First training ride on the indoor setup has me concerned

So i’ve been doing only outdoor riding since starting trainerroad. since my indoor equipment is really bad, it always felt miserable to pedal on so i just stayed outdoors when starting structured training.

Now that the cold months are approaching, I hopped on the indoor setup to test it out and holy crap was it awful. It was Jepson, and even after the very first section of threshold I was DYING. I started the workout out with 95% intensity, knowing the indoor would likely need to be adjusted down. I adjusted the intensity down to 90% for the 2nd and 3rd, but still failed and couldn’t complete the full last 2 min subinterval of threshold at the tail of the 3rd section. I took a bit longer of a rest and set it to 85% to complete the 4th and final round, and was barely able to stand afterwards. Here is a visualization of this workout: My HRV the next day was significantly lower as well, with the lowest recovery score I’ve had in the 2 months of whoop ownership (12% recovery).

In terms of perceived effort, I was feeling lactic acid burn (not sure if theres a better name for that) almost immediately, even at what was supposed to be sweet spot efforts. it was miserable.

TL;DR I was thrashed by this relatively lightweight workout of 70tss.

My outdoor FTP is 220 (and that FPT is likely slightly lower since I felt like i had some in the tank after my 20 minute test, but not to the point where i felt the need to re-test). Is it normal to have such a HUGE difference in indoor outdoor? If I were to invest in a better indoor setup, would the better road feel result in less power discrepancy? I have tested using the ramp test indoors some time ago and had a score of 207 FTP (this was mid-summer), but even that score seems higher than my experience on this particular workout.

Sorry this post might be a bit ranty, but my actual question is: is it okay to drop my workout intensity to 85-90% the intensity of what it should be when indoors? I really don’t want to miss out on gains for the winter (my only goal in winter is to train hard), but this workout had me feeling absolutely miserable. I don’t think I could complete a workout any harder if that was intensity was “correct”, which is extremely demoralizing. If i can barely do an hour long 70 TSS workout indoors thats, not a good sign for back to back weekend training rides of 1.5 hours+ with 110+ TSS. How should I go forward?

What does your cooling situation on your indoor set up look like? are you using the same power meter indoors and out?

Same power meter indoor and out, and my cooling is not amazing but it’s not awful. I have 2 fans. I was definitely hot, but i’ve done hot outdoor training rides and none of them had me struggling so hard as I was here. Some of my best outdoor power was set in some of the hottest weather this summer, so being unable to hold sweet spot for more than 5 minutes indoors seems REALLY concerning to me.

What’s your indoor setup? What trainer are you using?

I would definitely recommend that you do a new ramp test on your indoor setup. You need to know where you are starting from no matter what your “indoor” ftp actually is.

Also check and make sure the little things are right. Zero your meter, Do a spindown, make sure your rear brakes aren’t dragging and check your tire pressure.


I have a really basic rear wheel trainer. I do make sure to calibrate my meter before every ride, and also if the brake was rubbing that wouldn’t affect my power data since its taken at the pedals, right?

I’d definitely be willing to invest in a much better setup, i just dont know if that’s really my issue

If it’s in the budget, a better trainer, preferably direct drive smart, will help your training. Also, invest in a really good fan or two. A hot ride outside is nothing like a hot ride inside because there is very little evaporative cooling. Definitely do an indoor ftp test as that will set your power targets properly. Above all though, structured training indoors, in a fixed position is not easy. It definitely takes time to adapt to the unrelenting nature of TR intervals.


Was your brake rubbing perhaps? If not, I’d suggest doing a new ramp test and using that as your new indoor baseline. If you think the FTP isn’t the issue, look at your nutrition and rest coming into the session. Those also could be contributors to how you felt on this ride.

This is common.

Not everyone struggles with indoor workouts, but many do. It’ll really teach you to HTFU.

Most of the folks regularly posting here on the TR forum figured it out. Those who couldn’t and abandoned indoor training aren’t here, so don’t be discouraged by feeling like you’re the only one.

It’ll take time but eventually your indoor and outdoor FTP will converge. Investing in a better setup will speed things up. Indoor riding is hard enough as it is; make it too hard and you’re just not going to want to do it.

I don’t think buying a new trainer is the best advice (although we all would love to have the best ones, right?). I am in a similar situation, i can easily hold 320w for 20mins outdoors, but 285w for 20min indoors have me suffering quite a bit.
I can also feel my muscles starting to “burn” a little bit almost immediately after starting an interval.
I don’t know what kind of fans you have, but i think this has a lot do with my indoor performance at least. I only have one pretty standard fan blowing at my upper body, and should probably look into getting a fan with much larger blades. Also, indoor training is just more taxing mentally. Outside, the environment changes all the time, you are going somewhere, you get real air resistace “cooling”, and you get micro breaks because of momentum.

My experience is that the muscle pain indoors is taking up more space mentally than the same muscle pain outdoors. When concentrating on the pain outdoors I can feel that the pain is the same its just that your mind outside has so much more to think about than the actual pain.

Ive been able to do my workouts indoors but when I do my weekend workouts outside I can always push a bit harder because it just doesn’t hurt as much.

