Outdoor rides and TR plan conflict!

Hi Guys. First post on the forum but a TR user for nearly 2 years ( I think?)

I have a question about the impact of doing multiple outdoor rides per week and how to fit in with one of the TR plans

Just as a background I don’t race but do the occasional sportive / gran fondo. My annual highlights are usually a week long cycling trip somewhere in Europe (usually hilly) with my cycling group in September and a shorter two day trip (UK) in June. Until a few months ago my schedule was to do one of the TR low volume plans. I would do the Tuesday and Thursday session and then substitute the longer Saturday workout with my regular Saturday group ride. I accepted that the Saturday ride would lack structure and the TSS was probably higher than the scheduled TR session but it seemed to work well. I usually fitted in two gym sessions if time permitted on non cycling days.

A few months ago my work schedule changed (Wednesday off) and I now do an outdoor ride with a friend in addition to the Saturday ride. Whilst this is really enjoyable it has messed up the TR plan and I often ended up doing only one indoor TR ride per week. Instead of substituting the TR ride I just selected the next ride in the plan whenever I rode on the trainer. In other words, an 8 week plan may now take me 2-3 times as long !

I don’t want to drop the outdoor rides as they are fun and social. I accept they won’t deliver the best bang for my buck but I also feel that they have compromised the TR plans.

So, my question and sorry it’s taken a while to get there. Going forward, assuming that I continue with the Wednesday and Saturday ride (weather permitting), is it better to still follow a low volume plan and just do a ‘next ride up approach’ whenever I train indoors. This will mean that sweet spot base for example would take a lot longer than 12 weeks as I won’t be riding 3 times indoors per week. Or, should I move through the plan each week as intended but accept that I may only complete one of the designated TR rides?

Thirdly, do I try to fit in two indoor rides and substitute the Saturday session for one of the outdoor rides. This means I will be riding 2 indoor + 2 outdoor so higher TSS than present and I would probably have to drop a gym / other sport session.

Any advice / thoughts greatly received!


Very interested in thoughts on this as that could be a description of me.


My first TR plan will be Mid Vol SS base and in my mind this will be on the turbo trainer as winter is about to start here in the UK, clocks go back this weekend etc. There are 2 club rides I’ve traditionally done, one on a Wednesday the other on a Friday, I will probably look to ditch the Friday ride (rest day on my plan anyway) but weather permitting I think it’s good for me to get out on the Wednesday ride.

On my plan, Wednesday is the easier Petit workout so a ride outdoors with my club where I dial down my efforts should give me a nice extra bit of TSS for the week without leaving me too fatigued for the Thursday workout, Friday is then a day off.

At the weekend, (snow, ice, wind permitting) when I feel like getting outside will be good for me I was going to try and do the planned workout or something closely resembling it. Geiger + 2 is 5 efforts at SS, I’m sure a local climb or flatter section can work for this, Hunter is 3 x 20 minutes so again I could possibly do this outdoors too. Or I could just go freestyle but with an eye on the planned efforts.

Does this sound like what others do, or do you just rigidly stick to the plan?

1 Like

I’m in a similar position to you, hence posting the original question. I also ride outside on Wednesdays and Saturdays. As I ride with other people I can’t really control the type of workout that I do. For me, it would be impossible to try to do 3 x 20 for example on a group ride. I’ve just started SSB 1 LV plan but I will continue to ride on Wednesdays and Saturdays but I will just do my own thing and try to ensure that TSS gradually increases each week. In reality, my TSS will be higher than if I just rigidly followed the plan.

For Saturday, I will substitute the TR ride for an outdoor ride (which is what I did for most of this year). The Wednesday ride I will just consider as an additional ‘free style ride’. I will still probably only ride 3 times per week so in some weeks I will only do one TR work out. I won’t skip the TR rides, just move them on to the next week. I accept this means that the 6 week plan will take me much longer. But it’s also inevitable that some Wednesdays / Saturdays the weather will be too poor ( I’m in UK as well) in which case I’ll do the next TR work out in the plan. I realise that the best training benefit would probably be to sacrifice one of the group rides and do a structured indoor session but I don’t race and it’s also meant to be fun and social and I don’t meet too many people in my freezing cold garage!

The weather is getting better here in Michigan and I find myself in the same position, i.e. wanting to keep one/two indoor TR training sessions, but shift the main focus to the outdoors. I like your suggestion of just progressing through the planned workouts, rather than “associating” or “substituting” an indoor workout with an outdoor ride. Yes, this would me it would take a lot longer to finish the plan, but then again it’s better, for me, than the alternative.

The alternative being that based you choose the workout on a workout-by-workout basis, every day, or every week. I’d rather not give myself the option to choose TSS/IF, but rather have @coachchad choose it for me.

Looking for more experienced riders to share their insights as well as this will be my first summer with TR and outdoors.

My take is if you want to improve your cycling in specific areas, you must do specific training. The trainer road approach provides specific guidance for specific improvements. Veer off the plan at your own peril. That being said, if your goal is to have quality group rides and enjoy the social aspect of cycling, then riding “group heavy” is a fine choice. Just don’t expect to realize the gains offered by the plan description.

This is pretty much me. I normally have Sundays off. So do my indoor rides, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. I do easy outdoors ride Wednesday, drop ride on Friday and normally a Crit on Saturday.

I have basically got all my structure inside and all my fun outdoors. I have followed the plan SSBLV1 into SSBLV2 and I feel really strong so will keep something similar going.

This is the type of schedule I do more or less throughout the year
Monday - 4 hour easy group social ride (Z1/2)
Wednesday - 4-8 hour (depending on weather and/or time of year) hilly ride (Z1-Z3)
Friday 4 hour fast flat group ride with sprints and hard 10/12 minute efforts sprinkled in. (Every Zone)
The other days I just do an hour or so very easy.
So I’ve decided to work my way through a set of low volume training plans and only doing the individual workouts when I’m not doing the above for one reason or another. Therefore a 6 week plan may take me 2/3 months but hey whose counting. Going to start with SSB1LV.

After trying for over a year to integrate TR plans with outdoor rides, this year my base building is using a FasCat plan as the template. Then I just use TR workout library and have TR control the trainer. Because those plans are built around two outdoor rides on the weekend, I don’t have to think much about building a plan around both indoor and outdoor workouts.