Group rides or training?

I love TR but I don’t know how to work in group rides with TR workouts.
I’m 56 yrs old, and live in Florida. I have 3 weekly group rides I can do:
Tuesday evening A ride
Thursday morning B+ ride
Sat morning A ride
Today I replaced the Sat ride with my first Road Race. woohoo!

I want to improve my overall fitness and probably do more races. (current ftp 240w, 3.4 w/kg).

How do I do the group rides etc and squeeze in TR workouts? Or, would I be better off skipping some/all of the group rides to focus on a TR plan?


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I have a similar potential group ride schedule. In terms of training, I do much better if I limit myself to one, I pick the Saturday ride because its the most fun, and do the prescribed TR workouts on Tuesday and Thursday.

But ---- I do like the group rides, both the riding and the social aspects. So once the ride season hits full steam, I compromise my training a bit and do at least 2 of the 3 group rides most weeks. Got to have some fun!

One thing I will do though during the race season is have a bit of a plan for each group ride and try to get some training benefit out of it or, take it easy when called for. All 3 rides give me easy opportunities to cut them short. I’m 57 and if I hammer 2, much less 3, group rides a week, I get into a deep hole pretty quick.


I think this all comes down to your goals. If you’re trying to get stronger (FTP being a reasonable proxy for this), then my personal belief is that consistently following a structured training plan will give you the best return. There are a few elements in that statement that I think are worth digging deeper on.

  1. Consistently following a plan is not just stringing some random TR workouts together to fit in around the rest of your life.
  2. Paired with point 1. your plan needs to provide progressive stress over time. This is why you need to think about your training in months, not in workouts.
  3. Your hard workouts need to be paired with sufficient rest so that you are adequately prepared to work hard for the next hard workout, but also to give your body time to adapt. Make the hard days hard and the easy days easy.

So, how do you fit a bunch of group rides into this? What are group rides and what are they not? They’re a chance to hang out with your friends, which makes them social and fun. I like both of those things. They usually also behave more like races than training sessions. So they’re not absent of benefit, but they don’t offer the same kind of progressive stress that a structured training plan provides.

Looking at your situation, a group ride/race on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday is not going to provide space for training on top of that. You’re going to be tired pretty much the whole week with that work load to the point where you will not be properly rested to get into a hard training session and get the most out of it. So, if you want to maximize fun, I’d stick with your 3 group rides, make sure you ride them hard and give up all your other training. You probably could do an easy spin on top, maybe on a Sunday, but other than that you’re probably tapped.

If you wanted to maximize your training benefit. I’d pick a Low Volume plan and then pick your favorite group ride to mix in with that. So, maybe you like the Saturday group ride the most. You’d have:

  • M: Rest
  • T: TR
  • W: Rest
  • T: TR
  • F: Rest
  • S: Group Ride
  • S: TR

Or some combination of that. If you wanted more work you could slide an aerobic ride (Pettit, Recess, etc) into 1 or 2 of your Rest days.

What I would not do is try to do everything and just smash myself every day of the week.


I am doing:

  • M: Rest
  • T: TR
  • W: “King of Wednesday” to get a race-type workout in and push myself so CX season is not a shock
  • T: Rest
  • F: TR
  • S: 200-TSS outdoor ride
  • S: TR & wife-ride or MTB
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Thanks for the very thoughtful reply.
Perhaps I’m a masochist but I really enjoy working out on the trainer (TR with Zwift and music in tandem).
So, I think I’ll take your advice and just do the Sat ride, which I can switch for a race now and then, and work a TR plan in with that…
Appreciate the help!

A lot comes down to how you feel too. As an experienced athlete, recovery should be something you think carefully about. So, maybe give the above plan a go and see how you feel. If you feel like you can do more, consider adding (as an example) the Tuesday A ride as a double-up. Here’s my thinking, you’ll have had hard rides on Saturday and Sunday, but then recovered Monday. You do a TR workout Tuesday morning, which is high quality since you’re rested. Getting nutrition in straight after the workout will be key, because you’re going to also ride later that day in the group ride. You’ll be super fatigued at the end of Tuesday, but you’ll have Wednesday as a rest day. This is just another option to consider if you feel like you’re missing out on that ride. But the key here is preserving your high quality rides for the trainer and going into the group ride fatigued, not the other way around. On days you don’t feel up to it, skip the group ride and rest.

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