Join Adaptive Training?

How have you guys found it? My first go at trainerroad wasn’t great. I upped my FTP to 220 from 200 with the base training but once I started to do build I actually dropped and was super tired. Admittedly that 220 ftp may have been a bit high since I got to the highest HR ever for me during the ramp test. I ended the Build phase back down to 210. Since then I have just enjoyed my summer with tempo rides and occasional strava races or long endurance rids and tested back at 225. I am thinking of getting back onto the structured workouts route to test adaptive training with an aim of hitting next summer at 250? What has everyone’s experience been like? I also read somewhere that the new plans are toned down a bit? I think that was part of the problem with my build phase ( was likely too much intensity for me).
Since trying this back, the first outdoor ride on base training seemed super easy to be honest, but I think I remember they do ramp up? Alternatively, perhaps the improvement with casual riding means I can get better noob gains without structure?

Hello Omar

I have been a long time subscriber so take that into account, here is my perspective, I do like the newer plans. They seems to be more achievable from a day to day fatigue perspective.

I ride outdoors generally once a week, and will ride the trainer for the other 3-4 rides. AT isn’t specifically great for outdoor rides, the machine learning isn’t adaptive yet. So if you are riding outdoors mostly, I wouldn’t join just yet.

Overall I love AT and haven’t felt stronger on the bike in years. I also find the adaptions are generally excellent and all the workouts feel achievable, even when its a stretch. The stretch and even breakthrough workouts I know are going to be tough (and/or really hurt), but I now have a level of confidence that I didn’t have before that I should be able complete the workout as prescribed. I can’t remember the last time I had to turn a workout down or take mini breaks through the entire workout to complete it, each workout feels more productive than ever before.

Hope that helps


Thanks. That is helpful. I have busy work weeks for sure. My riding tends to be one ride indoors mid week and two outdoors Saturday and Sunday. If I have more time midweek I tend to do short zwift races. Once the colder weather kicks in il usually transition to mostly indoor riding. It sounds like I should stay clear of AT till then? It’s interesting you say that because another post said that the machine learning still applies to outdoor rides but considers that you completed them successfully. It does still ask for feedback about how I felt and I don’t see why they can’t use heart rate and that feedback to make some basic recommendations?

Ha ha - I need to actually load an outdoor ride and ride it before I keep making these comments - right now I think they have patched to make it “more” than it was, but they have bigger plans for outdoor with AT in the future.

all my outdoor rides have been unstructured long rides with friends so I haven’t bothered with loading a workout. AT is awesome, I just know some of the people who use it for outdoor rides have been less enthused with AT, but that I might have changed recently.

@Omar_Kreidieh the new plans are improved IMO. I reviewed one such plan here**. So if you struggled a little bit before you should definitely consider giving the new plans a go. A lot of very difficult workouts now might have an extra 60 seconds of break between intervals or a 30 second slow roll in the middle of the interval. Small changes that make a big difference.

In terms of Adaptive Training you should read some of the adaptive training threads on this forum to get a feel. I have elected to wait on AT for several reasons:

1.) I don’t think I’d make a very good beta user. :smiley: I’ve got enough trouble just making my training work on software that doesn’t have bugs. I probably wouldn’t deal with SW that doesn’t work in a very constructive way. TR doesn’t need that headache.

2.) I need to move workouts around from time to time. AT doesn’t handle that well.

3.) I like to ride outdoors from time to time instead of doing an outdoor workout. So, alley cat races, group rides, or chasing segments. Those are intense workouts that AT maybe doesn’t handle so well.

Are these issues that would bother you? If so, maybe it’s better to wait…

** Reviewing the new TR plan...rolling road race

So, what training category does AT eventually fall into? Polarized? SS? Pyramidal?

I switched to polarized early in the summer and had great success. I will be following that approach this coming winter indoor season since SSB->Build just left me burned out by March (even though I could do most of the SSB workouts).

Does AT still give you 3+ interval workouts a week like the SSB and Build do? I haven’t setup an AT plan since most of my rides are outside during the summer.

