Consequences When a Brand New Cyclist Doing Indoor Training for the First Time Doesn't Follow the Program


I have a friend that is completely new to cycling as of January 2020 and has never done indoor training. Consulting me he got a Wahoo Kickr and signed up for TrainerRoad and started, based on my advice, the SSBLV1 training plan in January. I created a TrainerRoad Team which he joined so I could monitor his workouts and coach him in areas I thought would help him progress more easily and hon the skills he would need as a cyclist. I expected him to naturally progress to SSBLV2 and then we’d talk about which Build Plan would be the best for his goals. However, after completing SSBLV1 he stopped training due to work and vacation but upon coming back I noticed he was doing workouts that were not part of SSBLV2. He didn’t give me a reason, just said he loaded into the calendar week 2 of the Short Power Build. I tried to explain to him, using the knowledge I’ve gained from Coach Chad, Jonathan and Nate over the years, the rhyme and reasons for why the SSB plans were designed the way they were and that jumping around to different plans before completing both SSB plans would not be a wise move and could jeapardize the desired aerobic adaptations SSB would help develop, especially for a new cyclist. His FTP at the start landed at 185watts. He’s an experienced runner, but any advice to help him understand that his best results will come from following the plans the say and in the order they were designed would be great.

I’d say let him be; let him find his own way in training. You clearly perceive what he’s doing as a mistake but it’s his mistake to make (and learn from).


Relax with the TR plans and worrying about “consequences”. What’s the worst that can happen if they get in the bike? Pretty sure if my intro to cycling had been boring sweet spot on a trainer I wouldn’t still be a cyclist.

Top priority for new cyclists should be fun and interesting. Next priority is to get on the bike and ride.

Explain what you believe to be the “best” plan, but encourage them to experiment and have fun.


You’re projecting your goals onto him. You never really mention what he wants as cycling goals. He probably doesn’t really know himself yet.

Interval training is hard, can be boring, requires motivation. Even most runners that I know don’t do interval training - they just go out and run 5-10 miles at one pace.

I would keep it fun for him. Do Zwift instead actually and ride with him. Let him find his motivation on his own when he gets dropped up a hill to get faster.


Thanks. I was already considering doing just that. Your advice is appreciated.

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thanks. Good points and you are right. This is a new place for me. All of my cycling friends were seasoned cyclists when I met them. this is my first experience with a newbe.

Donlee, very good points and I thank you for your response. You also nailed his running patterns on the head. I have encouraged Zwift and doing the TR workouts simultaneously, which I love to do. ( It’s amazing how an interval changes flavor when you are chasing down a cyclist ahead of you. Ride On my friend!

I love listening to the podcast and following the forum but for a stretch of months cycling was less important than general fitness and I’d do random workouts too. Felt refreshing and worked on maintaining me interested. It wasn’t the best approach to pushing my physiological limits but kept me in shape and motivated.

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If he’s brand new to cycling, he should be riding his bike, outdoors.


As the saying goes “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink” Its time to step back and let him do what he wants to do. It sounds like you gave him some good advice to get him started. This forum is filled with questions about why the program doesn’t work followed by countless explanation/excuses as to why they did not follow the program.


Would second all the comments above. First goal is for him to enjoy his cycling and get hooked. Might get that hook from Zwift racing, from group rides, from challenging himself up local climbs, etc. Highly unlikely to get hooked watching a line on a screen tracing over some blue blocks IMHO…

Once he’s hooked, at some point he’s almost certainly going to want to get faster. And will likely also be discovering the limits of how much faster you can get by just riding without a plan. And that’s where structured training and TR comes in as a means to achieve that end. He’ll be much more receptive to your advice at this point!

Worth noting also that some people just enjoy their riding and never really feel the urge to get more serious about their training plan. Or at least the desire to be faster isn’t strong enough to overcome the desire to just ride how they want. Everybody needs to find a balance that’s right for them. I have friends who never deviate from a plan, 100% of their riding is structured. You invite them to a ride and they’ll only do it if it fits their plan or you’re prepared to ride the way they want to. And friends at the other extreme who just ride their bike with no plan beyond what time they need to be home. Whereas I’m more of a halfway house, I’ll have my key 2-3 workouts planned but I make room for a couple of group rides a week and give myself quite a bit of latitude to change things if I want. If there’s a ride I want to do I’m much more likely to say “yes” first, and then figure out how to work the week around it afterwards.


I want to thank everyone for your thoughts on this topic. Your insights have helped get me better grounded and realistic with respect to this first time in my life getting a friend started in cycling from the very beginning during the cold winter months of the Midwest. Great advice from all. Thank you!


Show him my journey. We have the same starting point and also background.

Agree with all the above. It’s telling that you’re the one posting here about this and not him.

Let him do his own thing. I realise that it’s hard to watch someone make mistakes when they don’t need to but that’s part of learning and ultimately he may benefit more from learning himself than having someone like yourself try and be his coach