Riding outdoors, but not sticking to the TR outdoor training

If I’m scheduled for workout “A” but decided to skip riding on the trainer indoors and instead do a non-associated ride outdoors, let’s say either a hill climb or a leisurely 50km ride would TR take this into account to allow me to use the metrics off of my GPS to calculate my progress.

I know it’s essentially skipping a workout, but would TR allow my to do a modification like this without loosing my progress?

In short, “skipping” the scheduled workout will lead Adaptive Training to see it as not done, so AT will downrate your next workout in that same training zone, in an effort to apply the desired training load you missed. That’s because you didn’t do that workout, and therefore didn’t gain in that zone.

Even if you do some form of ride, there is no connection between that and your scheduled workout. What you are asking for is essentially the Workout Levels Version 2.0 that is pending and aimed to include “unstructured” rides into Progression Levels. But that is not in place right now.

And from your question, it implies you don’t have power data outside. If that is the case, there will be limited use of that data even when WOLV2.0 is release. We don’t know how it will work yet, but I suspect real power data will be best case, even if they somehow include HR as a proxy for the work.

And even in the best case scenario above, the work you chose to do instead of the planned workout may have no relevance to that workout (via PL), so AT would still likely downgrade your pending workouts just as I covered above.

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I thought I understood how this worked, but, having just looked at my Career Summary page in-app, I noticed my Threshold workout level has jumped since the weekend.

Looking back to my last workout on Saturday, I rode an unstructured outdoor loop round my town (I had a workout scheduled but ignored it). TrainerRoad appears to have taken the ride into consideration and moved my Threshold progression and a secondary progressions against sweet spot and endurance (it confirms this when I click on the ride). I’d mistakenly thought this only happened if you associated a similar workout in TR but doesn’t appear to be the case. I’m happy it’s recognising the work

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Are you certain that the ride you did is NOT associated with any TR workout?

If you open that ride on the calendar of TR web page, and check it with the initial click (not fully open), you can see if there is an association:

image

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Hi Chad,

Can I ask how AT compensates for unstructured outdoor riding without a PM - i.e. if you just put “100 TSS” into the calendar and tell TR that has been done - what is the expected compensation?

I ask because I do a low volume plan but add Z2 and outdoor mountain biking (as well as strength training, which isn’t accommodated for but I pair with SS or endurance. This extra load doesn’t seem to impact my ability to do the workouts, but I don’t want AT to think “Oh god he must be tired because if he’s chosen a LV plan it’s because he can’t handle the extra load” and keep reducing my weekly workouts, as that’s where I want to work hard.

Today AT dropped my weekly upcoming Threshold workout from a 4.6 to a 4. It originally upgraded to the 4.6 because I rated my last Threshold workout “moderate”. The only changes that happened were I did a long MTB ride on sunday at super low intensity, and I reported a sweetspot workout as “moderate” today.

  • Probably best to get an official answer from a TR rep (@SarahLaverty or @IvyAudrain ) or email support with this question. But I will offer what I think is the basic answer.

For starters, a plan does have an initial TSS related to each week and a desired progression and AT will try to adjust your plan with that progression in mind… but I think it is more about looking at the Progression Levels than your TSS. We will see impact to TSS as AT alters workouts, but AFAIK, the PL is the guide and goal that drives AT.

As such, any “extra work” you add in the form of “Other” activities on the calendar is essentially ignored, at least WRT to TSS. Stuff like strength training and such is not a factor from what I know. And even more rides you add to the calendar are not factors in the TSS side of life specifically, since I don’t think TR is using AT to control TSS specifically.

Ignoring the fact that I think TSS is secondary at best, what I think is key here is the actual rating you give to each completed workout and the specific Difficulty Level TR has for you on that day.

My take is that if you are assigned a workout and the DL is “Achievable”, anything above a Moderate rating is likely to lead to a decrease in the pending workout of that zone. If you rate a Productive or Stretch workout in the Very Hard or All Out range, it might do the same. Much of this is about what PL’s predict are your capability in a zone, and your reaction to work in that zone. Comparing the assigned Workout Level, to your current Progression Level, and then your experience in that is how it decides if the plan is good as-is, or if there are changes needed up/down.

I hesitate to offer an opinion on specific cases like you shared, because there are more wheels in motion that we can see externally. So I’d recommend contacting support if you have a specific question.

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As Chad noted, TR will not use these rides for AT or your PL’s…however, it will take those rides into account when you use the AI FTP Detection functionality.

