Getting bored with indoor training and supplementing with outdoor rides

I semi-recently moved to a new town (about 18 months ago) and spent the first 9+ months riding pretty much exclusively indoors. I was also recovering from surgery for part of that, so it helped me slowly transition back into training and riding.

Because I spend so much time indoors, though, I’m starting to get slightly bored with indoor training. I still love it, but I want to shift some of my focus outside as to not totally burn myself out before winter when I’ll end up inside for weeks at a time.

I don’t race, but I still push myself to train like I do. I just finished up the end of a training plan (which actually didn’t conclude as I would’ve like thanks to illness) and I’m unsure of how to proceed with a new plan, especially since I want to start spending more time outside. I can do some indoor rides outside thanks to the new outside ride feature, but that really only works if I’m alone since not everyone on a group ride will want to ride at whatever pace my workout has for the day.

With that in mind, I’m interested in hearing how other non-racers handle both indoor/outdoor workouts during training plans. Do you do a low-volume plan and work around your outdoor rides? A mid-volume plan and skip rides where they don’t make sense? I’m not really looking to make any gains during the warm months—I really just want to have fun riding, which is something I don’t focus on enough. But I also don’t want to lose anything that I’ve worked to gain over the last several months.


Personally the outdoor rides are why I enjoy cycling, the indoor rides are a means to an end (being faster outdoors), not an end in themselves.

In terms of a plan, I pick one that is representative of my total volume of cycling, indoors and out. Then just do some of the workouts outside. And sometimes the plan goes out the window and I just ride, particularly if it’s a group ride which can be unpredictable.


Why are you riding? If you are not racing then is riding for you just about fitness?

For me, I like to ride gravel. Long distance events. Centuries. I do not live near gravel roads. In fact they are about 30 minutes away to the closest one. So the trainer is a necessary tool to get into and stay fit. I could ride the streets but I do not like traffic. So it’s more efficient for me to ride the trainer than in the street time wise. I also live in the north in MI. I do not like riding outside in the cold.
Again the trainer solves this issue.

1 Like

The workout structure over time does not have to be as rigid as many TR devotes seem to believe. So to start with, you are not ruining your entire plan if you sub in an out door ride.

Get to know the structure of the plan you are doing and the basic types of workouts. There are 8 million TR workouts but there are really only a handful of types. Basically, you have recovery workouts, steady state threshold or sweet spot intervals, VO2max intervals and anaerobic/sprint intervals. Then within the plan weeks, you have a period of progressive load then a recovery week. All plans are some mix of these basic structures.

Once you see that pattern, just pay attention to what you are missing by subbing in an outdoor ride and decide if you can incorporate that type of work into the ride or, swap things around to fit. And, pay attention to total load (TSS) and don’t end up doing too much work in a week.

On group rides, its not too hard to get descent sweet spot/threshold work in since you can just go to the front if its the right group. Or, get in over your head and hang on to a faster group. Probably the hardest thing to do in a group is recovery. Even if you find a slow enough group, the ride will probably be too long. Do the easy stuff alone or in doors.

I’m just starting build low volume and I’m tweaking the calendar so I do 2 indoor workouts in the week and 2 longer, steady rides at the weekend. This gives a kind of polarised approach as I like to take it easy at weekends.

I just push the calendar out to fit as I go, moving Saturday workouts to the next Tuesday and Tuesday’s to Thursday etc.

When I have a hard weekend ride just follow with black or petitt or just a standard recovery week.

It’s more like the plans were pre-calendar where you just pick the workouts off the list.

I don’t race at all. I have do have some big outdoor rides (London to Brighton) that I work towards. During the winter months (almost as soon as the clocks change I reckon) I follow the plan as much as I possibly can with virtually no outdoor rides, with the aim of trying to get as fit as possible to enjoy the summer outdoors.

I try and stay relaxed about training plans once I reach the warmer summer months and go outside at the weekends and do whatever takes my fancy, a long ride to a beach and back, or maybe just a ride to a nice pub, or a good cafe.

I certainly don’t think that TR was developed with the idea that you should only stay indoors. You train towards your goal, you try and get as fit and fast as possible, and then you go outside and enjoy completing your goal. I am sure that Coach Chad has mentioned about just doing a couple of maintenance workouts through the week so that racing/riding takes place at the weekend. And I don’t think the mind or body could withstand constant training with no time to try something different

Mentioning something different, I also like the challenge of increasing my Max Square and visiting new tiles

1 Like

I like the low volume plans for this very reason. I don’t race and it allows me to throw in some outdoor rides/keep up with powerlifting/get in some longer training hikes without being too burnt out or risking injury.

Training indoors for me is about making riding outdoors more enjoyable. Take a week off and ride outdoors, helps you remember why you enjoy doing this in the first place.

1 Like

I use TR plans typically during the fall and winter. I do a low volume plan.

Spring/summer is about riding outdoors. I too dont race but do it just for enjoyment. Yes I enjoy the training aspect as well. I dont tend to follow a plan once the outdoor riding is available. I will still do specfiic workouts base on what I think would help me improve overall. Most times I do a VO2 workout or just something hard inside. If the weather is either wet or just too hot I do an inside ride.


I do LV and sprinkle in rides Wed/Sun. With the ability to do outdoor workouts, this has really opened up the possibility of outdoor riding and stay on point in the plan. I think the biggest thing is not to be too married to a plan and learn to be flexible.

Now…go ENJOY the outdoors!

1 Like

I enter races, but I’m never going to win anything, so it’s more for the experience and having fun.

I do the TR low volume plans, add 1-2 outdoor rides a week, usually skipping the weekend TR ride. If I have the time, I also add another sweet spot ride on the trainer - Eichorn has been my go-to - 2x20 at 90%.


If you just want to ride lots during the warmer months and perhaps challenge yourself on climbs or centuries, the best approach is to spend the colder months focusing on your strength and your top end power. Don’t waste time in sweet spot because it’s a fad - too hard to be good aerobic conditioning, and too easy to be good anaerobic/neuromuscular conditioning. It’ll just fatigue you and you’ll lose motivation and/or get sick. Focus on short but hard efforts a few times a week. This will maintain your overall fitness (including your aerobic base) and give you good time to refresh. Then as the weather get warmer you can get back outside and start integrating longer and more enjoyable miles.

1 Like