Is it necessary for me to buy a power meter

I train using an indoor cycling table, low volume base, three times a week, Monday Wednesday Friday morning indoor ride, noon strength training, Tuesday Thursday rest day, Saturday and Sunday with my family.
Monday to Thursday evening may be twice, accompanied by friends outdoor cycling, once about 30km, not exactly flat, but the average heart rate of about 145, the highest will not exceed 175, friends recommended that I buy a set of power meter for training, indoor and outdoor based on the same power equipment, for my case I do not know if I need to buy a power meter, after all, there is already a training table indoors

You certainly don’t NEED to buy a power meter. Training outdoors on heart rate can be just as effective. However, it can be very nice to have a power meter for the following reasons:

  1. To measure improvement.
  2. To get a more direct and instant sense of how you feel or how you are going on any given day. (Power is absolute, heart rate varies depending on fatigue levels, good/bad days, etc…
  3. An alternate way to measure effort.
    So again, it isn’t totally necessary, but it is sure nice. If you plan on racing or cycling competitively in any way, I highly recommend it. If you do decide to get a power meter, definitely go with a set of power pedals, that way as you switch or upgrade bikes or component, it is a breeze to use the same power meter.

If a power meter needs to be configured, my planned solution is to replace the red d1 crank as well as the 4iii power meter.
The only problem is that trainerroad supports importing strava outdoor riding data, strava will automatically estimate riding power data, this time make my outdoor riding load incorrect, maybe I should consider not importing outdoor exercise, but then worry about trainerroad ai to current training calculation error.
It sounds like using the same power meter instead is necessary 。。。。。。

1 Like

Depends on your head unit. If you are running a garmin edge or forerunner you could have garmin connect transfer to TR. In the summer I stop the sync from Strava to Garmin and Strava to TR. I allow Garmin to Sync to Strava and the Garmin to sync to TR.

Now I am no expert but I do not pay for strava. Garmin connect is free and collects all the data. Then it transfers to Strava and I get all the metrics.

I think the only issue might be if you are using strava to collect your data and then migrate to other platforms. ight be a mess for me as I use strava free. Collecting and distributing via garmin there are no issues. Hope this helped.


Strava power estimates are certainly inaccurate. It is also important to upload your outdoor rides so the AI can make good plans. I don’t think it is necessary to use the same power meter out and in doors. I use different ones. I use the Assioma duo power pedals for outdoor and the wahoo kikr for TR and Zwift. I have had it where I display my Assioma power onto my garmin and the kikr power onto my phone. They are very similar in power estimates. Any difference can be attributed to the fact that the kikr measures the power from the back of the drive chain versus the Assiomas getting it straight from the pedals. No problem with using different power meters as long as they are both accurate.


@Hugh_Laurie A power meter is a nice to have but you don’t need one you can do workouts outside based on your RPE.


I am just a recreational “wants to stay fit” guy, no races, no group rides, just by myself whenever it works out timewise.

The investment of buying a onesided 4iii was one of the best I did. So much more insight in my rides, motivation and fun…

I do not regret it at all!


It just depends what you want out of training.

I’m a recreational racer (gravel and mountain, not road or tri). I have a power meter. For longer endurance rides, HR or RPE work fine. The power meter is most useful for shorter efforts (HR is a lagging indicator of effort and I find RPE hard to use for hard efforts).

If you’re a data nerd, by all means buy one and have at it. But don’t feel you need one for outdoor rides, since it sounds like your outdoor rides are mostly recreational and not specific training.


Yes, as I said, outdoor riding is following a friend, maybe climbing will have a high heart rate, reaching 90% of the maximum heart rate, but it doesn’t last long, and the overall average heart rate is generally in the two or three range, which is certainly not a structured workout. Maybe I’ll buy garmin 840 later and try trainerroad outdoor course

1 Like

That’s right @HLaB ! You don’t need a power meter to train outside with TrainerRoad or integrate your outdoor riding into your training plan.

If you are just riding with friends and not following a planned workout, that’s OK! Generally, the Low-Volume plan has enough integrated rest that you can add one or two unstructured rides or additional activities at your discretion.

You can also take any of your scheduled workouts outside with Outside Workouts which can be completed using Rate of Perceived Exertion, like @HLaB mentioned, if you don’t have a power meter.

A little bit more info here: Outside Workouts

Lastly, to clear up any confusion about rides imported from Strava to TrainerRoad, we do not pull Strava’s automatic power estimates, so you don’t have to worry about potentially transferring incorrect power data.

For these types of unstructured rides with no power data, we recommend estimating the rides TSS by using the TSS Estimator.

A little more info here: How to Estimate Training Stress Without Power Data


You don’t need a power meter to ride with your friends outside unless you want to see your power graph. Very rarely groups agree on something like “ let’s do tempo today” . Friendly rides are usually all over the place as far as power. Someone’s Z2 could be another’s Z3 or 4. Like stated above just rate the difficulty and let TR do the math.
I trained for years before power meters. While they are nice to have for indoor training and outdoor training by myself. I don’t feel I need one for group rides.

1 Like

I found out that trainerroad can use heart rate data to estimate tss for outdoor sports, will this be more convenient than RPE
Also, if there are tss for outdoor exercise, will it have an impact on the training plan

Need? No. But it’d be very useful.

It seems that you have just started out with structured training, so I’d give it a season and then get a power meter. From a later post, it seems you have a SRAM Red crank. Hence, all you need is a Quarq power meter and new chainrings.

To me the biggest two advantages are that a power meter allows you to pace your efforts outdoors much better. The second one is that you can gauge how hard a ride was, and use that to optimize your training.

I don’t quite understand the problem. Just import all your rides to TR via Strava, and things will work. No worries.

1 Like

You can estimate TSS from Heart Rate data or by RPE after completing an outdoor ride with no power meter. Here is how: How to Estimate TSS via RPE on Calendar

But just to clarify, if you’re asking if you can perform an outside workout with a heart rate monitor instead of RPE; while you can use heart rate to get a TSS estimate or even use heart rate to gauge your RPE outside, TrainerRoad Outside Workouts don’t include heart rate targets. so you will still need to use the RPE scale.

Currently, Unstructured Outside Rides don’t affect your Progression Levels and won’t be considered by Adaptive Training, so it will not have an impact on your training plan.

However, unstructured outside rides are incorporated into AI FTP Detection and TrainNow’s daily “Recommended” workout label.