I’m not good at holding long intervals outdoors stable powerwise but my mate is. On a sporting TT though I seem to hold more steady power than him though. He’s about 4mph or more faster and usually wins or podiums. It won’t obviously be as simple as the training style but at a high level if you do have the ability to hold a more constant interval its better training
Quality-wise, doing such long, steady workouts indoors is going to be much, much better, especially if you don’t have any suitable roads nearby.
Not when you are changing power as well. During my trainer rides I often use changes in cadence to break the monotony and make it easier for me to keep track how much time I have left. So for example, on this week’s 3x20x30 seconds at VO2max, my typical cadence was 107–117 rpm, but every fifth interval I’d do it at 90–95 rpm. During sweet spot intervals, I do the same.
But when you are just changing cadence, because your power fluctuates wildly, I think this is a bad idea.
While I agree with this, I think you can and should practice pacing on different days. I prefer to substitute my weekend workouts for e. g. a “pacing workout”. Last year, I went out specifically to work on different pacing strategies. Once, I wanted to be close to 90ish % on average, so I was a little above that for climbs and a little below that for descents (when possible and safe). My average speed that day was great, even if I didn’t get any PRs that day. (That’s tricky, if I don’t set myself goals for outside rides, I am always tempted to snag up a PR.) Other days when the wind is very gusty, I try being steady. And yet other days, I try to stay in Z2 even on the climbs.
But overall, I don’t like to mix “muscle” drills with outdoors skill drills.
I’m a fan of doing these outside and learning to control power. Don’t overthink it and allow for some zone flex while learning to read the road.
one other thing you can do: for outside days, don’t try to do something that requires a level of precision that you can’t achieve. Rather, try something like, see how many minute at sweet spot (or tempo) you can accumulate during a long ride. You ride to the power when the terrain allows, not when it doesn’t, but that’s okay. More like variable intervals, a different workout. But you’re not trying to put the square peg in the round hole.
One thing I did to try to get better at holding a constant power outside for tempo/SS type workouts was to intentionally start not looking at the head unit for periods of time. After I’d done a bunch of outdoor intervals I would say “I’m gonna ride to that next sign (or whatever is 30s-2m up the road) and then check my power” Then I would try to hold steady power and when I reached that target I would look at the computer and see how close to target I was. It helped me to really dial in my RPE to the appropriate target without constant feedback from my computer.
When I was doing a lot of indoor workouts in Erg, telling myself it was higher quality was reassuring. As you pointed out, adaptations span zones or as I like to say “our bodies are not robots.” Going back to outside workouts has convinced me that quality is in the eye of the beholder.
I tried the same intervals but at low cadence. That was actually a little easier to execute.
Next I tried the same interval but just tried to keep the lap average at the target power. I didn’t worry about going over threshold while cresting hills or lower power on downhills. This was more like normal riding except for trying to hit an average power.