I was wrong to discount TR indoor endurance rides

Y’all, endurance rides on the trainer are no joke.

A year ago, I would not have guessed that I’d be riding indoors on days where the weather permits riding outdoors – and I have gear for a WIDE range of “weather permits.” Granted, a year ago I was fighting intense lockdown fatigue and looking for any excuse to get out of the house – and these days the dogs get me out several times a day, and I’m better-adjusted to the situation.

Last year I started cycling pretty seriously after many years off the bike as an excuse to get exercise and get outside and fight lockdown fatigue. I checked out TrainerRoad last year after MONTHS of listening to their “ask a cycling coach” podcast, and wanting to add some structure to my workouts. I bought a trainer in the fall so I could keep working out in the winter, but very time it showed me an “endurance” ride on the plan I shied away. An hour of steady-state riding at low intensity? Nah, I’ll go for a walk that day, or take the day off, or free ride outside. Joke’s on me.

I just did Petit for the first time and it turns out this is HARD. Outdoors I can ride below-threshold for hours, but this is much harder. There’s no coasting. No slowing and stopping for cars, intersections, pedestrians, or to fetch that water bottle that just jettisoned itself. Just an hour of steady work. (Jonathan says this SO OFTEN on the podcast, but I guess it took a while to penetrate) By the end, my legs were tired and I was counting down the seconds to stay in it. Also worth noting – the total KJ there are no easy rest intervals here. Just steady power output around 70% of FTP. Ouch.

I won’t be skipping these anymore.

ETA: Not looking for advice or to fix or change anything – just sharing my “light dawns on marble head” moment!

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It gets easier once you get accustomed to relatively static position on trainer. After progressing 2h → 4h, it does not feel so bad anymore. Gibbs is like new Pettit :stuck_out_tongue:

Unfortunately this strength goes away quite quickly, after couple weeks of outside rides it feels really hard again. Interestingly, Z3+ feels actually easier. I guess physical effort keeps mind occupied and does not let focus on small nagging feelings.

But one is certain, no TBHV indoor anymore for me :wink:

EDIT: Tricks to make it easier:

  • every 10min standing low cadence mashing for 30sec
  • rotate positions regularly (top, hoods, drop, repeat), do not wait until one position gets uncomfortable
  • lot of cooling (i use multiple ventilators)
  • quality entertainment to keep mind occupied
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Just throwing it out there, if you find the 15min ‘intervals’ in Pettit challenging take a look at Baxter and its variants. I hated the longer 15min segments in the beginning and preferring the 2-3min segments of Baxter. Eventually I came to enjoy the longer steady-state segments and didn’t like changing it up as often. But depending on your mood and other factors you might find the shorter or longer segment length easier to deal with.

But, yeah, if you do those in erg mode it is unrelenting.

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I love those endurance rides cause I know I’m getting a good workout without burying myself. I’ve actually noticed that my best outdoor performances come the day after a 60-90 minute Z2 session.

I like the longer intervals vs Baxter cause I can monitor my HR in a steadier state for decoupling, and find I can generally zone out into watching Hulu or YouTube and just pedal without the power changes.

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I think this is a pretty common misunderstanding, particularly as people preach polarized approaches to training. Commonly it’s said, 80 percent of your riding should be “easy” and 20 percent should be hard. I think Z2 isn’t “easy” per se. At least not by my definition of easy. Z1 or anything below 50% of threshold is easy, but doing Z2 for hours is a good workout and not “easy” as they say. It’s relatively easy compared with a similar length tempo, sweetspot or threshold rides, but given those rides often have large intervals at 40%, I would say, long Z2 rides aren’t the free-ride you think they are.

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Check out the new TBHV, it looks good. Not just endurance anymore, which is awesome. I’m going to do the 3hr rides outside if I can though.

Do the polarised plans! The steady endurance rides reach up to 4 hours and if you can do that without stopping, you can ride outside for days!

After starting these plans i do believe prior plans lacked this. And to really get that steady aerobic fat burning fitness I don’t think there is a substitute.

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Yeah, outside is everything better/easier :slight_smile:

New TBHV plan without AT is way too easy for me, my usual weekly load is 750-800TSS / 14-16hr. Even with old plan I have substituted Z3 with +1 variants and increased weekend Z2 duration 4.5h → 7h. This is actually what I’m training for, longer and longer weekend rides.

