ERG mode for indoor training?…October 21st, 2020 by paulhart
The question I get asked more than any other… ERG mode or not?
ERG is short for ergometer and it’s when your smart trainer regulates your effort for you. I never use ERG. Ever.
1. Unrealistic. Everyone I coach has real life goals. Having your effort regulated for you is completely unrealistic and is essentially removing important skills you require for your goal, which is the ability to regulate your own effort.
2. Reduces skill. Regulating your own effort is a skill. Changing your cadence, changing gear if required, or simply having to stay in the moment and focus on what you’re doing. ERG removes the need to think and makes you lazy thus creating bad habits.
3. Doesn’t allow for RPE (Rate of perceived effort). Most sessions have a target range. Even if your session has a single number target coaches understand that sometimes when you’re feeling good you go over it, and when you’re not you ride below it. The range allows this. Sometimes you will start below the effort and then finish above as your RPE changes. This is a great practice. Your trainer may be smart but its not as smart as you. Learning how you feel and what level of discomfort you can handle during intervals is a very important skill.
This doesn’t mean your smart trainer was a waste of money. Many trainers have gradient/resistance controls, or slope which are great to fine tune the resistance if you require additional tension or you are in between gears, but this functionality still leaves you the rider in control. You’re not passing all control over to the trainer.
Whilst I’m obsessed over new training methods and best practices, I’m also old school in my beliefs, and its often best in training to keep things simple. Resist the ERG. Don’t let your trainer control you. Resist the temptation to be lazy.
As a coach I’m not looking for perfect sessions, I’m looking for real sessions, so please ride your bike normally and use each session to fine tune your riding skills and to refine your RPE.