Originally Posted by fallout
The idea of watching a video while pounding away on the trainer (just bought a Cycle-ops Magneto) doesn't appeal to me all that much. Last night I threw on the headphones and jammed out to some Veruca Salt. It seemed to work, but in reality, I have no idea if what I'm doing is helpful at all.
My goal over the past few nights has been to ride fairly strong (mainly in gear 3-4 on the flight deck) for half an hour. Because of the shape I'm currently in, that seems to be about my ceiling right now.
What I'm interested in is ideas you folks have for planning an exercise session that will be benificial to my goals (building stamina for long rides, and getting into better general shape). I'm guessing with the proper pacing I could do an hour, but full out I'm only good for about half that.
Instead of doing a half-hour "all out" (or at your current "fairly strong" level), try breaking the workout into several "intervals" -- that way you can still get in some hard efforts but slowly increase your total time on the bike, thus increasing your endurance. For example, try to cycle hard for 15 minutes, then "recover" for maybe 10 minutes (just spin in an easier gear at a slower pace), and then do another 15 minutes hard effort. You've done a 40 minute workout and you've still got in 30 minutes of hard effort. Of course you should warm-up at least 10 minutes and cooldown 10 minutes after your last hard interval. If you do this a couple of times a week for a couple weeks (and it becomes somewhat easy), you can increase the interval time (from 15 minutes to 17, 18, 19, 20, etc.), and/or decrease the recovery between intervals (from 10 minutes to 7, 6, 5, etc.). There is no end to the possibilities by changing the variables -- more intervals, longer intervals, shorter recovery, harder efforts/easier efforts, etc.
There is lots of info on "interval training" you can check out with a simple search on your favorite search engine -- you can get a lot more specific "sessions" than I gave you (and more detailed, technical explanations of how/why they work).
For your goals of endurance for longer rides and general fitness, I would probably stick with longer duration intervals (at least 5-6+ minutes).
Crank up the tunes and enjoy!!