Progression Levels and Unstructured/Unplanned Workouts

My outside rides sync to my TrainerRoad calendar, if there is a workout planned I associated the outside workout and am shown progressive levels accordingly, however, recently a outside workout was imported that was not associated with a planned workout and no Progression Level was shown. Is having a planned workout required for Progression Levels?

In general yes. The plan is that those outdoors workouts will contribute to the PLs in future, but it might be a while before that’s rolled out.

In the short term. If you take a look at the duration and TSS of your ride you could add a similar workout to the calendar for that day, and then match them. That way you’ll get credit towards your PLs.


Thanks @KiloCal - so do progression Levels actually take into account the results of a workout? or are they simply looking at the planned/ structured times at various power zones today?

No and yes.

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came here to ask basically this exact same question. So you’re saying that it is a good idea (and not cheating or anything) to try to find a similar intensity workout, schedule it, and then match it to your outside ride, all for the purpose of getting the increase to your progression level? I did this for a recent outside ride. I looked at the heart rate and power data from the ride (it was all pretty much zone 2-3, mostly 2) and then searched workouts in zone 2 with a similar duration to my outside ride. I then scheduled it for the same day as my actual ride, and associated my ride to it. Boom, i’ve all the sudden gained nearly an entire PL in endurance. This is okay?


  • Depends on who you ask. Many users here have been searching and associating like this for a long time. Results vary when you actually look at the work and demand of the real ride vs the workout associated.

  • Sometimes, especially for well controlled Endurance rides can work well and make what some consider an “appropriate” association. But we’ve also seen people make associations between their ride and a TR workout that seems to match based upon one or two metrics (TSS / IF / etc.) while not really having anything of a real parallel between the workout and work done.

  • Jonathon pointed to a specific example earlier this week that highlighted an error like this. His general recommendation seemed to suggest to NOT try and do these work arounds. At the very least, you need to take a closer look at the workout and your effort and only link them if they are reasonably similar.


Before I start @mcneese.chad is a far better source than me for advice😅.

I pretty much exclusively do this for Z2 and below. I think I’ve done it for one tempo ride. I wouldn’t recommend doing it for anything above. Maybe if you’ve done a properly structured workout like a 2 X 20 it might be justified :man_shrugging:t2:.

One benefit I have noticed, on longer endurance rides if I schedule a 4 hour ride like Longfellow, I’ll inevitably end up holding average power at the top of the recommended range. And, because the terrain around me is rolling, my Net Power end up closer to tempo. So instead of doing a 0.68 IF ride I end up with a 0.78 IF ride.

If I match it later I can just enjoy my Z2, my average will end up where it needs to be and I end up closer to 0.7 IF anyway. That is purely personal though.

This probably explains the odd results I get from custom workouts ie. My Vo2 Max PL was 6.X for a while when completing 5x3min VO2 max intervals. The following week i changed to 9 x 2 min Vo2 Max/anaerobic intervals and my Vo2Max PL immediately dropped to 4.X…

Is Heart Rate Data/HRV leveraged for these calculations too?

Sorry I didn’t reply to your last comment, Chad got there before me.

I think that this data gets collected, but isn’t used to calculate completion presently. Just power and the survey.

I’m not sure about the custom workouts, but from your experience it may be that they don’t count. Your PLs will degrade after a couple of weeks if a zone isn’t maintained. So, if your PL dropped from 6 to 4 over a week it looks like neither workout contributed to your PLs. Might be best to wait for someone more informed to chime in @mcneese.chad.

If you hover your mouse over you’re VO2 PL (or click on it in the app) it’ll give the reason for the degradation.

Edit: ‘it’s’ was meant to be ‘isn’t’


With respect to general Heart Rate (HR) data on workouts, I am more confused than helpful here. Nate and Amber talked about it on a podcast, and I think that there was some clarification added in the related forum topic. But my memory is failing so I don’t want to offer any comment without tracking down that conversation.

AFAIK, Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is not used in any way at this time.