Nervous... Outdoors vs. TR?

Advice needed.

Outside vs. TR? Which is more effective?

I have been riding and racing road and cyclocross for the past five years. During that time all my training was outdoors. Now, with a new job, I don’t have the time to put in the long hours. I have switched 95% to indoor training. However, I do go on a group ride once per week. Its a “drop group ride.” I have not yet been dropped but I have struggled to hang on to the lead group (4 or maybe 5 riders).

I am struggling because I don’t have a bunch of outdoor base miles in my legs? Or is it because I’ve only just completed sweet spot II?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.


That depends on your goals. If you’re looking to exercise, it’s all the same. Even if you’re training for a race, it still depends. Plenty of people were training and preparing for races w/structured training outdoors long before TR came along.

What volume plan are you doing? How long is your group ride? Were you previously able to hang w/the lead group?


I feel ya, @Lysdahlz. I’ve been pretty time constrained this winter/spring and ditched all the long outdoor base miles, fast group rides I’ve done in the past. I’m definitely feeling it this year. Almost alarming. It’s been a disappointing spring, but now the weather is finally nice, I’ve been ditching the weekend TR workouts and going outside.
Next year if I stick with TR, I’m going with traditional base.

I also race CX and not sure that I see the utility in a bunch of long group rides which take 5-hours each day. That’s nothing like the environment I race in, not sure what it gets me and I had the best season ever from doing work indoors, on the trainer last year. The nice part is that I didn’t have to worry about broken bones and didn’t have to be stuck outside in the Texas heat for three months.

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The biggest limiter on training indoors vs outdoors is managing cooling. Get a good fan. Preferably some dedicated AC for your space. Maybe some frozen rags.

You also need to get outside to work on your handling every now and then. Not much you can do indoors for that.

Other than that… it’s all sausage. Just crank out the kJs and get faster.

I think TR has helped me out more than unstructured outdoor rides. Of course I’d rather be outside but with two little kids I cannot leave alone I do what I can.

I don’t race but I do group rides. TR has helped me be one of the stronger riders on my ride. The local club even asked me to lead an A group this week. Good luck !

I got dropped on a group ride by the lead group the other day, but that was because they slamming out about 5+ w/kg on the climb. Not much indoor or outdoor training could help me stay on THAT wheel…

Are you sticking with their Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday workouts? If so, how’s that going? Getting fitter?

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The group ride is an hour and a half. Last year’s I was the aggressor. This year I’m barely hanging on. I’m concerned I won’t have the big mileage I’m for sustained outputs come CX season. Last year this time I had about 5,000 miles outdoors. Thank his year I have about 500z

Generally speaking, indoor and outdoor mileage/hours are not the same, especially if you are doing a TR plan. With TR, there is no coasting and there are no downhills. A 3hr endurance ride on TR will be equivalent to a much longer ride outdoors.

Pick a plan that fits your time constraints (i.e., low volume, mid-volume, or high volume) and interests (e.g., road, cross, TT). You mentioned CX. Assuming you’re in the northern hemisphere, you have some time yet. For example, you could do a plan sequence of Sweetspot Base, Short Power Build, CX speciality leading into CX season.

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Tough to say. I am sticking with the Tues/Weds/Thurs/Friday plans - I’m doing high volume. Still do a weekend plan if I don’t make it outside or find a zwift race and add on some volume after.
I think I’m getting fitter, but nowhere I want to be. I’m probably going to ditch TR after Tulsa Tough and get back to doing my riding outside. I have access to long stretches of road with lots of hills with very little traffic right outside my door. A nice loop with rolling punches that I miss doing.

I think this is the problem. No plan is going to work as well with only 10% of the miles. 5000 miles by end of may is a ton!

How do the training hours and TSS compare to last year? That’s more of an apples to apples comparison than miles if you’re comparing indoors and outdoors riding.

My personal experience is that my tolerance for indoor riding is about 4 rides/week and a maximum of 2 hours in any one session. Any more than that and I start losing motivation. I also find a long ride of 4+ hours to be extremely beneficial, even if it’s a cruisey group ride with a fair bit of easy spinning and the TSS and IF are fairly low. So I typically supplement indoor training with at least 2-3 outdoor rides (more when the weather is nice) and if I lose a bit of the structure I more than make up for it by getting more enjoyment out of my riding and logging more hours as a result.

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Last year this time I had double the hours outdoors and, thus, my TSS was much higher. (But I began to fade somewhat in October as I couldn’t sustain the training load and CX is my primary discipline.)

I feel like you could see success with meeting in the middle here - instead of all or nothing indoor vs. outdoor, why not do Tues & thursday rides indoors and then do long weekend rides outdoors?

Hands down, you’re going to get a tougher more focused interval workout indoors on your trainer. But it sounds like you will definitely need to supplement that with longer outdoor endurance workouts to keep you fit and happy.

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I’ve been doing indoor training for a couple of years. But this is my first time ditching my coach and going with TR.
Right now I’m doing mostly anaerobic sprints/short vo2 on the trainer and long sweet spot and endurance outside. Raced a midweek crit and felt back to my old self. That was refreshing. I used the crit as a level to see where I’m at. I basically used it as a training race, went for the primes/sprint points, did a few attacks as well and settled back in. Had enough in the legs to finish 8/70. Have a nice weekend with a crit and long endurance/tempo-ish ride this weekend. I’m not going to totally give up TR.