Adaptive Plans and Outside Rides

I’ve seen a few threads on this but I can’t quite figure out what the answer really is.

I’m currently doing the adaptive plan 5-8 hours a week for winter maintenance. I split time between New York and Stockholm, which means a fair bit of time in the gerbil cage. However, when good weather arises I will always choose to ride outside over more time in the cell block.

What I can’t quite figure out is how I should really be ‘marking’ these rides? For example, I knew I was going to ride outside today, so I took my 1 hr session and marked it as ‘outside’ and the intervals that were a part of that I did during the course of my outdoor ride (to the best of my ability with variations in terrain yadda yadda). Obviously the 2-3 hour ride I did has higher TSS, my concern (or wonder) is that it’s screwing up some of the adaptation in the following workouts for the remainder of the week.

In an ideal world I’d always be able to say I do a 2-3 hour ride on Wednesday and a 3-4 hour ride on Saturday, but weather and life are less predictable. Am I doing what’s best or am I missing something?

If you are intent on matching TR Outside Workouts to actual outside workouts/rides, you should find the closest match to that in the TR calendar and use that. This means manually searching, adding that to the calendar, and likely deleting the original one added by the TR plan process.

Connecting a 1 hour ride that was scheduled with one that is 2x/3x that from actual riding is not ideal. The PL will likely be different between that 1 hour and a closer match from the TR catalogue.

This is the hack that TR does not really endorse, and has been misused by some as they get incorrect PL values in some cases. It leads to incorrect adaptations and such in those cases.

So, if you head down this road and want to minimize issues with bad (overly high PL’s), make sure to pick a TR workout that is as close as possible to the core of what you did (TSS, Duration, PL, etc.). If anything, I suggest picking a lesser value option vs a higher value option when you get to splitting hairs.


Thanks for the response. I don’t know I’m intent on matching outdoor workouts with indoor workouts, more just that I use indoor training strictly as a means to keep some conditioning up in the offseason. In the spring and fall I enter these gray areas where I’m sometimes outside, sometimes inside — I try to do the efforts as part of my outdoor ride, but obviously it ends up longer.

Connecting a 1 hour ride that was scheduled with one that is 2x/3x that from actual riding is not ideal.

Yeah that’s really what I’m beginning to see.

Just to kind of ensure I understand what you’re suggesting. I should take today’s 1 hr workout, delete it, and replace it with a 2.5ish hour “outdoor” workout with a similar TSS. Then TR will see that, my outdoor ride and basically go “okay this is on target” and make adaptations from there?

  • Per some TR comments I’ve seen, I am not certain if you are best to leave the original workout or delete it. At the very least, leaving it marked as “Inside” will make it easy for TR to connect your outside ride with whatever TR workout you add to the calendar and mark for “Outside”.

  • In the current, simple state, TR only connects your outside ride to the TR workout on your calendar for that day that is also set to “Outside”. You have to manually apply the survey response. But TR just takes that as a “check” and assumes you did the workout as prescribed, without major deviation. This is the “dangerous” part since there is no intelligence to review your work and assign PL’s.

  • That is where the pending Workout Levels Version 2 is supposed to come in and fix things. It will be a real review of the work and then assign PL’s from that, not just what you were supposed to do.

For what it’s worth, last summer I was doing indoor and outdoor rides throughout the week, i.e. following the outdoor prescribed workouts on my Garmin Edge, but when Saturday came and I did my longer ride, sometimes (usually) with one or two others, I would find an endurance or tempo ride that was 15minutes shorter than my actual ride with similar TSS and manually match it. Sometimes, I would find one first, but unlike when I do SS or Threshold on the head unit, I wouldn’t load the workout and would just ride easy or tempo. Hope that makes sense. For example, Dombai, marked as outdoor, was a good match for me doing ~3hr ride on my TT bike with two friends on road bikes, where I would take more turns on the front. (I was training for Ironman, they were just escaping the wives and kids.) I found it surprising how the avg. power drops when you’re not on the front focusing on holding power, and instead just rolling with the terrain at a certain RPE.


@mcneese.chad is right that in that scenario, you’d be getting credit for a 1 hour ride in your Progression Levels and potential adaptations when riding beyond 1 hour outside, for now. :wink:

The good news is: the upcoming feature of Workout Levels V2 will account for your unstructured rides very seamlessly. You won’t have to find a workout to ‘match’ or even schedule a TrainerRoad workout on the day you want to ride outside unstructured, you can simply upload your ride and get Progression Level changes and adaptations that reflect the work you did effectively!

That will also account for the TR structured workouts you want to do outside. Following the basic workout structure and then doing more volume beyond that will also result in a different/higher PL credit and potentially a different adaptation that follows.
Your unstructured 2-3 hour rides are already being accounted for in your AI FTP Detection results, that feature is already live!

I’ll be sure to keep the forum updated on WLV2 progress, but in the meantime, a good solution will be to mark your outside workout as ‘complete’ (where you followed interval structure to the best of your ability), and find a workout that reflects the added volume you did to mark as ‘complete’. That way you’re getting appropriate credit.
That’s not the ideal solution right now, but that’s why WLV2 is the highest priority for our development team; so we can make that process accurate and easier for athletes!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or would like me to look into those outside rides you’re doing to help provide insight. I’ll be happy to check out your calendar/ride files and make a suggestion!




@IvyAudrain this is great, I appreciate such a thorough answer here and also am really looking forward to the updated workout levels.

Any teaser on when V2 is coming out? :grin:


I’m in a similar-ish position to the OP in that for the last couple of years I’ve ridden with others on a Wednesday and Saturday. However, this is the first year in a while where I’m also following a structured plan in Plan Builder and wanting to get the benefit of inside TR workouts for my A Event. I’m on a LV plan and plan to do 2 of the TR workouts inside, swap the Saturday TR workout for an unstructured group ride and do an additional Wednesday outside ride with friends.

As these are group rides I can’t control the pace so realistically I can’t do a TR workout as an outside ride. It’s unstructured on rolling terrain. I’m fine with not getting PL credit for these rides. I just don’t want them to screw up the plan. To me they are just additional rides which I need to do anyway as my goal event is a 14 day ride so time in the saddle on varied terrain is definitely needed. What’s the best way of dealing with the TR ride that gets ‘ignored’? Should I delete the TR workout or just let it lapse / skip? Will I be marked down for the skipped or deleted workout? Perhaps @IvyAudrain can advise?

One further question. Should I sometimes try and complete the Saturday TR workout and skip a different TR day so that I am mixing things up and not always missing the long SS or threshold structured workout for example?

Many thanks!

Adaptive Training will treat a skipped and deleted workouts from Plan Builder in the same way! Just make sure your unstructured outside Saturday/Wednesday is NOT being associated with the TrainerRoad workout scheduled on the same day.
That will ensure you aren’t getting credit for the TR workout but not what you actually did outside.

(This advice is only relevant for the time being. Workout Levels V2 will see exactly what you’re doing outside for your unstructured rides, assign appropriate Progression Level credit for it, and suggest adaptations when applicable! I’ll provide updates on that feature when available.)

This is tough. On a Low Volume plan, all three of those workouts ar pretty key and serve very distinctive purposes to help get you faster. That said, I cant say “always skip threshold” or “always skip VO2” when they’re all so important!