Roast my Training

Sent this in to ACC podcast but not confident they will pick my question.

Started using Trainer Road mid-April 2022, chose to get an indoor trainer over a power meter for any of my bikes, so consider all my outdoor rides as less productive.

For 2023 I decided to set a process goal for the year, rather than setting an FTP goal, I decided to target a minimum of 6 hours of riding per week.

I have made some progress in my FTP but feel like the newbie gains period is over and since spring 2023 I have struggled on and off with periods of fatigue, which rather than stepping away from the bike for several days or a week, I’ve addressed over longer periods of low intensity training. This has cost me some progress but allowed me to maintain my 6 hour a week minimum so far. Overall, I feel like my consistency has been good, I’ve cut a lot of the fun out of cycling for myself by very rarely going out for group rides or solo outdoor rides (no power meter yet) in favour of staring at the blue blocks.

This spring also corresponded with the end of my training, writing my final board exams, etc, while working but now that is completed I am hoping to be able to handle volume better without getting overly fatigued. The other thing I am excited about is being able to commute to the clinic I will be working out of by bike, my intention is to reduce my extra Endurance rides I have been doing to supplement the Low volume TR rides to hit my 6 hour weekly minimum and replace them with my commuting volume when the Canadian weather allows.

I’ve definitely made some mistakes, one of which was trying to do productive endurance to fill the extra volume around my Low volume plan to get to the 6 hour weekly minimum. I’ve found that Little Park and Lazy Mountain +1 seem to work better for this whereas Townsend -1 and even Tomyhoi seemed to wear me down.

As I use ERG mode, I generally can see my level of fatigue by what cadence I can maintain and how much I have to get out of the saddle to get through a workout. I’ve grinded through many workouts while fatigued with an avg cadence <60 (when less fatigued will avg mid to high 80s).

Due to these issues, my other area of non-compliance has been generally reducing the PL ramp rate progression and often doing 2 intensity workouts a week rather than 3 to allow for the extra volume.

I was wondering if you had any suggestions for areas of improvement that will allow me to continue progressing my volume in hours (want to maintain 6+ hours per week and eventually work up to 8-12 hours per week + resistance training which I haven’t had the time and energy for but am hoping to start this summer) and becoming a faster cyclist. I’m excited about my cycling commute but a little concerned about that time being less productive until I can get a power meter and start trying to follow a TR workout while completing it as the terrain allows.

How do I link to my calendar, for people that may be interested?

1 Like

One question
Is that 1 hr per day 6 days a week or 1 ride of 6 hours in duration?

1 Like

Lately ~4.5 hours Endurance (Little Park, which is 90 mins x3) with 2 intensity workouts (1h x2 or 1h x1 and 90min x1) of whatever workout category plan builder is going me (Threshold, VO2, Anaerobic) per week, cutting one of the intensity days out each week, as currently 3 intensity days + extra volume seems to burn me out.

Do you know how to link to your calendar for others to see?

But fun is the most important thing of cycling 🫨 you should enjoy what you’re doing


I’ve been guilty of this. You can definitely tire yourself out even with 6 hours per week. Substituting low intensity for actual rest just kicks the fatigue down the road. You’ll feel a little less tired but never fresh.

Don’t be tempted by a 3rd day of intervals. More is not better. I’ve kind of solved this by doing maybe 1.5 interval workouts per week. By that I mean, I don’t do another interval workout until I feel somewhat fresh again. That usually means having 2-4 days between workouts thus I don’t stick to a Tues/Thus interval schedule. I can do Tues/Thurs no problem but my legs will feel smashed on Fri, Sat, Sunday… Maybe I recover again by Tuesday for the next round.

I also think that performance can stall out if you pretty much do the same thing week after week. If it’s always two workouts + endurance for a total of six hours, and no real rest weeks then your training load may be static. Some periods of overload could help - some extra volume leading into a century ride on a Sunday for example. Maybe build up to 8-10 hours per week the week before your rest week? One can do mini training camps where you do extra miles on say a Thurs-Friday-Saturday-Sunday. It’s summer time. You should be outside mixing it up on group rides rather than staring at a screen.


