Structured training is the most efficient and effective way to become a faster cyclist. But getting started can seem daunting. Don’t worry; getting started with TrainerRoad is easy. In just a few simple steps, you’ll be using science-based training, planning, and analysis tools that increase your performance.

Step 1: Build A Customized Plan

First and foremost, you need a training plan. The best training plans are ones that are built around you, your goals, and experience. The good news is that you can create a custom training plan with Plan Builder. Whether you are new to cycling or experienced, TrainerRoad has a plan that will work for you.

A custom training plan, automatically built for your goals.

Try Plan Builder

With Plan Builder, you get a science-based program without the complications or guesswork. Using your current training volume, when and how long you can train, the events in your training calendar, and your goal event’s demands, Plan Builder builds the ideal training plan for you.

Step 2: Choose How You Want to Workout

There are three ways to complete a TrainerRoad workout—Outside, Indoors, or with your friends in a Group Workout. You can mix and match any combination of the three. Each method will make the most of your hard work in the most time-efficient way possible. 

Outside Workouts

TrainerRoad’s Outside Workouts allow you to take your structured workouts outside so that you can stick to your plan, wherever you are. The only equipment required for outside workouts is your bike. You can use a power meter or complete Outside Workouts without one by using Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Either way—you’ll maximize the time on the bike to become faster.

Required Equipment

  • Bike

Recommended Setup

  • Garmin or Wahoo head unit
  • Power meter

To use your Wahoo or Garmin device outside with TrainerRoad, simply click on a workout in your calendar, select Outside, and then save. Your workout is then ready to be sent to your device. 

Indoor Workouts

Training indoors is convenient, especially when you have a busy schedule and a limited window to train. If you want to train inside there is additional training equipment you’ll need, in addition to your bike. But there are plenty of setups for different budgets. Once your bike is on the trainer, open the TrainerRoad app on your mobile device or computer and pair your training devices. 

Required Equipment

  • Bike
  • Trainer
  • Either a speed sensor, power meter, or smart trainer
  • A device to run the TrainerRoad app

Recommended Accessories

  • A good fan
  • Water bottle
  • Towels
  • Sweatproof headphones to listen to music or watch a race video

You can start your workout in just a few clicks. In the app, click on the calendar tab. This will show all of your scheduled workouts. Next, click on the workout, then select the “load workout” button. If you have a cadence sensor paired, simply start pedaling to begin. You can find out more about getting started with indoor workouts in the Beginner’s Guide to Indoor Cycling Training.

Group Workouts

The third way you can train is with your friends in a Group Workout. You and 10 of your friends can do the same indoor workout while sharing voice, video, and data. Training with friends gives you a built-in support system and extra motivation to nail your workouts. Group Workouts help you get through the tough workouts and make training time fly by. 

Required Equipment

Recommended Accessories

  • A webcam if your computer doesn’t have one built-in
  • Sweatproof headphones

If your friends are unavailable to workout with you, don’t worry! There are plenty of like-minded cyclists in the TrainerRoad forum planning Group Workouts. The Group Workout Room Sharing thread is a good place to find others to workout with.

Step 3: Complete the Ramp Test

Once you have your plan and have decided how you will complete the workouts, it’s time to start getting faster. That means it’s time to assess your fitness to make sure the workouts are matched to your fitness level. Every block of your training plan begins with a Ramp Test. This test estimates your Functional Threshold Power, which is used to scale every workout to your abilities. 

To get started with TrainerRoad you want to start with the Ramp Test.

The Ramp Test begins with a 5-minute warm-up and increases the difficulty one minute step at a time until you can’t maintain the target power any longer. It typically takes between 20 and 25-minutes to complete and requires no special preparation besides being reasonably rested. Designed to be completed indoors, you can complete the Ramp Test either by yourself or with friends in a Group Ramp Test. 

Tips for Indoor Cycling Workouts

Riding indoors on the trainer can be a different experience than riding outside. Here are some tips that can help you nail your workout.

Ride in Erg Mode

Today’s smart trainers can automatically control the resistance using Erg mode without the need to shift gears. To keep you on target, Erg mode changes the resistance based on your cadence. As your cadence drops, your trainer increases the resistance and vice versa. The TrainerRoad app takes care of all these details in the background, ensuring you are hitting the power target. 

It can feel a bit different, but it allows you to focus on turning the pedals. We recommend using the small chainring in the front and a rear gear that makes for a straight chain line. This will help your trainer react smoother to changes in your cadence. Speaking of cadence, try to keep it as steady as possible.

Keep Yourself Cool

Riding inside means that you won’t get the benefit of the natural airflow you’d get outside. One of the biggest mistakes we see is a lack of cooling. To keep from overheating, use a fan that can blow a concentrated stream of air at the body’s core. This will help you keep cool, allowing you to push through the workout.

Fuel and Hydrate

Your body needs fuel to power the different energy systems used in cycling. Fuel your workouts with a healthy carb-centric meal 3-4 hours beforehand. You can continue fueling with a sports drink or gel during the workout and try to drink a bottle an hour. Nutrition is highly individual, so experiment to find what works best for you.


For more cycling training knowledge, listen to Ask a Cycling Coach — the only podcast dedicated to making you a faster cyclist. New episodes are released weekly.



Why Athletes Around the World Use TrainerRoad to Get Faster

Over 9,000 reviews in the App Store. An average of 4.9 stars. The highest rating of any cycling training app. Over 16 million workouts completed and counting. 100 different training plans and over 2,000 different workouts that are used to automatically build a custom plan for your goals and experience. All because we focus on one thing: helping you get faster.

Want even more proof? Check out over 1,700 stories and FTP improvements for how TrainerRoad has helped athletes get faster and explore everything we have to make you a faster cyclist at TrainerRoad.com.

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Jesse Fortson

Jesse Fortson lost over 145 pounds with TrainerRoad's help. He uses his experience as a teacher and race mechanic to get faster for crits, gravel, and marathon XCO races.