When comparing SSBHV (from last winter) & TBHV (this winter), my spring endurance form is quite similar (with higher FTP this year, still getting beginner gains). With SSBHV i spent less time on trainer but were more exhausted before recovery weeks. This winter with TBHV, more time on trainer but never felt overly fatigued. Next winter going to try Polarized HV, it’ll be interesting comparison.

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same for outside, always be pedaling!!

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Pretty soon 2-3 hours will be cake. I consistently do 1:30 and 2 hours. Rarely 3 but they dont bother me anymore.

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20 or 30 podcasts ago, someone wrote in and commented on there being no purpose to small steps in intervals (like Baxter). I quickly mentally disagreed with him. These little steps in Baxter make long intervals so much easier for me, even if it is only 2 or 4 watts up and down. It feels like there are definite markers of time through the workout and it all goes so much faster that way.

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Baby steps vs flat intervals is a real deal. Doesn’t impact everyone, but some people really notice the difference and perform better on one than the other. I would guess training history and physiology matter a lot here, but either way, the workouts may be similar on the surface, but functional demands may well be different for a range of riders.

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The good news is that it gets much easier the more you do them. Today I happened to have Petit on the calendar and a 1 hour webinar with a vendor…match made in heaven! Watched my webinar, got my workout in, had a couple carbs, and after a quick shower was back to work. Easie Piese.

You’ll soon learn to love these rides, especially if you’re into watching sports. Nothing’s better than watching a baseball, basketball, or bike race while on the trainer doing 65% of FTP. For baseball opening day I even make a whole event out of it getting a pizza next to me and a couple cool barley beverages in my water bottle holder. Now watching sports by myself WITHOUT doing a Z2 ride feels like a waste. :stuck_out_tongue:

Welcome to the club of the converted.

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Yeah those endurance rides are no joke… It’s kinda hard to replicate outdoors when you live in any kind of metropolitan area.

Yea the TBHV is very interesting with them leaning on AT. One of the endurance rides each week is 3 hrs at 40-50% FTP, which I’m assuming you bump up manually to show your endurance to AT? I’m also a high-volume rider, 15-20hr weeks, but it seems like it will be easier to add volume to TBHV for me.

I’ve got you down for Bandeira this weekend then!

After a while doing TR endurance rides, it’ll get to a point where having to stop pedaling is actually annoying and makes the workout more difficult.

Until there is no AT for me, I’ll combine new and old TBHV3:

  • Tue-Fri: use new plan progression
  • Sat: keep old sweetspot progression (North PackBaird PeakAniakchak)
  • Sun: already on my own endurance progression using distance, every week add 20km, coming weekend it’ll be 180km.

Goal is Rapha Ambitious 220 (220mi, ~360km) in 12hr. 13hr is more realistic, though.

I think doing these endurance rides outdoors also is hard. Not so much from the physical perspective rather the discipline. Having to stay in Z2 when going up an incline, or into a headwind, not jumping behind a passing rider you know you can out-ride, having to say to your group riding mates, I’ll miss this one as I need to do some Z2 training. What I find most difficult is riding in heavy traffic, I hadn’t realised how much extra attention I was giving such traffic, all subconsciously, and it raises my HR well into the next zone. The more I do these outside, the easier physically they become, ie, learning, to react under my control rather than the conditions. Z2 is easy.

I have also been experimenting with the ‘Talk Test’. And finding it a great aid when outside particularly. If I can say my mobile number out loud in a normal comfortable conversational manner, I’m in Z2, or say the 1st 10 letters of the alphabet, before the urge to take a breath is signaled. If that urge comes after the 1st 4 characters I know I am between VT1 and 2, if that urge comes after 1-2 characters I’m above VT2.

I’ve posted about the polarized trial plans. I’m not convinced they have the HIIT session sorted out yet, in both duration and intensity. Am interested to hear from others.

Does the ride description say what the purpose of that ride is?

It just seems like it is way too long to be active recovery but also too easy to for aerobic endurance. I’m struggling trying to think why TR would recommend a ride that is at odds with most power-based training information I’ve found (related to zone 1/2.)