No time outdoors - training indoor only

So quick question. I’ve use TR last year to get ready for Land Run 100. It helped a lot. I’m usin it again this year with some changes.

  1. I upgraded to a smart trainer. Awesome!

  2. due to…well…life and weather I’ve yet to really get good outdoor rides in so far this year. That means I’ve been indoor almost completely.

Here’s the question.

I’m a little worried. I really need to be on my single speed doing rides on gravel as much as possible on the weekends.

Have any of you done most of your training indoor and still been able to do well. I’m nervous that while TR is amazing missing outdoor rides will hurt me.

Hopefully next weekend I’ll be outside. I have a B race event on Feb 2.


I think it would be detrimental for something that is skill or tactically intensive. I think it’s less impactful for a time trial, triathlon, century or fondo. But if you’re experienced, do the best you can and don’t worry about things generally outside your control (weather for training).


I focus on MTB and Xterra racing. Last year, I ended doing 99% of my training on the trainer. My skills were lower than they need to be. BUT – I was able to still race and train. Sometimes, you do what you got to do.


I think you can still focus on indoor training and sprinkle in outside rides as they fit, and still have great results. IT can depend on your overall competency and comfort level outside, but as long as you feel generally prepared and keep a minimum level of skill, I think you can crush with your current trajectory.

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I race CX and did pretty much all my training inside and was pretty successful this season. Of course, I’m sure I would be better if I could get faster/smoother through turns and such, but I did quite alright, moved up from a rear of the pack type rider to an upper half type. If I’m able to carry my current FTP or maybe a little more into the season next year, I imagine I could do even better and maybe have top 10/podium aspirations. Either I’m a natural or ride too conservatively (probably the latter), but I don’t think I’m as prone to slipping or falling like some of my other racing peers.


Being located in Minnesota all of my traing from dec-march is indoors. I find the muscles i use indoors vs outdoors is slightly different but as long as i do some training standing up and some on the rollers it doesn’t take many rides (5-10) to get used to outdoor riding again. So with that being said if you add in a few outdoor rides closer to you event you should be good.

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@hubcyclist that’s pretty much exactly my experience this year!

I definitely ride too conservatively and have to use my improved fitness to accelerate back up to my peers after corners.

I was personally limited in my outdoor rides last year due to my family transitioning to life without full time home health nursing for our youngest child who has medical/special needs. I used TR as my mode of training for a century ride last fall. I’m not the best technical rider, but felt that it prepared my body to adapt to the challenges of performing those long sustained efforts. As others have mentioned earlier, if you already have technical skills then don’t focus too much on the lack of outdoor saddle time. You will need to either accept that fact that your time will be extremely limited on the bike (and be ok with that) or seek alternative means of improving your performance through strength training, stretching, yoga, running, etc.

Good luck with your training and remember to listen to your body. Sometimes we dish out more than our life circumstances will allow so fuel and recover well.


I agree with this. I trained 100% indoors for 7 months straight. When I came back I was so much stronger for road group rides. I had lost my ‘road feel’ though and wasn’t as confident in bike handling. It took a few rides to get that back.

Thanks everyone.

I’m fully embracing TR this time around. I don’t plan to stop once Land Run is finished in March. What I’ll do once I finish all 3 steps is anyone’s guess.

However I’ve set lofty goals for Land Run this year. Again I was factoring how much “non outdoor” rides I’ve gotten Dec and so far in Jan.

But it’s good news that others train with it and still do well. I mean I know it works! It’s THE reason last years Land Run was so fast. Well and lack of mud. Ha.

I guess I’ll keep at it and trust my fitness (and past experience) will work. :slight_smile:

I agree with everything above and just have one thing to add. If you absolutely can’t get outside to ride, I do skills drills in my basement. I work on track stands, figure 8’s, endo turns, small obstacles to work around and over at slow speeds, etc. Basically on the bike balance and control skills for 20-30 mins. Pro tip: don’t clip in though :wink:


I’ve done all my training indoors since October, got on the bike for a MTB sportive for the first time in Jan and rolled in with the top 10%. It took a bit to get dialled in but the fitness was better than ever.


I do 90% of my training yearly indoors, 100% of my winter training indoors, on a gear road bike.

I do 99% of my outdoor riding on a fixed gear (track bike).

You know what they say about riding a bike…

It’s true.

From Nov 1 - Dec 23st I did TR workouts and MVSSB1 indoors. I then spent a week in LA riding the track bike anywhere and everywhere. Other than a few minutes after clipping in for that first outdoor ride, Mostly me thinking “OMG, I missed being outside” I had no issues. Muscle memory is strong. Once I realized what fitness I did have for late Dec I crushed it (and myself with a 1000TSS week). All was well, no issues.

You don’t forget to ride your bike.

That being said, if you are worried about hard skills and handling skills… riding your SS in the snow and slush sounds like a good skill clinic. Sure not 100% the same as gravel but if you get the feel (and float) down and snow and ice…gravel will feel like nothing.


Marathon MTBer here, for power over distance trainerroad excels there. I find that as long
As I can get 3-4 trail rides a month my technical
Skills stay where they need to be and I keep the feel for trail riding. That’s my experience hope that gives you something to consider.



Oh I’ll ride with ice hanging my jersey. It’s mostly been a combination of down pours plus family obligations.

But it’s good to hear that sticky to the TR plan is okay even without packing in big outdoor rides. Hopefully soon I can get back out for a good long ride.


So far this month I’ve only got a couple of outdoor rides. Good to hear. My concern is (was) mostly that I’m rather new to structured training. Trusting it over hours and hours spent outdoor is hard to get my head around. But it sounds like I need to put that out of my mind and go with it.

In about two weeks I have an 80 mile gravel event. I hope it will end up setting my mind totally at ease as I’m expecting to do well. Fingers cross anyway. :slight_smile:

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OMG?!?! Don’t you know you’re NOT supposed to do THAT much work?!?! :no_good_man::scream:

Oh…I see… :wink::rofl:

Fun. :+1:

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The rides that i do outdoors that i supplement in are 2-3 hours and usually at a very low tempo pace for power. so when i go out it i get good trail time in. Could i improve my tech skills and trail confidence? Sure i could, but for my goals and ambitions,(i am not a podium guy, more like a top 50% guy) this gets me what i need and the good fresh air. But sticking to the plans do give you the training to do it. I will admit last year for 4 months i pieced together my own plan and did 2-3 indoor rides and 2 outdoor rides. It worked and i vastly improved some of my trail PR’s and race times. Last year i did basically 2 threshold workouts started at 3x10 @90% and moved it to 8x10 @100% over a 4 month span twice a week. Probably not the best and smartest thing to do but it was my first taste of structured workouts and thats what i did. my 3rd workout was generally a 1.5 hour endurance ride on TR after a hard day just to stack on some TSS towards my A race and B race. i am following MVSSB now with Sustained Power, Marathon Spec. and will stick to the plan and see what happens. only change i am making is the recovery ride will be outdoors at an hour long and as i get about 8 weeks out the sunday ride will be replaced with a 2-4 hour low tempo/high endurance ride outside. We will see. Fingers crossed!


Don’t forget about how much easier just about any technical feature is when you can keep the pedals turning. Just ride within your capabilities, then try to make up some time elsewhere.


The trip to LA I mentioned I had planned as a bit of a “training camp” to cap the season off. It went better than planned. Sent 2018 off with a bang.