Best TrainerRoad workouts that translate well Outdoors

Figured you guys must have had plenty or trial and error by now. Which ones have worked well in practise for you, apart from the endurance rides.

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I made Jepson outside. Worked very well on my Garmin Edge 530. I used a hill with steady slope for the 8 min threshold intervals.

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Over/Under in General are great for hill repeats. You can do SweetSpot on most outdoor rides but need to get away from traffic lights. Longer Threshold Workouts can be quite complicated. Maximum Time without traffic lights/dangerous intersections is around 20 min.

  • Avalanche Spire Series
  • Carpathian Peak Series
  • Fang Mountain Series
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I’ve found most of the workouts I’ve done in ssb work well outside with the terrain and roads l have (gentle rolling hills). This might not be the same where you live. Doing them in urban areas is generally a no no I think, 'cause there is always some hazard waiting to slow you down. I think long sections of uninterrupted road are aways going to suit most workouts.

I don’t have long uninterupted roads where I live, but I’m still managing to hit my interval targets. I always pick my outdoor route according to the workouts have on that day (along with other factors like wind). For me, I find it easier to do longer intervals at SS and Threshold where I live (i’m not too bothered if I have to dip my power a bit at a junction or around a corner on these types of interval). I have always thought that short vo2 max intervals are more efficient done on a trainer, because there is a lot that can interrupt them outside and to get the most out of them I want to nail them 100%. That said, I have been having good success doing these outside too. while I’m riding, I am always thinking about the terrain and interval ahead, and will turn around in the road if I have to, just to ensure I’m going to be able to do the next interval without interruption. But again, it’s all down to the roads you have at your disposal.

Edit: I think the more complexity a workout has, the harder it will be to accomplish outside. Unless you have long uniterupted flat terrain you will always need to be thinking a few steps ahead if you want to ‘pass’ your workout - this gets difficult if your workout has differing power targets and interval lengths to think about.

Conclusion: For most people with mixed road terrain, choosing a simple outdoor workout with predicable intervals may yield best results.

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The mid-length intervals work best for me. Here in Canberra, we have a couple of road hills that are 4 min, 6 min, 8 min, and 12 minutes. Hard to find something at a consistent angle that is longer than that, without being a decent ride or drive away.

All of the sections i’ve used involve turn-arounds, and it’s hard to get back within the prescribed rest period unless the hill is more than 5%.


Was looking at tomorrow’s ride, it’s this one Fang Mountain:

I have hills I can work on, but don’t like the idea of changing intervals so much, would much prefer doing a solid block and just focusing on holding power for 9mins.

Is there a good replacement for over under workouts?

It depends on what kind of terrain/trail you have. I have a 32 mile pan-flat loop on a paved bike path, which makes just about anything do-able. Amber brought it up on one of the podcasts recently - find a short stretch and just do back-and-forth laps.

As noted above, living in central London I’ve not found a way of translating any TR workouts outdoors.
However, part of me thinks - why spoil a nice outdoor ride, where you can adapt to the conditions as appropriate depending on traffic, weather, how you’re feeling, etc, just so it will log better on your TR plan.

Personally I’ve done 90% of my riding on the indoor trainer in the last year and I’m gagging to get outside and just - ride :smile:

Ain’t going to be a slave to TR :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Hopefully interactive training will mean it’s easier for TR to log and credit unstructured outdoor rides - best of both worlds!


Avalalanche Spire +1 as logged and as prescribed:

I understand, that you want to do a constant intervall, but FYI its doable on a normal hill with a gradient of 6-8% . I think I rode the whole workout at 105% and the last intervall was basically all out. You have to get them dialed in, but from the second intervall you know the terrain and the power needed quite well.

A good replacement IMO would be a constand threshold effort where you start and finish a litte bit over you threshold for 30s.

And just something to add: I LOVE OUTSIDE STRUCTURED WORKOUTS. It’s my favourite feature of TR

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Almost all of them.

The only one I found to be a real pain in the ass was actually fang mountain. I think in that one they programmed it so the target wattage is constantly changing. It takes a lot visual focus to be riding and watching the screen and matching the numbers. I told myself the next time it came up I’d just do it inside because it’s 100% easier in erg mode (well, not easier at all on your legs).

I believe on other over/unders they programmed in ranges and you’re supposed to know to gradually increase/decrease your power through the 1-2 minute segments. It’s still kind of a pain though.

Anything that’s steady state is great for doing outside. From 1min vo2 max to 30+ mins.

Only other issue I’ve run into is using a ~6mi long hill and running out of room on sweet spot intervals that don’t have extended rest breaks. Generally go up on the work portion, and down on the rest portion. But if the break isn’t long enough you don’t go down far enough so you start gradually working further and further up the hill until you get to the top and still have time remaining in the interval. Only solution is to extend the rest so you get down low enough that you know you won’t run out of space on the work portion.

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Would it do to just do the over under 50/50 or 40/60?

Say 4 mins just under threshold, then 5 mins over it for Fang Mountain for example?

Sounds nice to me to start easier on a hill then finish strong. Or just ride threshold and finish strong in last half min like @blister202 says?

For me, over-unders don’t work out very well outdoors. I’m either too far over, or too far under. And I end up watching the power meter more than I watch the road. I’d go by ‘feel’ rather than the power meter (get above threshold, then ease up just a touch for the under).

The other workout types are fine outdoors unless you think you need to hit the exact power.

Here is Palisade indoors:

And here it is outdoors (not very pretty lol):

Obviously, there’s effort involved in getting to and from my workout area, which adds to the TSS.

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That’s exactly how mine will end up!

Going to figure out an equivalent approach and just skip all the faff.

My favorite outdoor TR is Wynne - 3 sets of ascending-intensity, Anaerobic capacity intervals starting with 3x2-minute intervals at 130% FTP followed by 3x1-minute intervals at 150% FTP and wrapped up with 3x30-second intervals all the way up at 180% FTP.

Its a great workout plus I use it as a test. Most of all, I have a route near my house that suits it perfectly. I programed it into my Garmin years before TR came up with outdoor rides :wink:

Not the same, imho.

If I were to modify fang mtn +3 to make it more suitable for outside I’d probably do 1 min @ 95%, 1 min at 110%, 1 min at 95%, 1 min at 110%…and repeat for a total of 9 minutes.

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What about just doing it all at 105%?

Something that TR users may find when moving workouts outdoors after a lot of indoor riding is that it takes a significant amount of skill and practice to nail the power targets without a lot of variation. When I first moved outdoors, my power was all over the place, but now a year and a half later I can’t remember the last time my NP and average power were more than 1 watt apart for sweet spot workouts. I think it is a valuable skill to have for races and general outdoor riding too. It has required that I really focus on a smooth pedal stroke


Agree with that, definitely remember having trainer legs after not seeing a single outdoor ride in almost 6 months before. Power all over the place.

Riding a lot outdoors lately, still don’t fancy short intervals, feels fussy/

Then it’s a different workout, and you should just do Dicks or Elephant or Wilhelm or any of those.

I think the idea with over/unders is getting your body better and handling lactate and ‘recovering’ while still working really hard or working above threshold and then being able to ‘settle back in’ just below threshold. Not sure only working above threshold will accomplish that same adaptation.

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Anything VO2 max is much better outdoors than indoors, especially short-shorts. It’s so much easier to quickly ramp up and back off the power outdoors for those efforts, plus I personally feel that outdoor recovery time goes 3x further than indoor recovery time (e.g. in 1 min outdoors, my HR falls in the same time as 3 mins indoors while doing more power). I also can get way more out of myself for the longer 3-5 min outdoor workouts, especially doing them on a false flat.