I don’t have experience on a non - smart trainer, but i can imagine it must be harder, having to adjust the gears etc.
I wanted to comment more on the mental aspect of it. i would preface it with this - it’s not for me to comment on anyone’s mental resilience or whatever you want to call it. I can and should only really talk about my own experience. Since starting structured training with TR last Sept/Oct - I have come to believe the workouts are almost at least 80% mental (the higher efforts ones more so).
I recently did my second ramp test and did get to 21 mins which I would delighted with but i really had to bury myself. Every second really from probably 17/18 mins I wanted to stop. The question - was it my body screaming this or my head?
We feel the pain in the legs and lungs and so you’d think it’s predominantly the body doing the talking - however I’m not sure. The signal to keep turning comes from the head - it’s a decision and therefore a function of the mind? In all honesty - looking back - I believe I saw myself getting closer to 21 mins and decided that was me done at that point, as soon as I got there I ended the test.
Could I, if my life depended on it, have gone another 5, 10 or even 30 seconds? I believe I could. The question then becomes - how to we bring that kind of mindset to the test or the higher effort workouts? Even though, if we’ve any sense at all, we know these are not life and death issues (at the end of the day it’s “just exercise”). My workouts since the test have been very hard indeed, but bar dropping the last block by 5% one 1 or maybe 2 I’ve got them done, but only by winning the mental battle. I’ve been watching SAS: Who Dares Wins (Uk) and The Selection (US) on the bike during workouts and that helps honestly. Seeing what these folk can put themselves through.
Again - I’m really conscious of not wanting to sound like -“Listen to me, just work harder and don’t quit so easily!”. That would not be my heart at all - I am an encourager! Rather, I just want to add to the conversation around the mental aspect.