Do you adapt TR trainings outdoors?

Hey everybody,
I don’t know if this topic has been discussed here, but I’m sure I read something about it and TR is developed for indoor training.
But when the weather is nice and it gets warmer I’m not able to do my trainings indoor, first because of the motivation and second my paincave is build on my attic where it gets super hot during summer.
So what I do is, I take a traing plan and adapt it for outside riding for example take Kaiser which is 6times vo2Max effort when I’m outside I go up a small hill where I try to hit the same watts as on the indoor trainier.
Sometimes this looks super stupid because I’m going up the same hill for about 6 times but I don’t care :wink:

I think this is a very good way to stick with your plan but with the possibility to shift some rides to outdoor rides.

What do you think about this?



Generally you will get more precise/intended (better) training indoors because you can control all the variables. Expecially when the workout gets more complicated (over/unders), it’s difficult to nail the intended watts.

Ideally you would train your intervals indoors and then do your recovery and/or weekends rides outdoors. It’s been said, and is generally true, those that shy away from indoor training when it’s nice outside can expect a slow decrease in their fitness. That being said, if riding outdoors makes you more consistent then you’re better off doing that. I’d only suggest that you try to fit in some indoor intervals.


I didn’t have a trainer in 2017 and this I how I trained. I emulated the TR sessions outdoors.

Steady intervals such as VO2 max, threshold or sweet spot are generally the easiest, as you just focus on keeping a steady effort for the duration of the interval. Over unders, or anything with a ramp would be harder I think.

If you do the same kind of ride on the same stretch of hill each time, it is surprising how consistently you can pace, and/or measure progress, even without a power meter. It’s important though to find a stretch of road where you can ride uninterrupted and safely for the duration of the interval. Public roads aren’t great. Dead end roads going up a hill work better. Fire road climbs are great.

I do some of the workouts outdoors too. While I think my outdoor FTP is probably a bit higher than indoors, the change of scenery is nice! I usually only do the really steady state Sweet Spot stuff outdoors. The complicated VO2 stuff with short sharp efforts is harder to do under ideal conditions outdoors.

Totally agree here :+1:

Oftentimes getting plugged into your local cycling community can help you find those quiet climbs with minimal traffic that allow you to nail your workouts outdoors. I personally gain a lot of motivation when I hammer out an interval session outdoors because it helps me to get a sense of improvement and a feeling of “Woah, I’m getting faster.” They are certainly harder to plan and execute than an indoor workout, but in moderation, they can have some great psychological benefits, at least for me.


This is so great to read your opinion on this topic. Of course there are trainings that are easier to perform indoors such as over/unders but imo a lot of people doing intervals outdoors and I like it to have a plan which gives you some sort of a focus what to do. :metal:

I have no idea what TR is planing for the future but the topic of outdoor training combined with indoor training is something a lot of people are interested in. One big step is made with the calendar calculating your indoor and outdoor rides :wink:


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For me when I decide to take a structured workout outdoors I tend to focus on the purpose of the workout and not the exact power and time of each interval. I do this so I don’t drive myself nuts during the ride. Typically I will write out the intervals with time and a power range on a sticky note then tape that to my stem. Then I have a profile and page on my Garmin that turns off auto lap and the page will show my lap power, 3 sec and 30 sec power, and Lap Time.

So for today I have Ebbetts scheduled which is 4 x 8 min at 88-94% intervals with 4 burst during each interval, if I did that outdoors I would have "4 x 8min (280-310) w/ 4 Bursts Rest 4min " on my sheet. I typically don’t focus too much on the warm-up or cooldown time just go off feel for that. Now when after I am done with my warm-up once I have a good spot for an 8 minute interval I’ll hit lap and try to keep my Lap Power avg and 30 sec avg in that power range and fit in those 4 bursts where appropriate. Once I get near the 8 min mark I’ll be prepped to hit the lap at 8 min or when I am at a point I may have to drop power (descent or stop), then I’ll ride easy until 4 minutes or when it is a good time for the next 8 minute interval.

This is by no means an exact match of that workout, but as long as I don’t do anything crazy during the workout I would think I achieved the purpose of the workout. I really haven’t found a workout I can’t at least get the intervals around 90% imitated. Over/under’s are great with a partner as you can trade off pulls to both simulate race conditions and the workout. The only workout I wouldn’t do outdoors is something anaerobic with super tough intervals that put you in a hole and that is only because the danger of spacing out on an open road. I also am fortunate I live where there are tons of country roads I can ride to from my house that have very little car traffic.


