Duration Different From Indoor to Outdoor Workout

Is this correct? Indoor is 2 hours. Outdoor is 3 hours.
I just loaded it up to my wahoo and was about to do it inside through the wahoo and well saw that it was 3 hours.

No. That’s completely inaccurate. It’s one of the more enduring myths of training.

I mean, it might be another flaw in TRs indoor-outdoor conversions — I don’t think they have completed or ironed out the entire process — or it could be how they actually interpret trainer vs road rides.

(edit update: just ran through a bunch of their Endurance workouts…all of them schedule at least +1hr for the outdoor version.)

Duration = duration.

End of story.

(good to see you are still alive & kicking!)

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I had the same question a while ago and I wrote to the support since I’ve had other issues with outdoors workouts being different to the originals in the past and the help was always appreciated by them.

However, this time it was different, this is their response:

Hey there Matt,

Thanks for reaching out to TrainerRoad support!

I can understand your confusion here, but those workouts are actually just as we intend them to be! I will explain this more in-depth, but the simple answer is that Training outside is less effective and therefore requires more hours on the bike than an indoor ride.

Not all TrainerRoad workouts are easily completed outside. To address this, we created many new “outside approved” workouts designed to give the same training benefit as their inside counterpart.

Riding outside is less efficient. Things like terrain, stoplights, and weather have to be taken into account when heading out to ride. Riding inside controls all of these external factors, and therefore allows the workouts to be incredibly precise. To account for these external factors, many TrainerRoad outside workout equivalents will be between 15 and 60 minutes longer (depending on TR workout length) to ensure you are getting the same training benefit while riding outside.

The other example of this is with Endurance workouts. Since many of these follow a more generic structure, these are grouped together so that one outside workout would be prescribed for a group of inside workouts.

I hope this answers your question, Matt, but please let me know if there is anything more I can do here!


Y’all got this one dead wrong, TR.

TR believes a rider will spend 50% of their time either coasting downhill or at stop lights? Absurd.

As well, it looks as though only Endurance workouts get this special extended treatment. Seems “things like terrain, stoplights, and weather” effect only Z2 riding in such a drastic manner but not Tempo or SS or Threshold. A 2x30min SS ride is going to cover more distance than a 1x60 Z2 ride but TR believes you’ll encounter less weather, terrain, and stop lights during that time — and pedal non-stop. Again, absurd.

Learning to keep the power on the pedals during an Endurance ride is a learned skill. Go ride outside and practice — but you don’t need to do 50% more time!

(I’ll try to find the power files from my 4hr Z2 indoor vs outdoor experiment to demonstrate the difference can be minimal.)



If I lived in a very urban area that required 10+min of stop/start traffic to get to an area with consistent pedaling then yeah I’d probably add that 20 min onto the total workout time because that time is pretty ineffective. But for your average person it definitely does not require 50% more ride time to get the same dose.

Maybe for a beginner who still pedals up and coasts down but once you learn to keep it pegged at 65-75% regardless up or down then it should be the same.

Also, if you live in a more mountainous region and are worried about the coasting on descents there are ways around that too. I know a guy who, for his long rides, has a bike with a 55-34 up front with an 11-42 in the rear so that he can always be pedaling.

As well, Z2 TSS is kind of a red herring. Endurance work is duration driven – NOT intensity driven. The difference between doing 1hr @ 70% and 1hr @ 60% isn’t going to be significant (compared to a 110% vs 100% workout). Doing some Z1 power during a Z2 outdoor ride isn’t catastrophic.

Have fun! :smiley:

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I’ve been posting examples for years, here in flatland it’s pretty easy to do 3-4 hours of z2 or higher and only have 2-3% coasting.

Last year I tried to use a 52-34 but I had too many shifting issues and I ended up mounting the 50. I don’t know how he manages to use a 55-34!

Anyway, I live in a mountainous are but no matter the gearing it’s basically impossible to pedal on the descents. I would need long descents without hairpins and at 3/4% grade, but it’s not like that where I live.

Yeah he lives in SW VA so there are a descent amount of descents that are in the 5-6% range with sweeping turns that you don’t have to back off to much for. He’s also using an MTB derailleur so it can take up much more slack.

I recently switched to a 52-34 and it doesn’t like the 3 small cogs when in the 34 and I would switch back to the 36 for anything more than just endurance/tempo rides and shifting is a bit slow on the front but nothing too bad.

This has been a huge headache for me. I need to be able to select outdoor workouts of a particular duration, and this made it impossible. In the thread about resubscribing I was sort of in the 50/50 camp, but this is a major con to going forward with TR.

I hope @Nate_Pearson and the team seriously reconsider this.


Yeah it can be pretty annoying if you only have a certain amount of time allotted and then you have to go searching for that time and just guess which indoor will translate to the correct outdoor workout. But I haven’t come across this for any workout other than the endurance ones. In which case I just go out and ride with a target power in mind. It really doesn’t matter if you just do 1hr at 70% vs (15min @ 65 then 15 @ 70, then 15 @ 75, etc.). I’ve never actually used the outdoor workout feature for an endurance ride.

Nice to have a target power range on the head unit during an outdoor ride. The workaround with TR outdoor workouts is, assuming indoor power targets are not modified, use the outdoor workout and simply ride for about the same amount of time as indoor.

You can also mount your phone on your bars and run the indoor workout while riding outdoors. Just be careful not to read the instruction text or stare at the screen.

Sure, but the issue is trying to plan my weeks. I have to manually insert every outdoor Z2 ride into the calendar.

Ultimately, each athlete has to exercise some agency in deciding how much time needs to be added to get to your interval spot, traffic navigation and stops included.
It will look different for everyone, but best practice with this age-old question is just to focus on the intervals prescribed in the workout, first and foremost. It can be easy to trivialize the extra time/TSS, just focus on the effort and the goal of the workout. :+1:

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There are no intervals in Z2, it’s just ride Z2 for a particular duration.

It’s baffling why this has become such a sticking point. Simply being able to search outdoor workouts by duration would instantly solve the problem.


Baffling is relative. Like you said just go out and ride z2 for X hours/minutes. No search required :wink:


If you have a way to telepathically project that on to my calendar beforehand I’m all ears.

I’m talking about planning my training volume, not actually physically doing the workouts

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Yes, we should add this to our workout list.

There are a few changes coming to it (I have a different version right now) and I think we can add this one too.

There are also other improvements coming that can hopefully handle this situation.