On a Dumb Trainer, When Do I Increase Resistance? (Virtual Power)

Hi, all! I’m new here and just started using TR this week. I’m confused about when to ramp up my resistance and when to simply increase my cadence. I’m not on a smart trainer. So, I have no sensor for power - just cadence and speed.

My question is…when do I simply increase my cadence while I’m riding to a plan and when do I increase my resistance? I did the Monitor plan yesterday and in order to keep anywhere near to the cadence expected I never increased by resistance. Will a plan tell me when to increase my resistance or just my cadence? And if just my cadence to I just make the call on my own as to when to increase resistance?

This is highly dependent on your trainer and the gearing on your bike. For example:

  1. If the step requires an increase of 10 watts, you may need to just add 5 rpm cadence, because a rear shift might result in a 20-30 watt increase if you hold the same prior cadence.
  2. If the step requires an increase of 100 watts, there’s little chance you can hit that with a cadence change, so a one shift or more would be required.

You have to learn your specific setup through experimentation and see what amount of steps mean for you. Also, you can keep in mind the functional cadence range you’d like to cultivate, and pick cadence or shifting based on that.