Indoor TSS vs Outdoor TSS

So I understand that not all TSS created equal. My question is, if you take the same rider and put them through the following will the results vary greatly?

  • Mid-volume TR schedule, Base Build, Specialty for a whole year
  • 10-15hrs of unstructured riding outdoors, longer rides where IF is maybe 0.75-0.85 for a whole year.

I recently had a discussion with my friend who wanted to know if he would get faster by following a structured training plan vs riding outdoors 10-15hrs a week.


I think part of it depends on what type of fitness you’re after. You can get good training stress form riding climbs, going hard outside, etc. The structure allows you to hone your fitness for a specific goal… i.e. bette short power, expanding aerobic base, raising FTP, etc. You also get more bang for your buck so to speak on a trainer vs riding outdoors. For me personally I went from 3-5hrs a week outside riding pretty hard with an FTP of 225 the first time I tested at 196lbs to currently around 280 at 174lbs. I saw the most gains when i followed the structure closely. Of course this is only my personal experience but I’m sure others here have much more in depth experience and knowledge.

It depends what you’re after. Before TR, I used to do a lot of outdoor riding, 15h plus a week, and was ok fit for club rides, crazy long rides, etc. However I wasn’t especially race fit, I had good indurance, but little sharpness. It didn’t specifically made me faster.

If your goal event is something like a century ride, or a multi-day event, outdoor riding, as long as you have the time, is a good way of getting there. (Especially as it also helps with riding skills, dealing with the weather, pounding by rough roads etc). If you’re training to race, especially crits or cx, you’ll need to add more sharpness I think.