So the answer is “kinda”? :man_shrugging:

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Thanks Chad. In all these cases my workouts are productive as I’m getting back into training with a reasonable history so unsure why it adjusted for a moderate rating, but have just chosen to opt for a low volume plan as I’ve found in the past the medium and high volume ones don’t give me the freedom I want to generally be happy and productive and lead to burnout and boredom (I just get bored of more than 2 SS workouts a week).

We were always advised in these situations in the pod to pick low and add volume, but this answer seems to indicate to me that what you should actually do is pick moderate but just adjust the intensity, or pick moderate POL.

Voting “difficulties” is hard though - especially comparing cross workouts. Am I voting it a “hard” workout, or “hard for threshold”. If a) well, all over/unders are variations of hard. If b), then I should be voting very different!

Will consider a question to the support. Thanks.

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  • I don’t think that is the right conclusion to draw here and is certainly NOT what I think most people should do. Low Vol plus user additions makes the most sense to a broader group from all I have seen. Outside of that short comment, I try to avoid that level of “coaching” recommendations.

  • Much of this will hopefully improve once TR releases WLV2 so that can capture a more complete picture of the work we are actually doing. Until then, we have to apply general guidelines and adjust as needed ourselves.

  • In short, rate the workout you did, in that very moment, on how it felt right then.

  • Do NOT rate based on what you expected, or how this might compare to any other workout.

For more info, check out the official TR article:

And I made my own refined list from lengthy discussion with TR reps.

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@mcneese.chad has done a great job of answering your question. Thanks, Chad!

One thing that I’d like to add is that your Progression Levels will not necessarily decrease if you skip a workout. Whether your Progression Levels decrease or not will depend on your recent training history and whether you have stressed those physiological systems recently. Depending on the type of Workout that you missed, and how it fitted within the broader periodisation of your Training Plan, upcoming workouts may adapt to decrease in difficulty.

To reiterate what Chad said, your unstructured rides will not contribute towards Progression Levels at the moment. If you do an unstructured ride in replacement of a scheduled structured Workout, we will assume that you skipped the Workout. Depending on how your Progression Levels respond to this skipped Workout, your Plan may adapt.

Workout Levels v2 will allow any Workout that contains power data to contribute to your Progression Levels, and thus adaptations! So as Chad mentioned, it will be beneficial to have a power meter when this comes out :slight_smile: .

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Thank you both! Sorry - one last clarification!

If you add TR workouts to a plan that increase the TSS (in my case, several Z2 a week), will AT reduce the intensity of your ‘core’ plan workouts to ‘compensate’ for this increased TSS?

(Assuming you are able to complete what is prescribed - obviously if you rate one of the core workouts ‘all out’ it would will adapt the next workouts down a bit)

  • No, because TR is not “tracking TSS” in the sense that you are thinking or implying. It is a recorded and tracked metric, but it is not “driving the bus”.
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Welcome to the TrainerRoad forum @Briceratops!! You do know how it works :wink:.

Your Workout from last Saturday, the 12th of November is associated with the 5.1 Threshold TrainerRoad Workout. You can change the association or mark it as an unplanned ride from the app or Website.

You can do this from the app:

  • Head to the Calendar tab on the left side of your screen.
  • Find the Workout you completed on the 12th of November, 2022 and click into it.
  • You will see the screen that I have shared below.
  • Scroll to the bottom and select “Change association”.

You can also see and change this association from the website too. To change the association or mark as an unplanned ride from the website, click Ragged as I have highlighted below. This will give you the same options as above.

Sorry @Neuromancer, I’m getting to you!

Does AT consider TSS?

Exactly! TSS gives you a more complete picture of your overall training load. When building the Training Plans, Coach Chad will have ensured that the TSS stays within an appropriate range for a given phase of training. However, TSS does not drive your adaptations. Your adaptations are driven by your Progression Levels. You can learn more about Progression Levels here: Progression Levels: What They Are and How to Use Them.

“Extra” Unstructured Workouts

We don’t recommend associating unstructured rides to TrainerRoad Workouts. This is not the intended use and could lead to inappropriate adaptations. Neither your Progression Levels nor Adaptations are impacted by unstructured rides at the moment.

