My first post here, so hi everyone!
I’m a TR user for 3 months now - just after SSBLV1&2 and into Build phase now, but want to stick for longer, using the opportunity of better weather to come and doing some / most workouts outside.
I need a powermeter for that (thinking Assiomas Uno) and the only thing which stops me to pull the trigger on them is a question how well i would be able to do structured training sessions outside?
I know it quite vary from person to person as we live in different places (i live in a big city but can get to the outskirts with local roads in 15 mins of pedaling) - but in general: what’s your experience with taking workouts outside?
I work next to a very nice paved bike bike trail (over 60 miles worth) in Sacramento. I have done outside workouts and they are pretty good under these conditions. I find the shorter VO2 / sprint type intervals are easier. The longer steady state stuff can be tough to hold simply because of terrain (think rolling hills). Honestly, I can’ imagine trying to do them on road with lots of gradient changes and traffic issues. I actually prefer just using RPE and then reviewing the power numbers after. Trying to chase that number up and down can get frustrating…
Hello! I spent most of last summer doing outdoor workouts, at least on the weekends when I had more time. Side note: I also used the Assiomas - great product. In general, I would do the steady-state workouts outside (aerobic, sweet spot, and simple threshold), and save the more complex ones for indoors (V02 max and over-unders). Here are some of my take-aways from that experience:
I had a lot more fun riding my bike!
My TSS went up, but my FTP plateaued and ultimately decreased. I think this was because my rides always ended up being longer than the prescribed workouts, and I have a hard time pedaling easy unless I’m totally exhausted. I think I ended up taking on too much stress and not allowing myself enough rest.
I learned how to keep my power somewhat steady over rolling terrain. This was not something I ever paid attention to before, and I think it made me faster on long rides. That being said, it is really hard to keep power within a specific zone unless the gradient and wind are consistent. It’s especially difficult to stay in the sweet-spot range, since it is such a narrow band. Here’s the most recent workout I did outside (Juneau -1). As you can see, I am +/- 20 watts from the target power at most times.
Anyway, I hope that helps. In general, I would definitely recommend doing the outside workouts, unless you are purely motivated by reaching your peak fitness. Otherwise, you can probably get 80% of the benefit outside and have much more fun in the process.
I do many structured workouts outside. Definitely doable, totally worth it. As others have noted, you need to find a good section of road or trail that will work for what you’re looking to do. I have a great section of road that’s smooth, fairly flat, very few traffic signals/stop signs, and when cars are turning on or off the side roads there’s plenty of visibility. So, pick your section of road wisely and you should have no problems with your workouts. I do all types: z2, tempo, sweet spot, threshold, VO2max, microburst, sprint… The really, really long ones (20 min) are hard for me because my section of road isn’t quite long enough and I have to have a turnaround. It may also depend on the wind. There is something very satisfying about having your power overlay match the targets extremely well, although I may just be a bit obsessive-compulsive about that…
What you may find is that your FTP may be a little higher outside. This may be why @tomr1022 had some issues with plateauing, and having no problems riding above the target during the recovery valleys. I’ve generally found I really need that recovery valley and am a little low, especially at the beginning of the interval.
I love doing structured workouts outdoors. If you match the workout to the appropriate course, outdoor training can be very successful. Anything you miss from erg mode smoothness in your power output (the need to hit an exact number is a myth anyway) is more than made up for by learning to control your own power and dealing with the stuff like wind and inclines, etc that come with riding a real bike on real roads.
You have a lot of crutches indoors, most notably erg mode, so it can take some work to actually master being responsible for yourself and your power output. But, everyone you see on TV racing World Tour events got there doing the vast majority of their training outdoors so outdoor training clearly can be very successful
I have done the Saturday workouts from SSBHV and SPBHV outdoors on a local climb that is 20 min to the top at Threshold
It works well and gives some relief mentally and for the buttocks from indoors ERG mode. Feels easier than on the trainer with fresh air and without the relentless demands of ERG mode
I find SPBHV Under Over workouts like Fang Mountain are harder to execute as well outdoors with their gradual increases and decreases in power over short intervals.
I organise other riders to join me and we all do our respective intervals at the same time. which gives a social aspect to the intervals too
You could be right about that - that definitely could have been a factor.
The other thing I should note: I never try to stick to a single stretch of road for intervals. I’m sure my compliance with the workout would improve if I did that, but I’d rather go on a loop or a long out-and-back. When I ride outside, having fun is the primary objective. Specificity and fitness are secondary objectives (although still important - otherwise I’d just tool around for hours).
