Creating a Computrainer Workout

I was asked recently how I create computrainer workouts to use with my indoor trainer. So I thought a write-up might be useful to others.

The videos I use are from The Sufferfest. Much of my workouts are based off older videos from The Sufferfest, but this method applies to the new videos as well as probably working with any video you can create timings for and apply to a computrainer.

First off my trainer is the Cycleops PowerBeam Pro, it has a built in PowerTap that also adjusts an electromagnetic resistance thingy. The PowerBeam works with the PowerAgent software to download and analyze workouts as well being able to create workouts based on several different criteria.

To start I take the Sufferfest video and import it into iMovie on my Mac. Then at each transition between workout segments I create a split in the video. Once I have all the video split, I can click on each split to get the length of time for each segment. I try to make the spits whole seconds, iMovie allows splits smaller than 1 second but that just gets painful to calculate and fill the eventual gaps.

I take the timings to these splits and enter them into a workout in the PowerAgent software. Then I apply the appropriate intensity to each segment. Right now I have things setup to work in power zones. The power zones are created based off a field test I did for sustained power and fall into five categories of Recovery, Endurance, Threshold, Race pace, and Max. So for me, race pace is 4Watts/Kilo (248Watts for 20 minutes divided by 62 Kilos). Max is around 281Watts (this is like a five minutes sustained average), although I tend to push the max to around 350-400Watts depending on how strong I am feeling. I align these PowerBeam categories with the intensities in the Sufferfest video, so a 10/10 is Max, 9/10 is race pace, 8/10 is Threshold, 5-7/10 is Endurance, and everything below 5/10 is recovery. There is no exact science that I apply for this, just whatever seems right and what I can actually do. If I cannot complete the 60 minute workout then I created something too hard and I go back and tone things down a bit.

The next iteration I plan on doing is rather than using Power Zones based off my field test will be to create Power Zones based off some setting higher than my field test. So I'll probably start out with Power Zones 2-5% higher (harder) than what I have tested at. I am not really looking forward to this, so I keep putting it off. I should just man up and do it though.

This first screen shot is an image of the workout in the PowerAgent software.


The second screen shot is what the workout looked like when I did it.


Hope this helps.

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