Just Completed My First Outdoor TR Workout - Help / Advice?

This winter I signed up for a team competition where the teams compete based on outdoor milage over the winter. So instead of trying to fit in two rides a day, I finally jumped for a power meter and decided to do some of my workouts outdoors so the milage counts and I get my TR workout in at the same time.

My first outdoor work out:

Note, I’m using the TR app on my phone, I don’t have a cycle computer (yet).

(TL:DR) - Any advice for trying to keep power more consistent and deal with variations on the terrane? Any other advice for outdoor workouts?

A few things I noticed, for some reason this workout seemed to be a bit easier outdoors than indoors. I was expecting this to hurt more than it did, I think these are supposed be to V02 intervals and even though on some intervals I went way above power, I didn’t feel as gassed during the recovery. True, the power isn’t as consistent, and there were times where I had to stop pedaling (due to traffic, needing to make a turn or other obstacle in the way, etc).

Keeping power consistent wasn’t easy. Trying to stay in the power zone took some work when I hit an hill or downward dip in the road. I found the best way was just to wind it up at the start and do my best to keep it above the power for the interval. If the interval go interrupted I tried to wind it up again quickly. Also if the interval ended in the middle of a hill, there was no real way to drop power to the recover level, even if I hit the lowest gear.

I guess I might have to hit the local bike trails since they tend to be on grade with fewer variations in going uphill or downhill. Couldn’t do it today, I’ll have to give it a shot.

There are definitely some challenges, but in some ways it was more enjoyable, but I can also see how the variation in the session could cause some issues.

Some really good default info that covers a wide range of aspects:

You mention “trails” and that may be OK, but is also very dependent on other traffic. You really should not to be ripping intervals on paths with bi-directional traffic, especially if that may include walkers, runners, strollers and the like.

So much of good outside training depends on picking the right route for the workout, so keep that in mind and don’t just randomly attack a workout without that consideration.

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Few things:

  1. That workout (Taylor -2) is more of an ‘intro’ to VO2 max workouts, you’ll find many here saying they expected it would be harder being VO2. Granted, those workouts don’t come easy or naturally to many of course, so keep that in mind.

  2. As chad said, i’ve found it’s best to pick the terrain carefully based on the workout and plan ahead. I’m not sure I could do that workout on my local trails but I’d say you did pretty well. As the VO2 workouts increase in length it’s even more important to stay in the right power ranges for the full interval and you very likely won’t be able to overshoot power by that much for 2-3 mins

  3. You can always pause the workout if the terrain doesn’t suit your upcoming interval or rest period, extending the rest intervals in a 30/30 format would change the workout pretty substantially but it’s easier to do on other sweet spot workouts etc in my experience.

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Good idea. I found I could pause by not pedaling, but I’ll need to find the pause button before I’m up and riding.

I created a loop around my neighborhood an it’s mostly flat but there were times where sort of ran out of road before hitting a stoplight or stop sign. There are stretches that were straight and flat and it was a lot easier to maintain power in those stretches.

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That is a hard one to start with, as power/torque control is a skill that takes some time to develop. FWIW give this a read: https://www.360velo.com/why-dont-use-erg-mode/

I do a lot of work on this and have gotten pretty good at it, and have some 4x15 second jobbers to share if you are interested in seeing what is possible after developing some control.

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Thanks for the resources.

FWIW - This is the trail I was thinking of: https://youtu.be/wB3FWkumMsc?t=11236
http://www.wodfriends.org/wp-content/uploads/formidable/image1-1.jpeg

If you avoid the areas on the trails in the town centers and peak times on the weekends you can roll for miles with very little traffic. Of course, I always keep my head up, slow down when I see pedestrians and make sure to pass safely whenever I ride there.

Another alternative I may try is a road loop we use for some of our club rides. That may be the better alternative, but it’s sort of catch 22, the trail is safer for cyclists due to lack of cars but the club ride loop is on 2 lane roads that I’d prefer not to ride alone in general or in low light. I’ll keep searching for good locations.

Thanks for sharing. I’ve only had the power meter on my bike for 2 days and I see how much actually riding outside is nothing like erg mode. I have a short half mile oval I ride around my neighborhood. The street name is literally called a “circle.” One end of the neighborhood is about 20 feet higher than the other, so you sort of climb up one side and then head downhill on the other side of the oval. Transitioning from the corner going from a slight climb to heading down does take some practice to maintain power and just not coasting.

I might try some of the workouts (especially the ones with big power spikes) in non-erg mode to soo how it works for me.

image

This was a recent 30-30 sec indoor, non-Erg workout toggling between 80% and 95%. Was suppose to be outside but it was pouring down buckets of rain. While I’m feeling pretty good about my power control and modulation, other people have even better control. Always somebody faster or with more control :joy: You can waste a lot of energy outside with spiky power, and I think it deserves continuous improvement much like pedaling drills and sprinting.

without looking at TR catalog, I’d say start with something like Sleeping Beauty or the ones that toggle 15-sec on at 120% or 125% and then 15-sec off at 85% (or whatever it is).

The other ones I like are workouts like Ebbetts or Jepson that are sweet spot intervals and short 5-sec power bursts every couple of minutes. Really work hard to control the 5-sec burst and more importantly control the return to sweet spot.

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