Handling low power when training outside


I ride mostly outside during summer time to have a better view than my garage. I use most of the time TrainNow for a ride between 1h up to 2h.

In my intervals I have sometimes interval at 1-137w (My FTP is 270+). This is super low and because I do not have long flat road where I ride it means I nearly ride around 15km/h (9.3m/ph) or below.

I often ended up riding at 200watts when I have to ride between 1-137w. This is ok for me but I do not follow the program.

I find it super hard to follow low power outside (slow ride). Also riding outside means big power in descents and I often find trainings are too easy, even if my FTP does not change on ramp test.

Do you have any tips when riding outside? Do you choose a small flat road to do some circles with the program?

Thanks :slight_smile:

If I can I like to select a route with an uphill gradient (not that there’s much round here) or a long un-technical flat. Although it can sometimes still be undulating here and I hit and uphill on a recovery or a twisty downhill on an high intensity interval. For low power stuff I drop the gears and cadence right down if I hit a uphill, sometimes I’ll naturally exceed the target but if I feel like I’m getting a recovery it doesn’t really bother me. On downhills and on intervals I find concentrating on delivering power down through my ankles helps me maintain a more steady power but sometimes with twists etc its just best to pull out for a moment before resuming the session. I’ll either try to tag that moment onto the end of the interval (during a recovery) or at the end of the workout. Ideally the lap feature that TR has lets me time it so these are avoided but sometimes for me it just ‘play it by ear’. I also tend to do a looped route but depending on time the loop might be all cooldown and the out might have been all into the wind/ resistance.

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I have tried to find a variety of hills for different interval times to match the workout types. It’s a bit of a ball ache though.

The recovery period I think is worth adhering to, 200W would be too high to be recovering properly after an interval but I’m not dogmatic, 0W to 160W would be the kind of range I’d use and the average will be somewhere around or below 137W


If you need to go at 136 for recovery, consider it a challenge to go as slowly as you possibly can go. Lowest gear, super slow peddling, and if that means 15 km/h, excellent, goal achieved. If you need to be between 0 and 136 you can also decide to go down hill (depending on the duration of the rest interval).


Going slow actually can be a good for handling skills.

In cycling there never is a “just stop and rest” recovery interval since we all want to keep moving and, most important, stopping pauses the computer clock and messes up the workout timing But in many other sports, standing around not moving is a common way to spend recovery intervals (especially short ones). For example, for any swimming workout from Olympians on down, most recovery intervals are spent not moving and just watching the clock for the next “go” time.

Yesterday I did a workout outside that had 30 second work intervals with 2 minutes rest as one of the sets. I was using a 1 mile stretch of flat road and my rest power was totally dedicated to making sure I was able to start the next interval with enough road to do the work. I even stopped a couple times and also spend a fair about of the rest going under 5 mph. For that type of set, rest really does mean rest so I don’t think I was messing up the workout.


Thanks for you different answers. That are very interesting.

I will reduce the distance and try to find road with less elevation variations and will follow intervals as much as possible.

Ok I did 3 trainings outside since my last message. I was able to maintain nearly all low power interval on only 1 and sometimes I ended up at 5km/h in very small climb. That’s weird to me, but I will try to keep following power intervals.
I have the feeling that I may be addicted to speed/effort when cycling.

For low intensity training (endurance type) like “Beech”. I will do them at home on my trainer because I cannot do it properly outside.