New to TR and Cycling and need help

So as the title says, i’m new to TR and cycling.
A bit of background about me. I’m a 38 year old male, and used to play tennis 3 times a week but had to stop due to a shoulder injury. In order to not become a couch potato, i decided to take on cycling since i always had a soft spot for cycling.
So i decided to get a trainer, pick up a training plan in TP and started pedalling in March this year. Although i always played sports throughout my whole life, i’m new to endurance, so needless to say, that the first 2 weeks were crazy hard, especially being a smoker (i know, i know. Working on quitting smoking so bear with me…). Not only i had to deal with the requirements of endurance work, but also had to deal with bike discomfort on the trainer,etc,etc.
After failing some workouts on that training plan, i decided to pickup a TR sub so i could have things more structured and “force myself” to complete a training plan.
So on the 7th of April i started the SSBMVI training plan. I pushed my self and was able to go through the entire plan (currently on recovery week.) I was surprised i was able to go through the entire plan, and i can already notice an improvement in my fitness, comfort on the bike,etc,etc.
So with all this being said, i have several questions regarding what lies ahead…

1- I have a power meter on the way, and i intend to start riding outside on sundays. Now, when using TR inside, i’m able to stay within the 85-95 cadence that TR suggests while doing my workouts. My question is, when i start riding outside, is it imperative that i also stick to that cadence range? Even with the gradient changes,etc,etc? I fear that when i start riding outside, in order to hold the power level i’m supposed to hold that i won’t be able to stick to the same cadence i use indoors…

2- Vo2 workouts are coming according to my plan. Am i required to stay seated for the duration of Vo2 intervals and use high cadence? Or can i stand once and a while and use a lower cadence? To simulate climbing a hill for example? Does it make a difference wether i’m seated or standing since seating cadence is faster than OTS cadence?

3- One of my goals is to eventually start participating in Mini Fondos. And most of the Fondos that happen in my country have big ass mountains in them, so my main interest is to train mostly for climbing.
Here’s an example of a minifondo i plan to take part of next year:

So my question is, is it ok that on my sunday rides (which if i understand correctly, should be endurance rides, aka z2 rides) to take place in hilly courses? I live in a major city with traffic lights, roundabouts,etc every 20meters, and outside of that, i have a park near my place that is somewhat hilly where i can ride in a loop. Am i ok to use that for my z2 rides even though that will probably mean i will use very low cadence since i will be climbing a lot and my FTP is somewhat low atm?

And i think these are all the questions i have for now.

Thank you for your time,


Edit but I’m going to up it first.

Don’t get too deep in the weeds too quick. At the beginning you will get faster with every minute you pedal. You’ll get faster just looking at your bike. So just go out and explore and have fun. Remember that the gains you’ll see in the next 6 week training cycle are nothing compared to what you’ll see in the next 2 years if you are consistent and ride lots. Basically, don’t get caught up staring at your power and cadence numbers outside and just go out and ride and have fun.

  1. The cadence suggestions in TR are where most people are most comfortable and efficient with their pedaling. However, cadence is almost always secondary to power during a workout unless you are specifically targeting a lower cadence. As you grow as a cyclist you may find that your ‘natural’ cadence is 90 but you should work to be comfortable spinning up to 105 or so and pedaling down to 70 or 60 on climbs. Those number may change depending on your riding discipline, your riding style, and your local terrain. For now I wouldn’t worry too much about cadence but maybe have some focused intervals where you practice a little higher or a little lower than what is most confortable

  2. This is another question of specificity but I would say you should do most of them seated. However, if you know that you will be doing a lot of standing climbing then maybe do one or two of the intervals per workout standing and at a lower cadence

  3. As a beginner and wanting to do a lot of long and relatively steep climbing I would look at your bike’s gearing and err on the side of easier. Since you are not racing at the moment you will be much happier to spin out on the descent but have too many easy gears than be grinding your way up a mountain. Just for reference, easier means smaller chainrings up front and larger cassette in the back. and based on those pretty impressive climbs you posted you may want something in the realm of compact chainrings (50-34) up front and a 11-32 or 34 cassette out back (maybe even a 11-36 if it will fit on your bike).

And yes, Z2 rides outside on a slightly hilly course is fine, and good practice for climbing if that is like the events you are aiming toward. However, you will want to pedal the maximum amount of time that you can in Z2 (on both the climbs and the descents). Many people have a tendency to smash up the hill in Z4/5 and then coast down the descent. But you want to avoid this. It will feel very slow going up and very fast going down but the more consistent you can keep your power the better.


Welcome to cycling. I’m sure many here have a similar story of an injury leading us to this sport.

When you get your power meter, you will need to retest and don’t be discouraged if your FTP drops. Each power meter is different and FTP is only to set your training zones.

