Off the couch training plans

I’ve searched the forum and pretty much can’t find anything on this… Is there a reason TR doesn’t have a plan for this demographic?

I’m off the couch, haven’t exercised in 7 years. Been doing a short commute and less than a dozen outdoor 30-75min rides. Indoors the low volume plans are 60-90min, and as we all know indoor training is a lot more effort than outdoors, ie position on the bike, constantly turning the pedals, etc.

Currently, these plans are too much for me. Curious if there’s ever coming a plan for this demographic. I’m sure I’ll be out of this phase by then, but putting it out there.

Currently if I was to add a plan I’d have to adjust each workout to a version of less time, for a least a couple months to avoid injury/overtraining.

I do know about the time crunch 30/45 plans but I’m not looking to do that type of intensity until my body is used to being on the bike for more than my short commute. It also doesn’t seem safe to put that level of strain on my body.


What makes you say this? Are you recovering from injury/illness/overtraining right now?

When I started TR my off-the-couch was haven’t exercised, period, and also got none of mom’s athletic genes, thanks a lot Dad, and I did not overtrain or injure myself on Sweet Spot Base (Low Volume). It was no cakewalk, but the challenge felt achievable and it hooked me on structured training pretty quickly :laughing: The Polarized Base plan could also be a good option, since it’s about the same time commitment with much less intensity. The workouts scale to your capability, and Adaptive Training will refine further as you go.

These are aimed at riders looking to maintain fitness, not build it, so I agree they’re not a good choice for you right now.

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I wouldn’t worry about “overtraining”. That is unlikely to happen. You might feel tired but that’s normal and expected. Injury is also fairly unlikely at low volumes.

Do a ramp test to calibrate where you are now and then just jump in. You’ll be fine. One key thing to bear in mind though is that constantly turning the pedals at certain power levels is hard work and it might feel at first like “OMG, this is too much, this can’t be right, this isn’t for me, i need an easy one… etc etc”. You can do it. It’s as much mental training as physical. It will rapidly teach you that you can do this and you’ll impress yourself with what you are capable of.

We all start somewhere…


Just ride. Outside if you can but if not on Zwift. Do what feels easy now and build up gradually. Start with flat and build up time/distance. Then start doing some hills.

Consistency and motivation/enjoyment are key.

Worry about TR, plans etc in a year or so (if at all)

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Do not worry, choose any base plan taking into account amount of time you can dedicate for training. After every ride honestly estimate whether workout was easy/moderate/hard, etc and Adaptive Training will adjust next workout for you.

Or, if you have specific event in mind, maybe let Plan Builder create plan for you. Even then, created plan is not set to stone, AT still will continuously adjust it based on your feedback.

Off the couch you’ll get fitter just riding, any riding. Do that for a while building up volume and some intensity. Then revisit structured in 6-12 months time once you’ve built a base level of fitness.

Pretty sure these plans work for anyone, 60 mins at “your” level following a ramp test will be totally doable, even with zero training.


For sure. You don’t need to train to be able to start training. If you’ve found your way here then you probably have an interest in becoming a fitter, faster cyclist. So jump in, have fun, push yourself. You’ll be amazed at what you are capable of doing.

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I did an hour long right when I received my H3 because I was so excited to check it out. Kept hitting the + intensity til it felt right, ended up around 160% from TR’s pre set ftp. I did this because I was really curious to see what certain wattage felt like. Ended up manually setting ftp to 220. Did an easy 30 the next day, day of rest, then a 30min sweet spot work out. Just before the first workout I adjusted my seat up a few 10mm, for reasons :clown_face: as well as back 8ish mm :clown_face: The following workouts I could feel I irrritated my IT band and hip flexor, and ended up setting it back to where it was.

I did a ramp test the day after the 30min SS workout and it set me at 262. Even though I was still feeling mild IT band irritation I was thick skulled and did a few more work outs the next week and realized I should take a break.

I took 2 weeks off outside of my commute and my IT band was feeling better but not 100% after a 50min outdoor ride around z2/z3.

So I took another full week off. I was previously an injury prone runner, and know my body pretty well. This is why I bring up the point made about feeling they are too much for me. Not wanting to do too much too soon is my new goal after experiencing almost immediate problems when I did what was definitely too much too soon.

The PNW is quickly approaching unkind weather when it comes to outside riding, I got the H3 because I’m a data nerd and derive enjoyment and motivation from structure.

Definitely noticed with just commuting 10min and hitting the ftp I did. I really enjoy structure and understand the huge consistency which is why I subscribed to TR.

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It sounds like you know it super well, and then you ignore it completely :laughing: :hugs:

If you’re recovering from an IT band injury I wouldn’t start a structured training plan at all, just go easy until you’re back at 100%. And then go easy another week or two.

Ya, I just missed exercise/training so much, I’d be on my bike 8 hours a day if it was physically feasible…

I’ll be taking it easy with a few 30/45min endurance rides til my bike fit on the 6th. Will be taking it easy afterwards mostly endurance and an SS workout or two. Til I’m dialed and feeling 100%.

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Zwift is inside and you’ll have data from just riding a round. But of course if you want to do a plan do a plan. Just reduce the time or intensity to suit (ie set your ftp lower than it is) :slight_smile:

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:point_up:t4: :ok_hand:t4:


The most important thing is take an ftp ramp test. When you cant turn the pedals stop. Dont stand, dont take a break and go back to it. Just stop even if you only do 2 minutes. This should set yourself up for success in low volume plans. Also workout alternatives exist for low volume plans you can choose a shorter duration workout if an hour is too much.

If that is too hard maybe try “Train Now” and select achieveable workouts and lower the duration to 30-45 minutes to start.

I have a hard time getting back on the indoor trainer after some time off. Things hurt that dont bother me outdoors. It does take some time to work through them.

Distractions help. On easy days watch tv, on hard days crank up your favorite music.

Having a smart plug connected to your fan, and an Alexia or Google device to turn on and off fans , tv and music make it much easier to get through a workout. Nothing worse than suffering and a song you hate comes on it could ruin your workout.

I also agree low volume SS base plans can be a bit much if you are also commuting and riding at your limits another 2 days a week. You need to make your commute really easy or do outdoor SS workouts on your commute and do easy days indoors. Hopefully Trainerroad can track outdoor efforts and adapt our indoor workouts accordingly soon. This is where experience helps.

As a sedintary person struggling with weight issues I want to be active daily. It took me years to realize its better for me to walk on my off days and not do a indoor workout. Maybe do 15 minutes of core work or a 30 minute walk. Stick to 3 days a week and follow the TR plan for cycling. Before you know it you will see bigger FTP gains and bigger engines burn more calories. When the gains stop and only then up the volume.

Your off-the-couch ftp is 100w more than my training-for-a-while-now ftp, so I wouldn’t say you aren’t ready for some effort fitness-wise. If you are having IT band issues (BTDT) and you are messing with your seat height, go get a bike fit asap and then reassess. My IT band issues have finally gone away (knock on wood) after a good fit (with plenty of float for me).