New user - commute advise please

Hi I am a new TrainerRoad user. Have been using Zwift for the past year but want to get more serious with my gains and have really enjoyed the podcasts so thought I would give it a try. I have started the low volume SSB programme and did the ramp test today getting an FTP of 249.

My plan is to do a workout on Tuesdays and Thursdays and one weekend day. I also commute to work quite a bit and wondering how to fit this in to the programme. It is a 7 mile commute. It is downhill on the way in so equates to about 6-10 TSS on the way in. On the way back it is uphill however so can be between 30-50 TSS depending on how hard I go. This is based on previous commutes. How do I fit this into the training programme without having a negative impact?

I don’t have to commute by bike if it will reduce the effectiveness of the training or reduce it to 1 or 2 days a week.

You could extend your commute one way to make it a training session? Even if it’s just low level endurance it would probably work nicely.

I wouldn’t drop the commute, it’s time on the bike and it’s efficient time (assuming at least some of the time you spend cycling would otherwise be spent driving or on a bus or train). It also sounds like your commute home is actually an opportunity for a spot of decent training. Would start out keeping the commutes easy zone 1-2 level while you adapt to the TR plans. But if you get to the stage where you’re combining TR and commuting comfortably and feel you could do a bit more I see no reason you couldn’t start doing some tempo or sweetspot work on that climb home, especially if it’s fairly uninterrupted. The high volume SSB plan has you doing SS work 5 days a week, so doing your ride home at a high percentage of threshold once or twice per week is very doable during base phase.

Thanks for the replies.

What other info do you require? My main aim is to lose weight as currently 250 lb so losing weight will make me quicker. Despite the high weight I cycle between 30 to 100 miles a week which currently includes Zwift, commutes and leisure cycling. Distance depends on family commitments. I am used to a decent load so doing a commute Monday, Wednesday and Friday with TR workouts on Tuesday and Friday evenings wouldn’t be an issue. I wouldn’t have a decent recovery time however (about 8-9 hours between finishing TR workout and commuting in the morning.

With regards to the commutes I have no power meter but do have a HRM so could use that to keep the load down. Trouble is I am usually looking forward to getting home so don’t tend to take it easy!

I usually mix commuting (roughly the same distance but flat) with low or mid volume. I do my workout in the morning before the commute as I used to find I would go to hard commuting (chasing other riders) and then ruin the workout.

I have a commute that is ~10k with about 200m of elevation gain each way \__/ is basically the profile. As long as you take them easy you should be able to fit it in just fine, I pretty much use them to practice my cadence or aero positioning and keep the effort really low, with my heart rate in zone 1 or 2 for the whole ride.

Last season I was able to do the commutes along with the HV plan but I wont be doing that again this year as I had pretty much no free time outside of biking and work. This year its just the MV plans along with commutes and it leaves me at around 600 tss for the week with the commutes averaging around 40tss per day.

I commute (14 miles each way) and train (TR low volume plans), and the two can fit together fine as long as your overall volume isn’t burying you. A low intensity commute can just be a nicer way to get to work than in your car and provide a nice recovery type ride. Good for the planet. Will help with your weight goals. Will give you some incremental training stress but save the intervals for the trainer.

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I also weave the commute into the schedule and try to make it useful - even if useful is active recovery. My commute is 16 miles each way and commit to TR low volume plans on the turbo - occasionally I’ll do some Outdoors on the way home to save time & if they are simple. The commutes are then a mixture of Zone 1 and 2 depending on other workouts, average about 30TSS each way.

If you are concerned about the ride home, get a lower gear on your bike and get strict with sticking to a zone riding back uphill.

Cheers for the replies. The TSS from TrainerRoad and Relative Effort from Strava seem to be near enough the same so this gives me a way to track the effort and enter it into TR.

I wont commute on days that I am doing a workout so will prob only be 2 days a week but that is 2 days not stuck in a car. Will put alerts on my Garmin so that if HR goes above 140 BPM I need to back off.

I have got a lower gear but don’t tend to use the small cog on the front but can easily do that to limit the load on the way back (it is a 2 x 10 system).

I think you can absolutely make the commute work with a low volume plan. You can make commutes easy enough not to cause any serious stress. Just listen to your body and see that you get recovered enough to complete the TR workouts. It’s good approach to first limit commutes to days you are not doing workouts and increase commuting days later if you feel you can handle it.

I commute to work every day but only about 2km one way. I still find it useful as I’m incorporating the coach Chads drills (single leg drills, quadrant drills etc.) introduced during the workouts. I believe it will help me to improve my technique if I do these at least 13 times per week instead of just three during TR workouts.

If it really is that much nicer to cycle in on your commute, then be progressive and over time build it up to 4 even 5 days a week. If you can’t complete trainer workouts, then cut it back.

If you’re often commuting up to 100 miles a week, and want to lose weight, I’d recommend putting a lot of effort in to the types and amounts of food that you eat. Afterall, you can lose weight without exercising at all but you can’t lose weight if you’re eating more than you burn, regardless of how much you burn.

I also commute 100 miles (6 days) a week and I just keep those miles super super easy. If you have a power meter or HR strap then aim for somewhere around 50% of ftp. Im actually considering a dedicated commuting bike, partly just so I can have some super low gears so that the hills on my ride.
dont force me in to putting out too much power.

EDIT: rather than commuting monday, weds, fri and training tues and thurs try training and commuting on the same days and give yourself a day or 2 per week totally off the bike. This will allow you much better recovery.

100 miles is the exception rather than the norm but was more to give an indication of the volume that I can do. First workout this morning I didn’t find particularly tough (it was 3 x 12min intervals). I cant commute by bike tomorrow but will do another workout on Thursday and then bike commute on Friday.

RE: Weight loss - yes need to eat less/better which is also in action. Have been using the amount of cycling to excuse poor eating habits over the past year so have been able to get away with eating lots/the wrong things without putting on weight but now need to lose it.

Well 3 weeks in and enjoying the plan. I have been able to commute 2 days a week as week as well just keeping it easy. This week I will likely just stick to the 3 workouts from SSB LV 1 with no commutes due to some family stuff we have got on this week (need to go places rather than home after work).

I am feeling pretty fit already. In the Lakes in 2 weeks time so will be able to do a couple of courses and see what improvements I have had already (although I realise it is only the beginning).

Been using My Fitness Pal as well to track food which is eye opening.

I have been training fasted early in the morning which is OK on the 60 mins rides but on a 90 min ride yesterday I was feeling a bit tired and hungry after 60 mins so my 6 year old kindly got me a biscuit to give me something for the last 30 mins.


I have pretty much the same distance commute as you but flat. I do force reps on the return leg commute of a TR day so as not to fry the recovery day and to distract me from chasing rabbits. Rinse and repeat as the road and legs will let you. Since your return leg is uphill this could work even better for you, if you commuted on TR days. Best leave the recovery days alone.

Resurrecting this thread because I’m also planning to get back to my 5 day a week commuting when spring hits and I also believe I’ll have to change from mid volume to low volume when I start commuting again. I ride 8 miles each way, pretty flat.

I intend on racing xco and should I keep all interval work on the trainer and my commute in Z1-Z2?

I do not have a power on either my commuter bike or cross country bike. When. So HR is all I can use to judge TSS. When we say stay in zone 2 (using HR), is it the average of the ride that is within the set min and max or never going above your set Max?

Since I’ll need some actual MTB ride for skill (1 long 90-120min on weekend and 1 short 60min during week day), should I ride both in Z3? To me it seems almost impossible to do prescribed interval work while riding on the trails.

Thanks for you feedback everyone!