I always end up reading other people's blogs, and then imagining what I would say about myself, if I were to blog, and if anyone would read it, or even care. So, I guess this is a bit of an intro into my first blog.
Anyways, the winter can be very long, and cold, and depressing, especially in Ottawa, where it seems to be unseasonably/unreasonably cold this year. I mean, -30 is just plain rude. Anyhow, as such most of the cyclists in Ottawa who are serious about their training and their fitness resort to riding trainers, going to the gym, and doing XC skiing. This provides a pretty good base for fitness, and is fairly effective in maintaining or even improving on your fitness from last season.
The trainer seems to be a very effective tool, and when you are in a position such as I'm in, and you only have a few hours in the day that aren't taken up by classes, homework, or other pre-established commitments, you are able to get a good workout, including warm up, changing clothes, and cool down in 2-3 hours. If you have the time, and equipment (car, skis, trails) then Skate skiing is wicked, but it takes a lot longer to get that same workout. Also, lets not pretend that anyone who cycles as their main sport is going to be competitive in a world cup Loppet any time soon. I like to push it when i'm skiing, but the fitness that you can devellop when skiing is far different, and less specific than cycling.
One of the key concepts of effective training is the priciple of specificity. I like to view this in a more holistic method... Every workout should have a specific goal. Examples of these goals can be to increase or maintain strength, aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity, or simply to refresh your mind and recover for your next hard workout. If you find yourself getting onto your trainer just to fill up your weekly training hours, ask yourself if this is really the best thing to be doing? Whats the purpose of your workout? Are you committed to getting the most out of this workout, or are you just going to get on your bike, watch a movie, and not really care about it?