up with your normal training buddies? If you have the space set up your turbo trainers next to each other and have a chat. It will be just like a ride outside but without the scenery. Hey maybe you can just watch Netflix together. It will be a lot nicer.

Virtual Racing

Sufferfest and Trainerroad

Sufferfest and Trainerroad provide video to watch on your Turbo with coaching and good sessions. Trainerroad can even hook up your ant+ power meter to see how you are doing and make it truly a virtual race or ride.

Interactive Tacx Turbo

The Tacx brand also has interactive software so you can hook up your Tacx Turbo to to your computer, tablet or smartphone. This allows you to virtually climb mountains or race a criterium. It’s a bit of an investment, but take in all the hour’s you’ll spend it might be absolutely worth it.

Other tips

Besides making the sessions more enjoyable, here are some other tips and tricks for turbo trainers and rollers.

Set up a fan

As I understand you have heaps of fans like any triathlete, I’m talking about the ones that keep you cool. Set up a fan to get some head wind as you will get over heated! Add an extension cord with a switch within reach so you can switch it on and off when you like without getting off the bike.

Reduce the noise

Pick up a good rubber mat like Elite’s Training Mat to put under your turbo trainer, it’s designed to absorb vibrations and noise. Especially if you have wooden floors, your neighbours will thank you. I’ve found that a Yoga mat is a lot cheaper and works somewhat too, not as good though, but it will prevent you from slipping, plus you can use it to stretch afterwards (wipe the sweat of though).

Save money: preventing wear

Your normal tyre will wear out quickly on a turbo trainer, as the roller is pretty small there will be heat building up, softening your rubber and wearing it out. To save some money on expensive tyres you can pick up a special training tyre. These may cost the same or more than a normal tyre, but they’ll last way longer. This will save you money in the long run. Another tip I have is to pick up a cheap rear wheel like the Shimano R501 and cheap cassette matching your brand. So when bad weather hits you, your swap is quick!

Sponsored Links

Just a note about the “links to buy” in this article, as they are sponsored. I do look for the lowest price I can find at the time of writing in a handful of stores, but by using the links I earn from qualifying purchases made through these links.

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