I think you just change your account (in Accounts Settings) from private to public and then you can copy the link in the web (I am not sure about the phone).

Not sure if this works - TrainerRoad I didn’t see a way to change it to public

Your data is still private. To change it it in your account (in Accounts Settings). The 3rd block down ‘Account Privacy’ will say Private, like mine, you need to change it to Public the click the red button at the bottom ‘Update Information’.

If your 1.5h endurance rides end up leaving you fatigued (on a weekly volume of 6 hours) then either they’re too intense or something is seriously wrong with your recovery.

I’m not on a Trainerroad subscription anymore so can’t view the workouts you mentioned, but I’d try picking one that uses a lower percentage of FTP. Imo, anywhere between 55% and 65% is perfect, esp. if you have a key session coming up in the next day or two.

Also, are you eating and sleeping enough?

Definitely not when I was struggling with fatigue in February-May period, was eating lots, actually put on weight but was not getting enough sleep and was working like 70 hour weeks. On the other side of that now so have more consistent schedule with no more night shifts and less demanding schedule. So hoping to get back on track to making some progress.

Should be good now.

1 Like

Happy to hear it!

Just to share my experience; one of the biggest things I learned (and also biggest contributor to my fast progress this year and lack of progress in previous seasons) is when to back off. I now really only go for an intense workout (anything above 75% FTP) when certain preconditions are good: slept OK, not dreading it too much (tiny bit of anxiety is okay if in new progression territory), stress levels manageable, resting heart rate not elevated.

In your case I would definitely skip any intensity during these 70 hour work weeks. Low intensity is probably okay, as long as you keep it really chill. Personally I always feel better after an hour or two of easy riding on the bike and it actually helps me manage stress in a better way.

Looking through your calendar and reading your posts I think you’re falling victim to two problems that are related

First I think you’re generally over training/under recovering. Second I think it is likely your ftp is set too high

You say you’re constantly fatigued, but the workouts you’re completing are very low PL across nearly every zone. Further, as you note in your original post, you’re deliberately choosing alternate that decrease the progression of your PLs. In most cases it looks like you’re doing +0.1 or +0.2 each week

If these workouts at this frequency are burning you out you shouldn’t be considering increasing volume. You need to start nailing this level of volume before you start turning that dial up

Two days of intensity a week is great, and more than enough to progress fitness. Adding volume from more endurance is logical. Your issue isn’t with your methodology but with your ability to sustain your current training

Others have talked about balancing life stress with training so I won’t cover that. I will however suggest you look at your ftp setting and be honest with your ability to ride at that level. How much rest and prep would it take for you to do two twenty minute intervals at that number? Lowering it by 5-10% might solve a lot of your issues, assuming your ego can take it


another way to look at it is that you’re fatiguing yourself with low intensity volume and are not ready for the hard work when it matters.

One way to change that is to actually start nailing a LV plan consistently (3/3 workouts goal instead of the X hours). And then to add some 30min at the end of a workout or a 4th ride on the Sunday. Use the other time to rest up and enjoy life (I gather you’re a new doc, nice to get some extra time).
Alternatively I would actually recommend a MV plan (5 workouts all with AT) over the LV + 3 rides (6 in total, 3 with AT).

Also, if you have endurance scheduled, I don’t see why you can’t get out and enjoy the ride - just keep yourself in check, ride conversational pace, and don’t attack every hill.
I did traditional base previously and could nail the endurance and tempo sessions outside pretty well without looking at power.

And I would go on that group ride, if it’s an intense ride swap it out for one of the intensity sessions, otherwise count as endurance :v:

First and most important - if what you’re doing isn’t fun, find another plan/system. Personally, my TR usage gets really inconsistent through the summer because I’d rather do group rides. It is what it is. Some years, I peak in March (for a big race) and summer is mostly maintenance because I just want to ride my bike in the woods and my racing is strictly for fun/social.

6 hours isn’t a huge amount - if that’s leaving you fatigued regularly, then you might be doing too much intensity. Or have something else going on (sleep, stress, etc).

