Hoshie - I'm finally getting back to being able to have fun outside. I really did this as a last resort to having heavy relapsing overtraining symptoms - high cortisol levels, extremely elevated resting heart rate, insomnia - which led to depression.
Fall and Winter was a perfect time to have to stick to the trainer - it wasn't so tempting to go outside as it is now and coming up.
Jacques - Maffetone prescribes a long base building period with a low heart rate - not zones - a specific heart rate. It sounds quite simplistic and I won't get into defending it as that would be pointless. He uses 180 minus age, plus or minus a few beats for other factors. I was just at my wits end, so I tried it - it seems to be working for me. It does take discipline - which I am not blessed with, but did stick with it. All my rides for the first 3 months were at the heart rate of 135 - I realized at that HR I couldn't ride outside because it's so hilly here, so all of it was on the trainer. I went outside at 3 months because I wanted to see how much real riding fitness I had lost, and discovered I was just as strong. Comforted that the plan appeared to be working I decided to keep at the low HR riding, and it keeps improving.
You'll read lots of opinions about it. I was really just looking for a way to stay on the bike and get over being sick - and I'm blown that I've not just done that, but improved.