Being new to cycling, I would pay attention to your fatigue. Jumping into Mid-volume as a new cyclist sounds like a mistake to me. You pushed yourself through base1, but as you said, Threshold and V02 are coming and it will be significantly harder. If you start to feel fatigued skip one maybe 2 of those rides a week and consider doing Low volume with additional rides if you feel fresh-ish.

It can take a little while to build up the base needed to do higher levels of volume. Trust me, a low volume plan is still very effective.


Being new to cycling and even harder for you is, to enter mid volume structured program. A structured program is hard sometimes even to those whom have been cycling for a while.
Give consideration to this and maybe considering that at 38, your physiology isnt the one in your 20s.
I am 45 and am new to cycling (2 years now, which 6 months were structured training) and not matter what I have been doing before (squash, martial arts, running) the way my muscles are now used are very specific, it takes time to build that up. If you input too much, your will have to withdraw while getting often sick, cortisol levels staying all time high. If you take it slightly easier, you wont loose anything, since, big gains are a good factor in the lives of those rookies like us, in the first months of training.


Thank you for the answers. Regarding my bike gearing, i think i’m good. I have a 50-34 at the front and a 11-30 at the back. So no worries there i think.
That was an excellent tip on pedalling on the descents as well. I’ll try and focus on that for sure.

I chose MV cause like i said, i was playing tennis 3x a week, so i wasn’t totally out of shape. I figured i could handle 5 workouts a week, and i wasn’t wrong. Workouts were hard, but i never felt like i was going in exhausted into a workout, so i think i can handle MV. I am aware that base2 is a lot harder than base1, and i’m prepare to adjust if necessary.

See above. I understand the physiological changes that occur when trying out new sports,etc, but like i said above, i didn’t felt like MV was exceptionally hard for me to complete, so for the time being, i’ll stick to MV and adjust if needed going forward.

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Good luck with the next phase. This is a learning process for all of us.

As has been said above: Don’t overthink it too much. You’ll make loads of gains in all aspects of cycling just from riding your bike. Do all the focussed training indoors with TrainerRoad, when you’re outdoors don’t worry too much about zones or cadence, just go ride: Sometimes reasonably hard for 1 hour rides, sometimes a bit easier for longer rides. You can go hard for a long ride but that’s much harder and probably tires you out more than is ideal, so tend to keep them a bit easier. You’ll find that when you look at your power graphs when you get home a ride that you thought was quite hard was mostly in pretty easy power ranges when compared to what you’d do indoors on a trainer. Don’t worry about this. You’ll learn what you can do and where your limits currently are and you’ll see them move upwards and outwards. Mostly you’ll find yourself pedalling along at what feels like a good speed at a good effort level for mile atfer mile and it’ll feel great. This is what keeps us coming back. All the training means that the numbers go up and up, and soon you’ll find that people seem to be unable to keep up with you or you’re pretty effortlessly dropping people on climbs.
One trick to learn early on is about nutrition. You’ll burn a lot of calories on a decent length bike ride, your body will become more efficient in time but you’ll still need to put the fuel in the tank to keep moving otherwise you’ll slow and then slog and then stop and fall over, maybe 20 miles from home… So always have couple of bars/gels in your pockets and keep eating them as you ride.
Apart from that enjoy the journey. It’s awesome fun.


Thx a lot for the tips. I’ll try and do that. Just go out and enjoy the outdoors and worry about the technical stuff later down the road.


As a smoker, I strongly recommend getting a stress test. There are too many examples of smokers and former smokers who take up endurance sports and drop dead because of undiagnosed heart disease.

I’ve known a couple of people who have dived straight into training (hitting the turbo almost exclusively) at the beginning of their journey and have quit altogether. Not surprising at all.

I’d honestly forget power numbers and getting into the detail at this early stage and just ride the bike. That early stage is so rewarding, getting faster on every hill you ride pretty much every ride you do, learning technique and seeing places you’ve never seen before etc.

When that power meter comes I’d record the data but not even look at it for a few months!

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Oh wow. Had no idea about that. I really should think about that then. Thx for this tip.

Yeah i’m starting to realize that at this point, outdoor riding should be about fun above all. That’s what i’ll do. As soon as i get the PM i’ll go out on sundays and ride for the fun of it. Thx a lot.

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Also now you’ve done a plan you will know how to ride a bike and suffer a bit better.

When you redo the ramp test your FTP will probably shoots up (partly to being stronger, partly as you learn how to do the test). This will make the next sessions a lot harder. Embrace it, the first few will seem a very hard.


Yeah i’m ready for the pain and suffering of the 1st few workouts in Base 2.
Got FTP test on tuesday, so fingers crossed to see if the improvement is decent!

Music on, fans on, no disturbances and give it everything you have.
Best of luck on Tuesday :sunglasses::muscle:t3:

Thx! :fist_left: :pray:

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