3 things jump out to me here:

Always ask yourself: why am I doing this? Is this fun? The fact that you’ve traded enjoyment for “more precise training” is a big mistake IMO: it HAS to be both, enjoyable and productive. Sure, vo2max might not be “fun”, but seeing the reward is. “Staring at blue blocks” sounds like you’re disliking the process, and that is a red flag IMO.

you really can risk injury here. When you’re cadence is all out of wack, it’s just too hard of a workout. I’d stop there and figure out what adjustment to make.

when you get here, newbie gains will return!

good luck making the tweaks and enjoy the progression of your training journey. Seriously ENJOY IT!


1 Like

N=1, but I completely agree here.

Been riding / racing for 30+ years…was decent, pack fodder 3 for the most part. Would particpate in group rides, take my pulls, occasionally sit in to recover, etc.

From 2013-2017, I was doing IM triathlons…and while I definitely got stronger during this time, it was blunted by doing the other disciplines.

In 2018, I went back to the bike full time BUT kept my training volume the same. So all the time I was splitting across 3 disciplines was now all focused on the bike.

Massive jump in bike fitness…I went to being one of the strongest guys on our (already) fast group ride. From being a guy just taking a pull to being one of the guys taking long, hard pulls and turning the screws on the other guys. It was noticeable and a lot of people asked me what changed…“I just focused all my training time on the bike, but kept the volume the same”.

before doing IM’s, I was doing ~7 hours / week, maybe 10 on a “good” week. After I went back to the bike, I was doing 15-20 hours a week and the gains were significant…even after 25+ years of riding.

yes yes yes. and here’s something for those who can’t train 10 15 hours:

If you go from 8h a week to 9h a week, that’s a 12.5% increase in training!

That’s just a wild percentage when we think of it over a year…it might only be 45ish more hours, but they can be so impactful!

1 Like

I held my tongue for a few days to see if anyone else had a better idea but I’m gonna go off the path a little bit.

There appears to be something holding you back when you are on the trainer. I don’t know if it’s physical/mental/equipment or what. You haven’t failed a workout in as far as I looked through your history. A few maybe lowered the intensity but got thru everything. But if you look deeper…you’ll mark a low PL threshold workout as “very hard” but only hit like 155bpm at the end of your last interval. But then you go race on the weekend and get up to 180+ bpm. HR isn’t everything and most people can push harder in a race…but “most people” I’ve seen can push maybe 5-10 beats harder…not 20-30 bpm.

So unless you managed to stay in some magic zone where you were just fatigued enough that you could only do low PL workouts…but not enough fatigue that you literally never failed one for months on end. I think you just need to do harder workouts on the trainer.


Yeah, I wonder if this is down to using ERG mode. I think with ERG mode I can generally muscle through things. When I am muscling through things a lot of times my cadence is lower and it seems like my heart rate also doesn’t pick up the same as on the road. On the road I have a hard time keeping my HR low when I come to a climb, it seems very sensitive/responsive whether I am spinning to win or getting out of the saddle at a lower cadence.
Generally though my gravel race (most recent) is probably not a great example of pacing, race effort or not, given it was 107kms I would have preferred to not max myself out but had a couple punishing climbs, that I was doing the best I could to keep moving forward in ~30-34. That hurt my performance later in the race that I did end up going that hard. I end up generally doing the same thing with XC (which I haven’t raced this year) go till I blow off the start, recover and then work into my own pace, which is likely not the best pacing either.

Maybe off topic but would say generally I don’t get anywhere close to max hr on the trainer but will struggle to get through the effort at times with my cadence dropping like the end of a ramp test.

This is pretty much what I did from April 2022 to End of December 2022. The only times I strayed from getting the 3 workouts in plus extra rides were when I was on vacation or had covid, in the fall with CX races being Saturday and Sunday, it meant a few weeks of only 2 workouts a week, which meant AI wanted to drop my FTP but I refused the change.

I wasn’t really sure on the MV vs LV + 3 hours endurance… I know I wouldn’t want any weeks of 5 intensity workouts.