Replacing indoor workouts with outdoor RPE based workouts


I’m fairly new to this topic. I’d like to replace some of my indoor workouts in my training plan with outside workouts, every now and then.

Today I was scheduled with Pettit. 1 hour easy endurance work on the trainer, ending up at 39 TSS. The RPE based outside-version of the workout, says 81 minutes with intensity 6 (Uncomfortable), which ends up at a TSS over 80. How come?


Pettit, set for Inside, with Power:

Pettit, set for Outside, with RPE:

  • Note: This defaults to 90 minutes, following TR’s typical 50% adder for Endurance workouts moved outside. Not needing to get into the good/bad of this, but just recognize the setting they use.

  • Most important: Both workouts above show a planned 39 TSS

Look at the TR RPE info, that should presumably apply to their RPE based Outside workouts:

  • image

  • RPE 6 corresponds to Endurance via this table.

Alternatively, look at a separate “Other Activity”, that is based on the following “Intensity Estimate” scale:

  • image

90 min and 6 Intensity… assuming parity between both scales… which I think is a problem:

60 min and 6 Intensity… assuming parity between both scales… which I think is a problem:

90 min and 2 (Easy) Intensity, which I think makes way more sense.

60 min and 2 (Easy) Intensity, which I think makes way more sense.

Essentially, I think there is a disconnect between their RPE info in the website, and the actual application when looking at the “Intensity Estimate” used for other activities. I have no idea if this pushes well beyond Pettit, but wonder how this all blends?

  • In my ideal world, the RPE and Intensity would be parallel for consistency and simplicity.

I am tempted to move this into a TrainerRoad Software category, as a Feature Request, but want @IvyAudrain to take a look before I do that.


Chad out here KILLIN IT!
I agree, though, this pertains to TR software.

I’ll also check with the team regarding the ‘Intensity Estimate’. :v:


For reference, I have some RPE info in my power data table.

  • This started from the TrainingPeaks info about Coggan’s model, but I tweaked it to cover a normal 1-10 scale.


That first table seems wrong - on the 1-10 RPE scale I’ve always assumed that around 3/4 is LT1, top end of endurance, and 8 is LT2 or threshold. RPE6 would be Tempo/ bottom end of sweet spot.

If you’ve a HRM then Pettit should be Z1 all the way or just pushing into Z2 if outside and the terrain catches you out. On the turbo I get a max HR about 10bpm below the Z1/2 boundary.

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  • Agreed, I’ve never liked it from a pure distribution sense.


Is it really a 2 point step between RPE 2, Recovery, Active Recovery and RPE 4, Easy, Warmup-Cooldown?

Not to mention another 2 point step between RPE 4, Easy, Warmup-Cooldown and ** RPE 6, Easy-Moderate, Endurance**. At best, those seem to be a single point step IMO.

I think their REP 8, Moderate-Hard, Threshold and others higher are about right. But the low end of the scale just seems off to me.

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HEY! I wanted to follow up about this after getting some clarification from the team.

While both RPE and Intensity are graded on a scale of 1-10, it’s important to realize that they’re different (i.e. there’s not parity between them).During the workout, RPE levels from this scale should be used to guide your effort level for any particular interval.

When estimating TSS, we use a different scale.
This scale describes the Intensity of the entire workout. In other words, how difficult did the workout feel overall. For this, you should use the descriptions provided in the TSS estimator.

The RPE levels from the workout description aren’t meant to be copied over directly to the TSS estimator. In the case of Pettit, it’s a relatively short endurance ride. Even though the RPE target for the workout was 6, the overall intensity of the ride should feel more like a 2 or 3.Using a 2 or 3 as the Intensity value in the TSS estimator will result in a much closer result to what is intended.I know this can be confusing!

I’ve passed this along to the team to see if it’s something we can add more clarification surrounding this topic. Cheers!