Feature Request: Training Approach in Plan Builder

I had stopped using Trainerroad as I felt like it wasn’t progressing fast enough. Poking around the site today, found this toggle. Why not make this visible in the plan builder?

Also, until the PLs take into account outside riding, why not make them one way? Ie can go up if you ride a TR workout, but won’t go down. I’m hardly riding the trainer right now, riding a bunch outside and my PLs are all around two. If there was a one way switch, it would partially solve the cold start problem.

Hey there,

Sorry to hear things weren’t going as you had hoped.

We keep the Training Approach slider set to “Balanced” as our default option as it will best suit the majority of athletes. We don’t want to make the Plan Builder startup process too complicated/overwhelming, which is why the Training Approach slider isn’t in there right now. That said, I’ll still pass your suggestion along to the development team!

As for PLs, your capabilities decline when you take time off the bike or don’t train specific skills for extended periods. To reflect this, your Progression Levels gradually adjust after time off, or after long periods without completed workouts in any individual training zone. The magnitude of these time-related adjustments varies from Level-to-Level because changes in different types of fitness occur at different rates.

Even if an athlete is riding outdoors, if they aren’t completing structured workouts, their PLs may not remain as high as they might think. While Workout Levels V2 isn’t released yet, we have noticed in our internal testing that unstructured outside rides often end up with a low PL score. Simply put, many outside rides have a lot more coasting/Zone 1 time than indoor (or even structured outdoor rides) do. They also generally tend to have fewer periods of sustained effort in a given zone – the power output from most unstructured outside rides is usually pretty stochastic.

It might be worth trying to use Outside Workouts as part of your outdoor riding. Adaptive Training would still recognize these sessions since they’re TR Workouts, so your PLs would adjust according to the WLs of the Outside Workouts you complete. That way, your PLs wouldn’t decrease and Adaptive Training would continue to know what kinds of workouts you’d be capable of completing.

Hope this info helps clear some of that up – feel free to let me know if you have any additional questions!


Spot on. I checked my recent outdoor workouts in different zones, they all contain like 25% of coasting and hardly 30% of the target zone time. Roughly speaking, they are all the same kinda “typical outdoor ride style” bc you cannot keep the target close enough all the time. I do have avg spot on on all the intervals but if you look inside, man, that’s far from what it should look like.

I remember one said here years ago that all structural training should be done indoors. It is very much so.

Thanks all. Appreciate the feedback.

I’m just suggesting that the Training Approach menu is buried and as someone who has used TR for years, I only just discovered it by accident a few days ago. Perhaps I’m a Luddite, but would have loved a nudge in the plan builder or at some other time to help me discover it.

re progression levels, I get the theory, understand how difficult (if not impossible) of a classification exercise you are dealing with for outdoor rides and why you would suggest associated any outdoor ride with a TR ride. I’m just suggesting a simpler solution–one way PLs until you fail a trainer ride and then it gets pulled down.

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I’m in a similar place re: PLs, they’re all way down due to less structured training and more outdoor rides in the nice weather. But to your suggestion, I think that in general TR tries to avoid having “user fails a workout” be a part of their plan. You’re clearly super motivated to improve quickly, which is great, but for a lot of people I suspect failing a workout would be frustrating and might reduce adherence to the plan in general.

Note that you can always “test out” of a given PL, i.e. just pick a “stretch” or “breakthrough” workout, complete it, and your PLs are back up to that level going forward; your plan will adapt future workouts accordingly.

  • Not a luddite at all. This is relatively new feature and they didn’t place it very well, IMO.

That and the AIFTP Detection are both misplaced and not in logical locations. The Training Approach absolutely belongs as a part of the Plan Builder Process at the very least, and a more logical placement for access outside that process.


Maybe, automatic pickup of most close workout from the library would be a good solution? Now, indeed, you have to manually pick up a workout, schedule it and then associate it with the ride you made. It’s laborious and moreover, the workout you chose may be not perfect match to an actual ride you did.

We actually don’t recommend pairing an outside ride with a TrainerRoad workout unless you followed the structure of the workout precisely. This commonly leads to issues with PLs and workout failure down the road.

There’s no need to try and get PL credit for each and every ride you do. Your fitness will show when you complete a structured workout and your PLs will adjust as necessary. :muscle:

We’re working on a feature that will assign your unstructured rides a workout level of sorts, so just know that it’s coming! :slightly_smiling_face:


Very much agree that this is the TR approach and a reaction to criticism that the old plans were too hard. Personally, I would prefer to fail an occasional ride because that means I’m pushing myself and stretching. I’m looking forward to trying the training approach toggle this fall when I start riding the trainer again and hope to fail some

AFAIK the training approach toggle affects the Red Light Green Light feature but does not make your workout levels ramp up more aggressively.