You’re mixing up two different things - the plans are the plans … AT is a means (if you’re on a plan) of having TR pick workouts of the correct level of intensity for you by using feedback from previous workouts. But if won’t pick completely different types of workout - it will give you a workout of the type prescribed by the plan you’re on.

Short Answer: My opinion based on your comment is don’t do adaptive if you are doing one indoor workout and two outside a week. Its tied to Plan Builder, which is too structured for me, in my opinion. But I would use the Progression Levels to play around. Like if you think you are feeling great, try a stretch. If not, try a Productive or Achievable. Thats just my opinion.

Long winded answer: I think Adaptive works. I like it. I had success with Adaptive and gained 3% in ftp in 6 weeks of using it for base work. Which is amazing. I’m not a fan of Plan Builder. I need more flexibility. The TR support has been fantastic and I’m going to try some things they mentioned. In my opinion overall the Progression Levels (PLs) and larger workout library are the big thing thats changed to be honest. You can do that PL management by hand. Don’t need machine learning. Though if inexperienced I think its great adaptive does it for you.

You might reach out to TR support email. They are great and might have a different opinion on this topic than the interwebs.


@Stewallen makes an important point here!

It’s true that Progression Levels can be an excellent guide if you feel like a day’s workout is too much and you want to dial it back a little. Also, don’t forget the ‘alternates’ button that will give you ‘similar’ workouts that might be better suited to how you’re feeling on that day.

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What I learned - not all structured plans are created equal for ME (the only one that matters LOL). Part of the ‘Nate got fast’ story was doing base for a year. With TR SSB I had some success (yo-yoing 220-250 FTP) yet it didn’t prepare me for build, and ultimately it capped my performance. Build destroyed me. So I tried other plans and found something that worked better for me. But that is me, not you.

Don’t be afraid to experiment, and focus on finding what works for you.


Thanks. I have since read up more and watched the youtube videos on Progression levels and adaptive training. I really love where they are going with this. I agree that some flexibility and using progression levels alone could be a good thing. However I do really like the idea of machine learning based recommendations. Ultimately I am sure it will take a while for these models to be optimized and they might be biased by their own recommendations ( though they said 50% do use custom workouts not based on their recommendations so it evens it out). I think I will keep it on for the first month and do some manual tweaking whenever I think necessary using the progression levels. I guess it can never hurt to get the recommendations in the background even if you change the workout every time. But wow a few months seem to have made a huge difference. Time to see how it works out in real life though.
But I am so excited at the potential of this. Imaging in the future it can use sleep, daily heart rate variability, work hours, nutrition, daily steps, heart rate at different intervals during your workout, even consider your club workout or perhaps even non-cycling workouts and use all of those to give reasonable recommendations. It may be a while away but you can tell thats their ultimate goal… would be an interesting time indeed.


Oh yeah, I think TR adaptive is way cool. I work with machine learning at the office, but create software for traffic signals. Our industry has used the word Adaptive for decades, so I found it interesting that TR adopted that word. Typically people in ML just call it AI or some other buzz word. Like I said, I like it. Its working for me. Lots to like about these recent updates from TR. Lots of options for different tastes too.

I think many people have the wrong idea of what AT does…

It uses the standard TR plans and simply swaps out future workouts for slightly harder or easier versions based on how you perform and rate each session eg you do a threshold session and rate it as a success and you’re likely to find the workout the next week (or 2) is adapted to be slightly harder than the original plan.

It does NOT create any kind of custom plan or swap sessions around, or change the structure of weeks etc etc. It simply tweaks the standard plans, so if you like the standard TR plans and number of sessions etc then give it a go. If however you want a plan that looks quite different to what TR usually offers then AT wont help in the slightest…


this 100%

AT works within the confines of the base plan design. So in CX specialty HV, as I’m doing now, I have Tuesday Anaerobic; Wednesday easy endurance; Thurs VO2; Friday easy endurance; Sat VO2; Sunday easy sweet spot. AT will actually only really adapt Tues, Thurs and Sat and won’t touch the easier recovery days or in my case sunday sweet spot (which is on the low end of sweet spot for me so it’s always achievable). With plan builder, you basically define which days you’re doing your workouts, so I guess you can manipulate things a bit there (I’ve never tried) but yeah I don’t think AT changes the main structure of plan, not even shifting over days you’ve skipped.


