Strategy for integrating structure with free rides or group rides

I’m curious to hear how others integrate their non-structured rides with TR-based structured training.

Personally, I like to do my structure during the week and then join my mates for group rides on the weekend. The group rides tend to vary depending on what group I’m riding with and sometimes how the group is feeling but they typically last between 3-5hrs and include a fair amount of intensity.

In the past, I’ve done LV SS during the week and group rides on the weekend but that was a bit too much intensity.

I’ve also done MV SS where I do the workouts during the week and then try to loosely follow the TR plan on my weekend group rides but obviously imperfect.

I’m currently 12 weeks into the Polarized base/build plan which is working nicely for me as I’m 49y/o and the aforementioned programs were probably too much as I was perpetually run down and tired. However, I have a hard time deviating from the TR plan and have been doing my weekend rides alone so I can nail the workouts.

When I finish the Polarized block in a couple of weeks, I was thinking of switching to AT leading up to my A event which is still about 3 months out. I know TR hasn’t released their outdoor analysis yet so I’m wondering if I should just ride with my friends and pick a workout after that closely matches the ride and associate it with the ride or just leave the AT for the truly structured stuff.

I know I’m not the only one that struggles with this, so I’m curious how others integrate structured rides with non-structured rides while using TR.

There are two many variables with group rides to try and extract zonal benefits whilst keeping a tidy group of riders together.

The weekend workouts are the most productive which doesn’t help.

Personally I’ve found cutting loose on the structured training and relay on a couple of chain gangs in the week and a long hard ride on Sunday.

Whilst the structured training goes out of the window you should still improve your fitness although in a less rounded and effective manner

But it’s not just about being quick on your bike, it’s smiles per mile, riding with mates whilst reminding yourself why you ride a bike