Structured Cycle TrainingCycling

Start Your Cycle Training

Now you’ve got your smart trainer, don’t wait and start your cycle training now.

Depending on the extent you want for your training or indoor riding, there are several ways you can explore the world of cycling training.

——  Basic Training – Use your Cycle computer to drive your Smart Trainer  ——

My Wahoo ELEMNT cycle computer supports several modes of Smart trainer control:

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  • Level – Choice of 10 levels that corresponds to a set of progressive resistance curve. The faster you pedal the harder it gets. Default is ‘3’.
Level Mode Power Curves taken from Wahoo Fitness
Level Mode Power Curves taken from Wahoo Fitness
  • Resistance – Set the brake resistance from 0 to 100%, independent of speed and cadence.
  • ERG – Set target power in watts. The trainer will vary the resistance to maintain a constant power output, independent of speed or cadence.
  • Route – Automatically change the resistance to match with the elevation profile of the selected route.

I have tried “Route” mode on my CycleOps Magnus with a number of different routes. Unfortunately, it seems that ELEMNT has NO control on the trainer resistance. I was advised by the Wahoo Support Centre that this is a known bug and they are working on the fix.

There is also a Passive mode which turns the ELEMNT as a display with the Smart trainer being controlled by other 3-party applications.

Wahoo ELEMNT - Passive Display Mode
Wahoo ELEMNT – Passive Display Mode

As all these features are already built into the cycle computer, you pay nothing and can immediately kick off your training.

For those using Garmin Edge series cycle computers, similar trainer controls are also available.

——  Online Cycle Training / Virtual Riding Services Subscription  ——

If you would like to engage in more structured cycling training, you may consider to subscribe to those online training services like:

  • Best Bike Split
  • Sufferfest
  • Today’s Plan
  • TrainerRoad
  • Training Peaks

By paying a monthly or annual subscription, you get full access to their inventory of training plans or can create your own. Post analysis tools are also available to give you a better understanding of your own performance and training progress.

Before decide on which service to subscribe, you should check the pre-requisite on cycle trainers, platform (Android/iOS/Mac/Windows) and connectivity (Ant+, BTLE) support.

Since most of these online services come with certain period of free trial with unlimited feature access, no need to be hurry and try them all whenever possible.

Structured training sometimes can be very boring, there are also other breeds of online cycling services that turn the exercise into fun.


A highly virtualised service with excellent computer generated graphics that offers three types of services:

  • Virtual Road Rides – Currently there are only three routes covering London, Virgina and the virtual world of Watopia. Relatively limited but still attractive.
  • Structured Training– Integrates the training works into the virtual ride in either personal and group rides
  • Social Group Rides – This is the part that caught the highest attention. Zwift provides a lot of riding events with various difficulties. You can even customise your avatar to look smart and outstanding.


Originally called VirtualTraining and recently rebranded as Rouvy. It comes with the following features:

  • Virtual Road Rides – Over 1500 routes all over the world. Unlike Zwift, most of the rides come with actual video. I like this as you can also enjoy the beautiful scenery – Yes, killing two birds with one stone!
  • Structured Training – With built-in training program and can also integrate with other professional cycling training services
  • Group Rides – You can ride or race with a virtual partner and with your friend

In term of price, subscription for most of these online services is around USD 8 to 15 per month. If you are actively using the service for training or group rides, the subscription charges should be acceptable.

——  You are an occasional rider and don’t want to invest on any paid services  ——

In case you have a Wahoo ELEMNT (or ELEMNT BOLT) like me, there are 5 structured workouts preloaded with the cycle computer:

  • 20 Minute FTP Test
  • 8 Minute FTP Test
  • Team Sky Sprinting Session – KICKR Workout
  • Team Sky Climbing Session – KICKR Workout
  • Team Sky Mixed Session – KICKR Workout

The last three are taken from Team SKY of which Wahoo is the official partner for bike trainers and heart rate monitor.

You may check to see if similar features are also available in your cycle computer.

Last but not least, if you do have time and willing to spend extra efforts, you may consider to try the Open Source free training package Golden Cheetah to create your own training plans.

Golden Cheetah – Training Setup

Golden Cheetah – Training plan creation and execution

Golden Cheetah – Training calendar integration and post analysis


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