How to start using TrainerRoad at a novice level

There are so many things to learn.
Is it possible to reduce the amount of time in a training session on the fly.

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You can either reduce the length of the workout simply by stopping and choosing “End Workout” or you can reduce the effective effort by lowering your FTP for that workout. But in the latter case you are moving out of the relative training zones that are based on your FTP test, so Threshold becomes Sweet Spot, Sweet Spot becomes Tempo, etc.

If you’ve overdone your FTP test to get a higher value, unlikely but possible, then you can either do another ramp test or simply reduce your FTP by say 5% and see how that goes. If you are genuinely a novice I’d start on SSBLV (Sweet Spot Base Low Volume) and see how you get on.

The workouts should feel tough but not undoable.

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This site has tons of useful info.

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I’m kind of new here too. I would suggest that you start with a low volume plan. If you never did structured training before I would suggest you do Traditionnal base low volume. Even a double up on base by doing back to back TB and ss low volume to get a strong aerobic foundation, boost confidence and get a hang for what different level of workload feel.

Have a listen to Ask a Cycling Coach podcast #158 at about 25 minutes onwards where they talk about FTP testing.


Start with sweet spot base low volume. Everyone has to start somewhere so jump in there and do the best you can. It’s ok if you struggle or can’t finish a workout. Just be consistent in that you keep getting on the bike and promise you’ll be happy with how fast you improve. These plans really work.

Lots of smart and very experienced riders on here that you can use a resource to improve.

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Hi and welcome

Your see loads improvement just by starting and lots of good advice on here

Start slow and build the key is consistency


Chad and the coaches typically recommend doing SSBLV instead of traditional base.

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Hey welcome! Don’t worry, the plans are pretty plug-n-play when you first start out, so don’t feel like you have to become an exercise physiology expert overnight. Or ever. :slight_smile:

You can navigate inside a workout, so when you’re feeling done you can fast-forward to the cooldown.

I started from ground zero in February, with no prior training or experience or anything. I was almost completely sedentary. I did yoga sometimes, that was it. I started the Sweet Spot Base Low Volume plan based on this support article that talks about base training, and sort of blindly trusted that the Ramp Test at the beginning would scale the plan to my fitness (or lack thereof). That’s exactly what happened, and I managed to finish every workout. If you’re looking for a plan and you’re new to structured training, I recommend that one.


I may have missed it. What is your reason behind wanting to cut the workout short on the fly? If it is a time crunch thing you can find alternative workouts for the scheduled ones that are either shorter in time of intensity for any given workout. The workouts with +1, +2 etc. usually mean the time has been increased or the intensity level TSS. You should be able to find the same workout without the +1 or even -1 in the library. The Workouts with a -1, -2 etc. are essentially the same workout and target the same areas but are a shorter duration or intensity level. Obviously if you change the intended workout level time wise or intensity wise you will not get the same benefit you would get from the intended workout. The effort you put in is the benefit you get out. All the intervals are based off your FTP set either by the Ramp test or one of the other 8 minute or 20 minute tests so you should be able to complete them if you have the correct FTP. You will find intervals that are down right tough and then others are downright easy. Trust the system. it works

Primarily, I must pace myself. I am starting pretty low on the fitness level. Have been riding road bike outside, but the kicker and TR has kicked my but so far. The long range plan is to ride a 100 mile race in the spring of 21.

Think I will take the FTP again. Mine came out at 142, but my understanding of the technology is so limited that that number does not mean anything to me.

Will hit the trainer most mornings this week and maybe get a bit of momentum going.

Sweet Spot seems to be a good start point. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Not being an exercise physiology expert would be a good goal. Thanks

Don’t worry about the actual FTP number that you get from the test, to begin with it’s best to think of it as how the software sets the relative difficulty of each workout. The important word in that sentence is “relative”, that means that when you do a particular workout it’s targeting and stressing a particular part of your fitness. Even if your FTP was 242 or 342 then the same workout would target the same part of your fitness.

Technically FTP is the maximum power you could theoretically output for an hour of effort. It’s just a figure that training programs and trainers tend to use that means everyone knows what is being referred to in terms of effort rather than someone coming up with a new metric that no-one else understands.

@bholmlate - I think it’s that the OP has started a workout and then wants to cut it short or make it easier rather than thinking “That’s a bit much, is there a shorter version?” which is what the -1, -2 versions are for.


Yes they do and it probably fits most riders. But from experience SSB was too daunting for me. I came to TR after burning myself on a combination of zwift workouts, B6 depletion, hernia surgery and a stroke 18 months earlier. Sweet spot was daunting and looked like it was a fast way to get back in a bad place that took me several months to recover.

So TB even low volume was exactly what I needed. Granted I might have had a better progression with Sweet Spot. After one round of TB I do Sweet Spot now and it is exactly what I expected lot of intensity early. Which I wouldn’t have been able to sustain at the time.


Wow, congratulations on coming back from a stroke, that’s incredible. Sounds like TB was tailor-made for you!

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Well I had it as a result of a genetic disease that caused inflammation. And had 3 business but more importantly 3 kids ages 8, 6 and 4 that needed a fully functionnal father. It was a miserable come back: comprised of long and daunting hard work that left me feel like quiting every night. I was paralyzed on the right side so I used the bike to get my left side to work and remake the neuronal connections 5 minutes at a time. After 3 months I still couldn’t speak or read but at least I could walk. It took me 1 year to get functionnal enough to tacle the problem of my genetic thing. On which there was no reasearch at all and because it touch only 1 in 200 000 000. I’m now treated so no inflamation anymore. So yeah TB low volume was the perfect fit at that time. Definitely the biggest, baddest accomplishment of my life so far.


The thing is if he is really a newbie cyclist in the grand sceme of things doing 3 months of TB may slow his progression on the short term. But on the long term it won’t change a thing with the benefits of a better aerobic engine, boosted confidence, he’ll see progress even if not on his FTP. He’ll benefit from more fliud pedalling in both high and low cadence, in/out saddle transition, speed burst, sprints, cadence. I mean those are all cycling skills that are useful in the real world and there is much less of this work on this in Sweet spot base than in TB. My max RPM progressed from 130 to 180. And max power from 400 to 600 watts. And got a little FTP bump. It made my outside riding that much more enjoyable. I could tacle hills knowing I could swich load from grinding at 60 RPM to spinning at a 100. Going out of the saddle to change the load. All this is useful.

Ah - well you didn’t mention all that. :slight_smile: cool. glad you’re all recovered now and totally get it.

I haven’t done TB, but there are a lot of form and cadence drills in SSB. Every workout has some combination of low/high cadence drills, standing form drills, aero form drills, seated/standing transition drills (wow are those helpful), pedaling quadrant drills, knee stability drills, isolated leg drills, etc. I don’t think choosing SSB means you miss out on that real-world skill refinement. You do spend much less time on the bike, so you might clock less total time in drills, but you’re absolutely making the most of the time you are on the bike.

My first time through SSB, my FTP went from 1.4 W/kg to 2 W/kg, or over a 40% increase. (Noob gains, clearly.) Like Coach Chad and the rest of the TR folks have recommended, SSB is usually the right choice for most people, even absolute beginners like I was. The exceptions are folks like you, coming back from injury or illness who need a lower intensity, or people who have lots of time before their events and over ten hours to train every week.