As far as I can tell, the justification for the new plans is that you start with a standard plan that’s easier than the old versions were, and then adaptive training will bump up the plans’ difficulty in specific areas tailored to the individual? (Sorry if this is wrong!)
I can see that would be great for a lot of people, but it’s not really how I want to use TrainerRoad. I much preferred having “fixed” plans that I could just follow through. I don’t have a power meter, and do all my non-TR-workout rides (~8 hours a week, vs. 2 hours of TR) outside, so adaptive training isn’t ever going to know what I’ve been doing.
I guess I’d just love the old versions of the plans to still be available as an option. I really enjoyed that version of TrainerRoad; it’s what first got me into structured training last year and it’s been so helpful for me.
I’m closer to a 60/40 split or even 40/60, but yes, I have reservations about AT, even though my main outdoor bike (CXommuter) has a PM.
I have a feeling that they’ll eventually get AT to work well for me. And once they’re done with that, I bet the next project would be to get a decent HR analysis algorithm to weigh in on suggested workouts.
I haven’t requested access to AT, and my plans changed a bit, but the theme was the same. The workout swap that I noticed was only a 2 TSS difference working the same zones, maybe a .01 IF change.
What I do like is are the level progressions in workouts now. I can self adjust more easily, picking a workout of the same type, different length without simply looking at the minus version, which may or may not be the same volume of saddle time as I had planned. So say my outdoor Sunday ride was harder than normal, I can more easily find a Tuesday workout that hits the same zones. I know they aren’t ready to drop plan builder entirely, and so we’re safe following the new plans and adjusting with our own self-awareness for now.
That, right there, explains it. If you train by RPE and/or heart rate, you will not hit your power targets with the same precision. The difference between workout variants can be just a few watts, something you will not hit without a power meter (or training with a power meter and then knowing what a wattage feels like).
IMHO you should get a power meter before judging whether the new training plans work for you or not. Only then are you getting the true TrainerRoad experience. One-sided power meters are very inexpensive these days. Even two-sided power meters or crank-based power meters no longer cost the world.
Can’t work out how to quote you but @Oreocookie but I meant I don’t have a power meter for use outside.
It’s well upwards of £100 for a crank-based or pedal-based power meter (and that would only be for one bike); that is way too expensive for something I don’t need (given I’m happy doing all my workouts inside, and I prefer to pace TTs by RPE) just to make Adaptive Training work.
@Buckethead yes I could buy I plan elsewhere, but I’ve really liked using Trainerroad previously, I like supporting the podcast and would like to continue to. I just wish the ‘old style’ Trainerroad remained at option - the same old fixed plans with no AT (even if they’re hidden away on an archive page somewhere).
But haven’t the new plans specifically been designed to be a bit easier all-round, so adaptive training can bump the difficulty up? I’m saying I wish they also made plans designed to be used as-is (rather than those of us who don’t want to / can’t use AT having to use an easier plan or manually work out what workouts to swap in instead, which I don’t want to have to do as effortlessly choosing a session for me is what I’m paying TR to do).
A few people are saying this, but I’m not sure it’s really the case. TR have certainly said that the endurance days are generally easier (and they are). They’ve also said the tapers in speciality phase are gentler to provide more freshness for your A event. But when I take, say SSBMV2 and look at the levels of the threshold progression, the levels aren’t much different at all, it’s just that some of the progressions are smoother week to week.
I don’t have the exact details to compare, but some of the threshold workouts towards the end of SSBMV2 were:
Mary Austin -1 = Threshold 5.2
Darwin = Threshold 4.3
Leconte = Threshold 5.9
Now you have workouts like:
Smith -2 = Threshold 5.1
Warlow +2 = Threshold 5.5
Pinnacle -1 = Threshold 5.5
Leconte = Threshold 5.9
If you look at the infamous VO2 progression from Mills (VO2 5.3) to Spencer (VO2 7.7), it’s obvious why the jump to Spencer was too much - and was often talked about this way on the forums. This year I finally did that progression successfully, but it also cooked me for the rest of the workouts that week, so I wouldn’t really count that as a success. I’d rather progress more slowly if it means I can also nail the threshold workouts and remain consistent. The new progression from Spencer-1 to English makes much more sense (but still not what I’d call EASY). It’s clear to me that a lot of work has gone into this.
Depending on which exactly plans you compare you may be able to say some things are easier or harder, and I’ve seen some more detailed/specific comparisons of the new vs old Sustained Power Build and Short Power Build. But TR certainly haven’t claimed that the idea was to start easier so that AT could bump you up. It’s true that AT will bump you up or down as needed, but TR have specifically said that these are their current view of what these plans should be, with or without AT. I’m inclined to trust that unless I start finding things too easy, in which case I can manually use workout levels to substitute some workouts (in the absence of AT).
Sorry, but I misunderstood your OP: I thought you weren’t using power indoors, too.
However, if you use a heart rate monitor on you outdoor rides, you can still use Adaptive Training. I don’t know whether it will be released right away, but the TR team is working on a heart rate-based TSS and intensity estimator. It won’t be as accurate as power, but it should still be able to differentiate between easy pedaling and a hard ride.
One more comments on power meters. They are tremendously useful outdoors. You can train pacing, hold yourself back when appropriate, etc. I’d rather have a cheaper bike with mid-range components and a power meter than a fully decked out bike without. It’s an investment that is totally worth it. Just my 2¥.
Thanks all - this is really helpful! You’re right, I haven’t listened to the latest podcast episode yet, and had misunderstood how the new plans work from forum posts. Also: my bad not making it clear about power meters!
Also, I do understand your point about getting a power meter for outdoors vs a more expensive bike… But my road bike is already an entry level sora bike, so no money I could’ve saved there I understand it’s a good investment for other people, but for me as a recent graduate in a (UK) public sector job, bike maintenance and trainerroad is about as much as I can reasonably spend.
Although yes, I do have a HR monitor I use on outdoor rides, so that’s great to know - thanks again!