What are your HR telling you? Are your HR going of the roof or is that in the same ballpark as outside at the same power? Yes, the heat would bring your HR higher at the same power output but with some kind of fan it shouldn’t be spiking.


@reniat if it is any consolation at all, I experienced a similar disparity between RPE for outdoors versus RPE for indoors - having never trained indoors before or indeed done any structured training (intervals etc) of any sort before.

I found after a small amount of trial and error (and good helpful advice from people on this forum) that dropping my indoor FTP to 90% (ish) of my outdoor recorded FTP seemed to do the trick.

This was with a Wattbike Atom in ERG mode and a couple of fans so bit different set up to you.

I think in my case (and possibly some transferable considerations for you) was that I encountered a mix of the following variables that impacted how indoor training felt:

  • my outdoor FTP was simply too high / overestimated and my anaerobic component probably skewed the result upwards (aka unsurprisingly, I’m not as fit / powerful as I thought I was)
  • the power meter on my road bike is different to that on my Atom and so clearly there is room for a difference simply when accounting for margins of error
  • my lack of experience of the constant pedalling pressure required in ERG mode was a hindrance and took a while to adapt to (even on a hard climb there are natural ‘mini breaks’ in pedal pressure when riding outdoors) - I failed to properly appreciate this aspect - IE: there is nowhere to hide
  • mentally I wasn’t up to the job to begin with and simply hadn’t properly considered how tough it would be to press hard on the pedals non stop for a number of intervals in succession without a long break and faltered to begin with due to lack of mental toughness
  • the cooling effect of fans is nowhere the same as riding outdoors and also there is no momentum to help, both these aspects probably in combination dropped my available power / ability to match what I would otherwise perhaps be capable of outdoors

What I can say (to perhaps but this all in perspective) is that I’ve now just reached the end of SSB LV and after 6 weeks have been able to get my head around things and adapt my approach so now feel like as long as I’m not over-tired I’d be able to complete the lions share of the workouts - albeit with lots of effort needed

Also - I went for a 40-ish mile outdoor ride today. I definitely felt (RPE) that I had the ability to hold a sub-threshold power level for longer and whilst this may just be placebo I really do think the benefits of the programme have already given me a small bump in fitness - despite not finishing all the workouts initially due to being unable to cope until I’d refined things down.

I hope this helps
Good luck :+1:

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Truth above.

I have a kickr snap. Two years ago I really struggled, first compounded by a ftp set probably what was 10% too high based on an outdoor test. That is the difference between sustainable success and failure on a mid vol plan.

In the past year, indoor and outdoor are getting closer for me. The lasko fan people rave about on here was a big help. Especially when you add the harbor freight router speed controller. Gives me a variable speed control hanging right on my bars. I’m also using a box fan exhausting out one window, tightly fit to pull air through the entire room across me from another open window at same time. Even when it’s in the 30s. And lasko fan still goes on high for SS and above. (window AC when hotter outside)

Recently setup good sound system. I think that closed at least another 5W of the gap.

I set ftp based on indoor ramp test and push for upper end of the interval ranges suggested for outdoor workouts when outside - but that isn’t always possible anymore as indoor and outdoor are converging.

Finally, about to build a rocker base to make 90min rides hopefully less painful.

The more compliance to the TR work year round, the more I’m seeing lots of long endurance power PRs, and hopefully this year I will finally execute a full 28 week mid vol cycle and see if I can now break a 20min/ftp plateau.


Will add that riding the trainer is different than riding outside - there is no let up on the resistance on the trainer and even if you’re doing interval training outside you do get small periods of micro-rest. It takes a little bit to get used to the constant resistance.

But yeah everything everyone else said. Fans and do a ramp test indoors.

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don’t over tighten the roller against your rear wheel.
I try and make it just tight enough that the bike will not “bounce” with accelerations. It helps create a more road like feel.

I don’t remember which podcast but indoor FTP and outdoor FTP was discussed and it was noted that you can expect your Indoor FTP to be lower by about … 10 to 15%. Having said that in a 26 min outdoor Time trial on my TT bike my power was 276 watts. (and 95% of that would be 263).

I started TR last in January of 2017, and went through the adaption and working out my expectations (for my FTP setting). My first test (20 min) was 236. And I bailed out of the TT position at 11 min and finished it on the hoods for 9 min. I eventually lowered it to 220 watts I think, vs my outdoor riding FTP pf 263.

I started my first full season in October of 2018 after letting go of most of my fitness during the summer. Eventually I got my FTP as tested on the ramp test on the hoods only up to 224 watts (but I started much lower and slowly built it up - while figuring out all the various types of workouts. In particular what I could do in the TT position and MVO2 which I could only do on the hoods)

Let me recap January to March of 2018 - was a learning experience doing my training in a structured power based format.

Oct 2018 to July of 2019 was my first season and I adapted and figured out the workouts. I no longer view going outside for a training ride worth my time. Although I would go out for a recovery and coffee ride in between any of my Set TR workouts.

Give it time and reconcile that your indoor FTP is just different and lower than your outdoor FTP. Apples to oranges for most of us.

Good luck and stick to you you’ll not regret it.

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