Hard outdoor rides

I know there are many threads on how to slot outdoor rides into the training plan, and I have searched for some answers here, but I have some pretty specific data with which to work. I ride with folks during the week (usually on days where a TR workout is scheduled), and these rides have a pretty specific profile. It is usually a 2 to 2.5 hour ride where I am taking 5 minute pulls every 20 or 25 minutes. My pulls usually start out around 105% FTP (the first one or two), then quickly move to FTP (next one or two), then below FTP. Route usually have no stops, so power is always on the pedals. They are training rides for the others that do not ride indoors. After the ride, my NP and average power are the same as a TR sweet spot workout.

So I am wondering how to classify, or more importantly, which TR workout from the week to remove in favor of these rides. I am in sustained build HV, so it looks like a 5min interval ride (like Wilhelm +5), but the rest periods between intervals in the outdoor ride are way more intensive (and longer), as I am having to sit in draft of others doing about the same w/kg I was doing. But most concerning is that because of this, I cannot achieve the prescribed 108% FTP for each interval.

Does it sound like I am selecting the right workout to substitute, or should I be substituting a SS workout from the end of the week and still doing the short interval (5-7min above FTP) TR workouts?


I would say the closest match is a long SS workout on the basis that while you’re not spending a lot of time actually at SS (I’d guess your “recoveries” are more like high tempo?) you are amassing 2+ hours mostly at around threshold or below so it’s going to be hitting a lot of the same energy systems.

Does actually sound like this ride is pretty good training. I’ve done regular group rides which are really hard to categorise as the recoveries have been too long and easy (flat roads and decent-sized group = a lot of coasting even if the front rider is putting down a lot of watts) and instead of keeping a steady pace throughout there have been sections where people hammer it and form breaks, sprint for signs, etc. Great fun and great race practice, just doesn’t bear much resemblance to anything in the TR plans!

Do you have any options to tweak it a bit? E.g. if the ride is hurting you a little too much and is hard to recover from, is there any reason you can’t just do all your pulls at FTP instead of going harder for the first 2 so that it is more like a SS-Threshold workout? Or could you do slightly longer pulls? Doubt they’re going to let you sit on the front for 15 minutes at SS, but maybe 7-8 minute pulls at FTP instead of 5 minute pulls at 105% FTP might get it closer to what’s on the plan?

I’ve actually seen one guy who pretty much singlehandedly turned group rides into something like Wilhelm +5 (for him at least!) by doing his pulls hard enough that everybody was going over threshold to stay on his wheel, so that when he pulled off the pace would drop and he’d get a nice proper recovery and be fresh to go again. Probably not recommended though, you might find you’re no longer welcome in that group…

I can do longer pulls for sure. But Wilhelm +5 is 5min intervals at 108%…so do you mean longer pulls at FTP to get it closer to a SS workout, and then still do the Wilhelm +5 TR workout on another day?

Haha, I can’t do Wilhelm +5 on the ride because I am not the strongest one by a long shot, so they would sit in while I do it, and I would just end up not having energy to stay on the group after my 108% pull (or after the third pull at 108%).

Thanks for the input!

Yup. If you can’t turn it into Wilhelm +5, then keeping it all at FTP or below and spending more time on the front would get it a bit closer to being a SS workout. Though I don’t think it’s a big deal if you can’t, if it’s a ride you enjoy and gets you for >2 hours of riding with friends then it’s all good!

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