I have to disagree with this. I’ve been doing outdoor workouts and AT is applying adaptations to my plan.

Yes it’s tied to Plan Builder but PB isn’t as rigid structured as you make it out to be. I’ve a workout planned for today but I was contacted last night and Wednesday’s job got brought forward a day so I’ve just dragged the workout to Wednesday instead.

Generally just set PB up with a “best fit” for the days that you can train and then just tweek as you go along. Programming in things like odd shift-work patterns isn’t necessary and life will always get in the way of “the perfect plan”. I’ve found that with AT it’s best to leave things until any adaptations have been applied then move the workout “at the last minute”. This may mean on the day or the day before depending on which plan you are on. The shifted workout will still count towards any future adaptations.

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If you’re going to do a plan do it with AT

Don’t set arbitrary FTP targets

Indoor and outdoor workouts as you please

Zwift racing will impact your training, you will need to manage this - I substitute them for threshold workouts

AT and the new plans are likely to feel easier than last years fixed plans

Just to comment on the issues with the old Builds which several people have mentioned:

The old Build had some pretty hard week-on-week progressions in it (which were made really clear when the PLs came in), so a lot of people - myself included - would struggle/fail at a certain point. I haven’t got the old builds to hand, but I would have great progress in SSB then once I hit Build I would get to a week which was just too hard, fail the workouts, basically as OP described.

The new build plans today have a more sensible/steady progression (in terms of the PL step-up - in the region of 0.3-0.5 gain per week) from week to week, which should make the Build phase more achievable for anyone, whether or not you are using AT.

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Yeah TR support mentioned its me not PB also. :joy: I need to try it a again.

My issues have been
#1 when i need to change the block to 4 weeks instead of 5, I was deleting it. The option to push and pull weeks isn’t there. TR support answered recently to my email similar to your suggestion. Just down grade the scheduled work out and AT will figure it out. So need to try.
#2 this is the bigger one. I just don’t have the mental power right now to suffer through build and specialty. Just a crap ton going on personally. Super challenging work in those phases isn’t in my mental capacity right now. I do this for fun and currently jist want to go back and forth between base phases. Soon I will escape. But not now. Is this possible in Plan Builder?. Edit: yes, I delete my PB each time. Is there a better approach?

Plan Builder (like TR itself) is aimed at constant improvement, usually towards a specific target event, so it’s not possible to continually do Base without jumping through hoops as you’ve found. Solutions on the TR side are either to allow non-PB added plans to work with AT or adjust PB to have a low maintenance Base type “target”. I think the former might be a problem as I suspect that AT might need a longer timescale to base its adaptations on, even though it won’t adapt beyond the end of the particular phase you are in. The latter should be possible, PB seems more deterministic in how it arrives at a particular plan so extending it should be relatively straightforward.

One criticism I do have of TR is that there’s no macro-cycles. There’s the 3:1 or 4:1 micro-cycles in each plan that give you a recovery week but there’s no built-in “off-season” where you can just noodle along. It’s a bit like standing on the sea shore and seeing waves but no tides. Way back in the 1980s when climbing was my thing I basically took October and November off just to give my body time to recover. It wasn’t completely “off” - I’d go walking/hiking in preparation for winter/ice climbing but it meant that I didn’t get jaded.

Hope your life woes get sorted out.

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My plan for this is just to have a gap between the end of my current plan in September and starting a new Base (probably sometime in November). Like you I would like some time “off” and I have a week of holiday where I won’t be riding in October anyway.

I’ll probably just do ad-hoc TrainNow workouts in this time.