Advice welcome re. being new to TR, but not being a "racer"!

Hi All, I’d welcome a little “getting started” advice… I’m new to Trainer Road and am keen and have chosen it as i’m keen to do more structured training, both to gain fitness and (ideally) drop a few kgs, alongside controlled diet. However, I’m in no way a racer! Rather my goals are around a 4day cycling trip in the Spring and a number of 100k or 100m sportives in the UK summer (sic.).
All the terminology around defining a programme appears to be around racing. Where should I start?


“Racing” is by no means required for great use of TR. There are many others here that don’t race, but use TR for general fitness or keeping up with friends in group rides. So you are in good company.

I would suggest using the Calendar, adding the events you know (again they don’t have to be races, any event is fine) and use the new Plan Builder to lay out the training plan for you.

If you are new to training and indoor training in particular, lean towards the lesser time, lower volume approach, since trainer work is much more focused and intense than most equal time outside.


A quick update a few weeks into my use of TrainerRoad. First off I’m really enjoying it!
However, I’d reiterate my initial statement that all the terminology is skewed towards riders who race. For example, here are the stated categorisation for Plan Builder:

Road Cyclists training for:

  • Criteriums (=race!)
  • Rolling Road Races (=race!)
  • Climbing Road Races (=race!)
  • Time Trials (=race!)
  • Gran Fondos (=competition to get best position, if not ‘race’!)

The only option for me is “Gran Fondos”, but even then I interpret them to be far more competitive than a sportive.
In addition, the use of “A, B, C” events is very racing-specific.
I fully accept all of this is interpretive and TR can be tailored to my needs. But it does make me feel like the secondary audience for what is clearly a fantastic tool/product.

A UK sportive is essentially the same as a Gran Fondo. I’m fairly certain that the UK has some fairly restrictive rules around ‘racing’ on the road that means that sportives must be sold as ‘non-competitive challenges’ rather than ‘races’.

There will absolutely be folk at sportives aiming to compete with each other, as well as other folk with different goals entirely.

If you’re training for these events then you’re clearly have a goal, be that completion, time or finishing with your mates. You’re racing someone or something, right?


I am a randonneur and our events are explicitly not races. There’s a whole vibe behind friendly fellowship etc.

Basically, you can say “A sportive is for those pretending to compete, a brevet event (randonneuring event) is for those pretending they are not competing.”

The plan works well. Just mentally equate “A” event with something the most important for you. Otherwise, just use “B” events for you calendar.

I hope you feel welcome. A large percentage of us are not bona fide racers. We just love our bikes.


I fall into the category of non-racing and even one further as no-events either. I don’t have any charity rides, Fondos, or even a group ride on the radar, I simply want to be a faster cyclist, but I may be in small number of TR users. Most have something they are working towards. I do agree that it looks like it is geared towards a more competitive person, but if one can wrap their head around the event-driven terminology, it all applies equally event-driven or not. A lot depends on what kind of person you are as well. I am not drawn to the social and game-like environment of Zwift, and certainly not Peleton, and am quite content to do solitary TR workouts. Others need that kind of social, or even competitive, structure to motivate them. To each their own.

I have been following SSBI-SSBII-Build through the winter months. Last year I did General Build, this year I am going to go Sustained Power Build. I am definitely faster and when I did eventually get to an event I was totally prepared for it, even though it wasn’t a goal of indoor training.


You can easily drop the word ‘Race’ from each plan. I’m in the same situation as you are, and have taken much interest into the different speciality plans. I just choose according to the type of riding I will be doing. e.g., if my 100k sportives have long sustained climbs, I choose climbing road race. If I’ve got a season where I anticipate more fast chain gain rides I choose criterium, as group riding is often quite ‘surgy’. etc. Just use the plans to cater to your strengths and weaknesses, no need to ever enter a (real) race…


That’s because the vast majority of recreational cyclists aren’t going to kill themselves doing intervals! :slight_smile: Plus the roots of the software is training for events. So think of your 4 day trip as a stage race and your sportives as one day races.

Kudos to you for wanting to be faster!

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While these plans describe events that are races, getting better on the bike is the same whether you’re racing or not, just think of it as getting in shape for the type of riding you want to do. Not racing doesn’t mean not pushing yourself hard to improve physically, I only do a couple of road races a year (I do a lot of CX now though) and I spend the winter doing high volume plans because I like to be in shape to go on long rides in the spring and summer.


I think this is the crux of it.

@whaa if you choose your last (or favourite) sportive as your ‘A’ event in plan builder then let RoboChad do the rest of the thinking then you’re pretty likely to be in good shape for the season. Glad you’re enjoying TR, and hope the summer goes well!