I do a workout with 20 second sprint sets frequently during the race season just going back and forth on the same 1/2 mile stretch of road. It’s weird but this stretch of road is close to my house and perfect for these sets!
Makes sense. I would do the same if I were practicing sprints, but at 3.8 watts/kg I’m not going to be winning a sprint any time soon.
I do all my workouts outside if possible, I’d rather be outside in the cold than on rollers indoors, I just have to plan my route based on what workout I’m doing so that the intervals are feasible. They outdoor workouts are very easy to follow and have been setup really well.
I wouldn’t say that! I was about that same w/kg last season and won/podiumed a few races in a bunch sprint. Sprint power is extremely loosely (if at all) tied to FTP. And sprints in races are as much or more about positioning and being fresh at the end than they are about raw power.
you can definitely do workouts outdoors. and there are so many different ways to approach it to maximize what works best outdoors vs. what works best indoors. You absolutely can do it.
And if you intend to race your bike you really should do it, too. Skills can get stale.
I’ve done the outside workouts for a few years now. Before the new feature I used to have to create the workouts on training peaks but now with the sync feature it’s all to easy.
My $0.02: If you have a local time trial, use that route for outside intervals. We have a 9.5mi TT nearby that is pretty flat and only has one not busy rotary in it. It takes me 22:xx on my TT bike, so on my road bike I can easily do 20m intervals (and obviously anything shorter). The loop is a clockwise oval, so there are no left turns and the right turns are more merges so you can keep your speed up. For those from the area, it’s the Charlie Baker TT in Concord, MA. I find that ‘complex’ intervals with ramp up and ramp downs etc. are harder to do outside due to the power variability. I’ll frequently do my workout on that say for an hour, then ride around to get the total time I want.
Color me jealous! I’m down in EG and it takes about 30 minutes to hit the south canal. Although for intervals I really prefer the canal as it has no runners and only a few cyclists with more than a few TTers. Another good option for harder stuff (to avoid higher speeds around runners/cyclists) are the less traveled country roads out in the delta.
One other thing. A lot of these very complex workouts with power that jumps all over the place are the way they are because they are trying to mimic the demands of outdoor riding. In other words, prepare you for the power demands of a fast group ride or a race.
It would be like, Black Mirror level perversity to ride inside instead of outside because outside it would be too hard to strictly complete a workout . . . whose whole purpose is to mimic riding outside.
Meaning: don’t overthink it too much.
If you were wondering where to do workouts, This layout is what you’re looking for and it does not have to be long. I live in the city but I have a 2.2 mile route in a subdivision that is exactly like this, clockwise with right turns that are basically merges and easy to see traffic. I can ride in this thing all day without having to stop and I rarely have to even slow down
I too live in Sac and use the bike trail for outdoor sessions sometimes! I find success on that sort of terrain – generally straight and flattish, with occasional sharp turns and small rollers – really depends on the kind of workout. Shorter intervals are much easier for me, I find the occasional sharp turns and foot/bike traffic make 8+ minute intervals hard to maintain. Have had a lot of luck doing those in places like Old Forrest Hill, Folsom-Auburn, Salmon Falls Rd though.
The river path is awesome for long z2 days though. Also amazing for commuting (work backs up to Lake Natoma in Folsom, so it’s a nice 15mi one-way from Arden Park/Wilhaggin area).
In general, love the outdoor workouts and think it’s a viable option as long as one has a power meter (or is good with RPE) and long stretches they can ride without stops/traffic. The thing that makes them work so well is in the way that the outdoor workout is close in goal/intent to the indoor rides, but doesn’t unrealistically strive to mirror the indoor power profile.
Have to echo what’s been said here. I’ve had good luck with doing the workouts outside. I am lucky in that I am a warmup ride away from a flat, light traffic, no lights stretch of road. I also sometimes look at what the workout demands and just adjust my route accordingly to make it somewhat fit, even if I’m not sticking to the actual prescribed workout, I try and achieve the goals of it via incorporating the drills on my ride (hills, sprints, etc.)
The only issue I have is, similar to @tomr1022, I find it hard to take it super easy in the recovery valleys, as it just feels too damn slow outside, lol.
Anyway, I mix it up. I try and incorporate outside riding as much as I can this time of year, and when the weather improves, it will likely be north of 95% outside riding (and probably 100%).
Completed an outside workout this morning and had a lot of fun.
I found myself to be pretty decent at holding the prescribed power but there was a good amount of time where I was +/- 10-15 watts because of hills or lack of attention. How big of a deal do you make of that?
At the end of the day, workout TSS was scheduled at 115 and that’s where I landed when I uploaded so I assume that everything is fine.