I do TR (and other) structured workouts outside fairly often once the weather warms up. As long as you can find a stretch of road that works for a particular workout, I don’t buy the “indoor is always better” claim. Of course, if you are coasting into turns for 20% of each 4 minute interval or hitting 15 stop lights in your 2x20 workout, all bets are off but if you get creative with route selection, and aren’t afraid to do loops if necessary, it can work just fine. I live smack dab in the middle of a big city but I have a couple “work out routes” including a nice 2 mile loop in a subdivision where 99% of the time i don’t even have to slow for corners much less stop. I have no issue with hammering around that for an hour whole folks look at me funny, My only real issue is it is a 15 min ride from my house so a 1 hr TR workout takes more than an hour with transit time. The trainer is definitely more efficient most of the time but that does not mean you can’t get the same benefits outdoors if you do it right.

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I think in terms of the physiological adaptations to be gained from training, yes the claim is true. But “better” in all ways, I think not.

There are many elements to riding and racing, and as a triathlete execution and pacing on the bike is critical in a way perhaps different to road racing - and you can’t learn that indoors. This is the piece that was critical to my downfall, so my outdoor rides will feature much higher this season.

I aim for a similar tss and similar zones, and I live in a hilly area, my rides are about 2hrs. I use the hill to keep power about 90% ftp, and downhills to keep power over 55%, flats I aim for 65-75%. I can keep the power down easily enough but keeping the power up is harder.

Hey all,
this is so nice to read your reactions on that subject. I totally agree to you. First you have to finde a road where you can do your Intervalls safely this is the most important think. I just crashed myself out of my training plan but this was not during an interval. :frowning:

I think trying to adapt a interval TR training outdoors is always better than doing no intervals at all and just riding around and collect miles. For me it is important that my TSS and IF is about the range of the prescribed training.

I never tried doing over and under outside it was just sweetsport or vo2max Training and of course some easy recovery rides.

But there is another question I would like to ask: For the people who do outdoor TR trainings, do you think you actually gained some power or is this just for keeping your form?

thanks again,

I would like to export the workouts into a Garmin format that I could import on to my Edge 1030. As @thebigbadox said I could do them as closely as possible. I like to get out on my bike at least once a week. I’m lucky my roads are pretty safe for doing workouts. It would at least give the outdoor rides some structure and purpose…


Yes. It helped me get stronger vs “just riding” outside. Is it as good as indoor? - don’t know, but like you say above, better than no intervals.

I’ve vocally lamented the inability to export our TrainerRoad workouts/plans to our Garmins for guided workouts outdoors.

HOWEVER I don’t know how well it would directly translate. Currently I do mid-volume base plans in winter then change to outdoor “intermediate” SST FasCat plans for summer. The 8-12 hrs riding from the FasCat plans is about right 90% of the time and I have doubts the indoor TrainerRoad plans would translate directly to that level of volume because 8-12 hrs indoor would be unachievable for me.

I love the solid basis of cutting edge research Chad puts into the TrainerRoad plans. I sort of wish he took coaching clients personally to have outdoor adaptation of his plan theory… I just don’t know if TrainerRoad plan durations would work with outdoor execution when 6-7hrs/wk feels like the most that is bearable on a trainer while I can sustain 8-12/wk outdoors.

I never used to but I’ll be adapting this coming season.

I live in the middle of nowhere. No traffic. No stop signs. Long, straight, and flat stretches. Easy to hit targets without interruption. That makes it easy to follow the workouts quite closely.

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I find that putting the TR workouts on my Wahoo ELEMNT via the free TrainingPeaks account helps to maintain the quality and intent of the workout.

Hey there,

as far as I know during building phase the weekend rides are mostly the over/under or big sweet spot intervals, or did I get something wrong? :thinking:

Of course you need to have the right or save road for those intervals. Most of the time I do some intervals on a bike lane which I repeat 4 - 5 times and the rest of my outdoor ride is just a relaxing aerobic pedaling, because all my outdoor rides are longer than one hour.
Another ride I do are so called 40/20 where I go up a street for 40 seconds than just rolling down which is about 20 Sec. and I repeat this couple of times in three sets and again to fill up at least 1:30 to 2 hours I just pedal around.

I know it is a lot of work to create outside trainings but for me I need those to stay motivated.

A happy and save NEW YEAR to all of you and by the way thanks TrainerRoad for keeping me on track.