Adding extra TrainerRoad Structured Workouts

However, if you are adding extra TrainerRoad structured Workouts to your Calendar, make sure that you are answering the surveys, as Chad indicated. If these extra Workouts are not impacting your ability to complete the Workouts scheduled in your Training Plan, it is not something to worry about. On the other hand, if your extra workouts are impacting your ability to complete the scheduled Workouts, I would suggest you dial things back.

Survey Responses for Structured Workouts

This is key. Chad’s advice on this is spot on!

I took a look into this for you. I have some questions for you so I am going to shoot you a DM and we can circle back around when we have more clarity on this!

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I honestly think I am more confused about Adaptive Training after reading this thread than I was before.

Thoughts/ Questions:

  1. I DON’T like the idea of doing a low volume plan and then adding rides to it if those rides are, for instance, 100 - 200 TSS rides (each) on Saturday and Sunday. The low volume plan will have too much intensity, and not account for someone coming into the week having just done ~300 TSS over the weekend. Right?

  2. I DO like the idea of doing a mid or high volume plan (I do 500-600 TSS weekly, sometimes more) and then swapping out the weekend rides for unstructured rides, but trying to match the TSS. However if I do this, Adaptive Training is going to continually underestimate my PL’s. Right?

For all of these questions you could assume that I train 5 days a week with the following breakdown:

Mon/Wed/Thu = structured, on the Trainer for 90+ mins each day.
Sat/Sun = unstructured, or minimally structured, outdoors.
Mon/Fri = off

Thanks in advance for anyone who would like to weigh in.

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I was kind of asking the same question here:
https://www.trainerroad.com/forum/

So far, I’ve been switching my workouts to outdoors and just let TR associate them even though I didn’t actually follow the workout - I just did a ride outside.

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That is potentially problematic. If you get an association for something like a VO2 workout that leads to an increase in that PL, while you only rolled easy, you are not getting appropriate adaptations.

Essentially, unless you are doing a workout or ride that closely matches the efforts and intent of a given planned workout, you are potentially misleading AT via incorrect PL’s.

It’s the reason TR has recommended against this type of hack, unless you are actively performing an outside workout via the TR processes.

PS, here is an actual link to the topic you mentioned. The one you did just gets to the landing page of the forum.

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Yep, I think I suffered(couldn’t complete) through my last workout because of this exact reason. I think for now I’ll just let those workouts be “skipped” and see what happens.

While I know I’m not suing TR as I should, I really like the app and would rather keep using it vs. Just random workouts I find online.

Do you have a coach? If so, they’ll manage your overall progression.

If not - AT notwithstanding - you are your coach. Whether you follow a mid volume plan or a low volume plan and add rides on, the onus is on you to manage yourself. AT can’t account for everything about you as an individual.

IMO, the second you deviate from the planned rides AT has given you, you’ve completely wrestled control from Skynet and it’s down to you now. AT will still progress you nicely within workout types, but you’ll need to manage your overall training load and recovery … but it was ever thus.

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My 2p for this discussion (and feel free to ignore it) is that there seems to be a confusion over TSS and Intensity. One is not the other. You can accumulate TSS by ridng but it doesn’t really tell you a great deal on its own. 100 TSS in an hour is a lot different to 100 TSS on a Sunday ride of 3 or 4 hours. You’re much more likely to feel the intensity in your legs than the TSS (in my experience).

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Just from observation, I don’t see much difference in the intensity between the LV and MV Base plans. In Base 1, you just add 1x 90min SS and 1x 60min Endurance ride. LV just extracts the “three key” workouts from MV and delivers you them.

On Base II, you get 1x Extra Threshold workout and 1x 60min Endurance workout, which is more of a difference - so the average intensity is actually higher for MV than LV. But it still extracts the “3 key workouts”.

From the replies I’ve been given, your outdoor rides without power do not drive TR’s calculations, except when you use a workout survey to tell TR you are fatigued (and the reason) in which case it will adjust upcoming difficulties to prioritise achievable compliance over excessive progression.

Once WL2 comes in, your outdoor rides without power will remain as above. Your outdoor rides WITH power will be captured in the algorithm to help it adjust the progression for you.

For example, if you go out and do 2x20 at 105% on a hill (and you are rigidly compliant and good at making power chart go flat), but your current PL for threshold is like 3.0, you’d expect it to go up as 2x20@105 is pretty high on a threshold PL (unless your FTP is under). This is the same as if you added a random 2x20@105 from the library to your calendar, completed it, and rated it “doable”. Your upcoming 3.0 would probably change (or your ftp - this is where I am more wooly).