In the world of cycling, every athlete is looking for the ideal way to train to improve their performance. There are various training modalities, and two popular approaches are training on a velodrome and using cycling simulators. While some cyclists prefer to experience the authenticity of a velodrome or face the challenges of mountain passes, others choose to emulate the conditions virtually through a cycling simulator, commonly known as a video. In this article, we will analyse and compare both training approaches to determine their advantages and disadvantages.
Velodrome vs. Video: What is velodrome training like?
Training in a velodrome offers a unique and authentic track experience. These facilities are designed specifically for track cycling and provide a smooth and safe surface to train on.
What are the advantages?
Improved technique and specific skills: Training in a velodrome allows cyclists to improve their technique and skills specific to track cycling. Research has shown that training in a velodrome can lead to significant improvements in cycling performance. For example, a study by Dorado, Calbet and López-Calderón (2013) found that velodrome training improved muscle power, aerobic capacity and lactate resistance in track cyclists.
Increased sense of speed and adrenaline: When training in a velodrome, cyclists experience an increased sense of speed and adrenaline due to the high speeds that can be reached on the track. This feeling can be motivating and contribute to greater commitment during training.
Social and competitive environment: Velodromes are meeting places for cyclists of different levels and disciplines. This provides a social and competitive environment that can be beneficial for skill development and motivation. Participating in races or events at the velodrome can provide opportunities to compete and measure personal progress.
And the disadvantages?
Limitations of access and availability: One of the main limitations of velodrome training is accessibility and availability. Not all cyclists have access to such a facility, as velodromes are not widely distributed in all regions. This can make access to the track difficult and limit training opportunities.
Dependence on weather conditions and schedules: Training at a velodrome is subject to set weather conditions and schedules. If the velodrome is outdoors, adverse weather conditions, such as rain or strong wind, may make training difficult or even impossible. In addition, the schedules set by the velodrome may not be convenient for all cyclists.
Associated costs: The use of a velodrome may involve certain costs, such as paying for access to the track or renting equipment. These costs may be a limiting factor for some cyclists who wish to train at a velodrome on a regular basis.
Despite these disadvantages, training at a velodrome is still highly beneficial for those interested in track cycling. If you have the opportunity to access a velodrome, make the most of the advantages it offers, especially in terms of technical improvement and skills specific to track cycling.
To get the most out of your training in a velodrome, focus on disciplines such as the sprint or individual pursuit. Perform speed and explosive sprints to improve your track-specific skills. Also, participate in races or events to test your skills and improve your mental endurance.
Velodrome vs. Video: The cycling simulator, versatility at home
Cycling simulators, such as virtual programmes or interactive rollers, have gained popularity in recent years. These tools allow you to train from the comfort of your home or gym.
Training on a cycling simulator offers a number of advantages and disadvantages that are worth considering. I will detail each of them below, backing them up with relevant scientific research and studies.
What are its advantages?
Accessibility and convenience: One of the main advantages of using a cycling simulator is the accessibility and convenience it provides. You can train at any time and from the comfort of your home or gym. This eliminates geographical limitations and allows you to adapt your training sessions according to your schedule and preferences.
Variety of routes and disciplines: Cycling simulators, such as BKOOL, offer a wide range of routes and disciplines to train on. You can simulate different terrains, from flat roads to virtual mountains, giving you the opportunity to diversify your training and prepare for different challenges. In addition, you can select specific disciplines, such as triathlon or mountain biking, and adapt your training accordingly.
Possibility for interactive and competitive training: Many cycling simulators offer interactive and competitive features that add excitement and motivation to your training sessions. You can participate in virtual challenges, compete against other cyclists or even join online events. These features encourage competition and allow you to measure your performance against other cyclists.
What are its disadvantages?
Lack of real-world conditions: While cycling simulators offer an immersive visual and sensory experience, they cannot fully replicate the real conditions of the road or track cycling environment. The absence of factors such as wind, temperature or pavement conditions affect the experience and physiological adaptations typical of the outdoors.
Technical requirements and associated costs: To use a cycling simulator, certain technical requirements are necessary, such as an interactive trainer or a compatible exercise bike. Such equipment may have a cost associated with it, which can be a barrier for some cyclists interested in using this technology.
Despite these disadvantages, cycling simulators offer a convenient and effective alternative for training cyclists of all disciplines. Studies have shown that training with cycling simulators can improve pedalling efficiency, peak oxygen consumption and training motivation (Bartram et al., 2019). Take advantage of the accessibility and route variety offered by a cycling simulator like BKOOL and adapt your training according to your goals and preferences.
If you are using a cycling simulator, take advantage of the programme’s specific features to train according to your goals. For example, if you are preparing for a mountain race, select routes with steep inclines and practice endurance on difficult terrain. Also, join virtual challenges or online competitions to stay motivated and measure your progress.
The choice between training on a velodrome or using a cycling simulator, such as BKOOL, depends on each person’s individual circumstances and preferences. If you are looking for comfort, accessibility and route variety, BKOOL is an excellent choice.
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