Training Cadences - Indoors vs. Out

Hello Everyone!

I have a question about cadences indoor vs. outdoor.

I have been using TrainerRoad for almost exactly a year now and absolutely love it. When I am doing their workout indoors, I usually keep my cadence in the 90-95 range for most things. I find my legs start to burn out when I drop below 85rpm and are sorer the next day. When I am riding outside I have no problems keeping my legs spinning in the 95+ area, but I live in Los Angeles, and we have some monster climbs that I love to do. The problem is when I hit the steeper grades I find myself dipping sub 85rpm and down to the 70s at times. I would like to keep my cadence higher, but I would blow up after a few minutes, and some of our climbs can take hours.

So my question is - should I be training at lower cadences when I am on the trainer or should I continue to keep the higher cadences going and hope my fitness will catch up to the point where I can keep my spin where I like it outside?

Thanks everyone!

There are some good cadence related discussion around that are worth reading. I will attempt to give a short summary:

  1. When possible, add gearing to your bike to allow a higher cadence. That may mean new cassettes and/or chainrings (and crank in some cases) and derailleur in some cases. Idea being to allow the bike to give you a wider functional cadence range via gearing.
  2. Train the way you plan to ride & race. This means considering your particular needs, and then adjust your training to include relevant cadences. If you have good gearing, but are still forced into lower cadence ranges, then it’s appropriate to train those cadence ranges.
  • Note,
    • Low cadence training must be considered with respect to possible injury (joints in particular). The higher loads on the body should not ignored or taken lightly.
    • Any low cadence work should be added carefully, and in small doses. Increase the time at low cadence over the course of the training plan.
    • There are good and bad workouts to apply low cadence work. Generally, you should keep in the Endurance, Tempo, and Sweet Spot zones.
    • “Low cadence” means will vary from rider to rider. Determine your needs and set appropriate training goals to achieve them.