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The number in my screen name reveals my birth year. I don’t race, never have raced, don’t plan to race. While I’m clearly not part of their target market there’s nothing available that compares to the structure and progression of TR for accomplishing my personal objective to maintain maximum cardiopulmonary capacity as long as I’m around. If I don’t have that, nothing else in life will be as good as it could be. Everything starts there. TR keeps me on task at an honest but reasonable level of effort when compared to a prudent target, that target being the output of the periodic FTP test. I thoroughly enjoy the time I do spend on the road, but that is simply a by product of the work I’ve done to achieve my more fundamental objectives. I ride at elevations between 4500 and 8000 feet above sea level and the only thing I pass consistently is roadkill. I wouldn’t be passing that if it weren’t for TR. At the end of the day, my objectives will be met only if I actually do the work. TR allows me to do that work in the most honest and productive way possible. By watching the podcast and staying up to date on the forum I’m much more effective in meeting my goals from what I learn there. Much of the material has no application to me, but there is always something I didn’t know that I didn’t know that I can use. I did wonder if I belonged when I first started but then began to see things that had application to my unique scenario.


+1. (And in another sense, since I’m class of 41 :wink:)

The roadkill reference reminded me of the day last summer a nice person 30 years younger was helping me practice drafting on a rural road without killing myself or anyone else. I was in front and passed some roadkill and a second later noticed she was no longer on my wheel. Community-minded soul that she was, she had stopped to pick up the poor 2-D possum by the tail and toss it into the bushes! (She was the same person who stopped to pick up candy or gel wrappers discarded on a climb by cyclists with other priorities than being good neighbors.)

As I slowed down, I remember thinking, “Damn her! There goes my PR on this route!”

Then as she began to catch up again, I was a bit ashamed at myself for having let TR turn me into a ridiculously old fitness narcissist. My resolve to be a little higher minded in the future was very short lived. The second she whizzed past, this principled Non-Racer had already vowed to himself to double up on his TR dose the minute he got home, so she’d never again pass him so easily!

So, yeah, all about health – until those moments when I’m surprised at the urge to out-pedal somebody!


Not a racer here as well. I am 68 years old and just trying to recover from a couple of years of surgeries. When I read or hear “faster” I translate that to “more effecient”. My goal is to do multiple day tours. and be in shape to enjoy them. Usually these events include a century ride and very often 80+ mile days.

I am having trouble building a plan for such events. Any suggestions?

Eventually ( a year from this June?) , I want to get back to 24 hour rides.

You can totally use it without being a racer, put your sportives in as events in the calendar and use plan builder to construct a plan around those, works really great! I just used this to help training and tapering for a granfondo, was brilliant how it tapered me leading upto it and added recover rides after it :slight_smile:

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If you use plan builder, put your events in the calendar and it will construct a training plan around them for you :slight_smile:

Wow, that works? Never thought if putting the events in first. I always started at the Plan builder button. I’ll check it out.

Kudos to you, Sir! We’re a small fraternity so its always a thrill to encounter a bona fide member and a senior one at that. You go!! That urge to surge NEVER goes away! I call that a good thing since its one element that keeps me pushing. There comes a point though, where the mind/ego/competitive spirit begins writing checks that the body can’t cash so I’ve learned to pick my moments! Lest I leave the impression I do what I do simply for health reasons, I have no problem slipping out to freshen up a segment on the >75 Category on Strava when my position begins to slip…never want to do that Red Lantern thing!

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Thanks! I got into the tours a long time ago and still enjoy them. Made many life long friends along the way. My riding buddy of the last 20 years cannot ride now due to dementia and I have been toning down all my riding to continue to ride with him. Now that he can’t do it any more I can up my efforts in the training department.
One of my most memorable moments occurred when riding a 24 hour event. I couple of riders passed us and asked me how old my buddy’s age. I told him he was 74 and he replied that he was 72 and his buddy next to him was 81! I told him it felt like I was riding with royalty.
My buddy is a special athlete, ran the Boston Marathon, qualified for the Ironman in Hawaii and finished his last full Ironman when he was 64. Unfortunately one of the first things to go mentally was his sense of direction, hence I always had to lead the way and make sure I did’t lose him. Absolutely worth the effort and lack of fitness over the last few years.
Sorry for the rambling. This is the time of year we would be planning the cycle season events and I am feeling a little nostalgic.

Anyway, still having trouble picking the event type for a week long tour. I am using the Rolling road race. I dunno…


Or just skip the plan builder. The training plans are very good the way they are and if there isn’t a particular event to train for, the plan builder can be saved for later, when you find you have something specific to work for.

I like comparing progression in this year’s plan with last year’s. I’m doing the same ones, Sweet spot 1 and 2 and then Sustained build. I can compare workout for workout and see that I am beating my last year’s self.


Is that for your spring cycling trip? Assuming there are hills then rolling road race is a decent match. Most UK sportives would also fall into the rolling road race category IMO, unless it’s something like the Fred Whitton where there’s so much elevation you’d lean towards Climbing Road Race.

Need to figure out whether to put it down as an A or B event. If you put it as an A then Plan Builder will have you doing a block of Specialty and then a taper so you’re going into it in peak form. Which is great, but that taper and freshness does then mean you likely lose a little fitness and need to rebuild some base afterwards before peaking again later in the summer (would put one of your later sportives in August or so down as a second A race in that case). If on the other hand you want to be in peak fitness going into the early summer sportives, and your cycling trip is more of a training camp to set you up for that, then I’d put it down as a B race which will have you basically training through it. I think you probably should also put down all 4 days with the best duration/effort estimate you can, that way Plan Builder can account for the TSS you’ll be doing and work around it.