Top 10 lessons from using TR for 3 years

After watching Ambers’ top 10 training tips from 2020, here are my top 10 takeaways from listening to the podcast, reading the blogs, and using the product since Jan 1 2018. Over that time my FTP has gone from 200 to 270, and I’m closing in on 4 w/kg as a 54 year old masters rider.

In no particular order:

  1. consistency is king. Pick whatever plan you will do at the highest compliance level
  2. For first time TrainerRoad users, I would almost always recommend starting low volume SSB, even if you’ve ridden a lot. It’s not about how much time you have. I struggled with SSB MV at the beginning; now it is challenging but doable.
  3. Fuel your rides! This has been a huge benefit. I make sure to take in at least 50g-75g of carbs/hour and try to get in carbs 1 1/2-2 hours before my ride.
  4. Use the post ride comments. I put in hours of sleep, what I ate before, what I took in during the ride, and then anything like erg or resistance mode, big ring, small ring. Tying back to #3, the rides I “fail” I almost always don’t have 7+ hours sleep and/or I didn’t fuel well. Amazing the patterns you will see.
  5. Aim for 8 hours of sleep regularly
  6. Listen to the podcasts! They are great entertainment and you will learn a lot. Sure some of it won’t be applicable to you, but the amount of “free knowledge” I’ve gotten by listening is invaluable.
  7. Read the weekly tips! Lots of good info in there. And read the in-ride comments. I get the feeling Chad spent a lot of time on those for a reason!
  8. If you are a masters athlete or struggling to do MV, sub out the Sunday SS ride for the long ride (it’s in the weekly tips). The long ride has lots of benefits, but leaves me ready to tackle the tough Tuesday ride.
  9. Use the forum as a resource. Lots of experience here and people who are willing to help. But be careful…you can get sucked in and spend way too much time here!
  10. Do not obsess about FTP as number that defines you or your training. If it doesn’t go up every single test, that’s ok. Don’t obsess about ramp vs 20 min vs 8 min vs anything else. Just pick one, keep consistent with it, and learn over time if you need to make adjustments from the result. Constantly changing will just mean you don’t have a base line to learn from.

Happy New Year. Would love to hear other people’s key learnings.

Thanks to the the TR team for an amazing product. @Nate_Pearson @chad @Jonathan @ambermalika @Pete @IvyAudrain and all the others behind the scenes.

69 Likes

do you have a link to her top 10? would love to hear them. thanks!

Brendan

Hey Brendan

Here is the YouTube link. It’s good stuff. Hope you are well and happy new year

3 Likes

Its ok to adjust intensity during a ride to finish it and come back stronger later.

6 Likes

thanks! doing great here, hope the same for you. just rolling solo, dodging the virus, and anxiously awaiting races and other safe activities with humans!

take care!

Same for me. Maybe see you at race in 2021 if any happen. I’m already in Unbound Gravel 2022 (deferral) so maybe see you there.

Best

1 Like

kinda tired of trying to get into that race :wink: at some point it just feels like it wasn’t meant to be lol

THIS!!! Especially the part about spending too much time here. :slight_smile:

1 Like

It’s reassuring to see that my list is nearly the same after 1.5 years of using TrainerRoad. I also use the notes to put in what I watched on the trainer and sometimes what day of the week it was or if it followed a holiday or occasion. When I scroll through the ‘my rides’ section of a workout, it’s nice to remember what I should roughly expect. One thing I’ve learned as well is that the plans aren’t an end-all-be-all. Once you’ve done them completely a few times, I think you understand the workouts and progressions and can sub in comparables or something different in terms of TSS, depending on how you feel. Great list though. Someone new to TR could get a shortcut to success by reading it and implementing the points.

2 Likes

I’d like to add:

  1. don’t forget to stretch before/after and stand up occassionally (e.g., in between intervals)… only way to prevent saddle sores and to prevent growing crooked… trainer is a static position! (assuming indoor rides)
4 Likes

Thanks for making this list and sharing your experiences. This is very valuable. I’m also a masters athlete and started TR in early 2020. Initially, I achieved good results (based on FTP score progress from 163 > 191) but then I had a bike crash back in October, broke my collarbone (yea, I’m a real cyclist), took a month off to recover, and my FTP went down to 178. It’s time to rebuild again. Lessons learned, the progress that I built in early 2020 was not sustainable, probably because I took many shortcuts. I went from SSB1 MV to Build MV, skipping SSB2.

I used the past holiday break to learn as much as possible about structured training (everything is your list). One thing that I’m still struggled with is number 5 on your list. I’ve been struggling for years to get 8 hours sleep. The longest sleep I had in years is 7 hours. Work is stressful, but still manageable. The problem is not the environment, but my mind is just too active. Well, at least I know where the problem is.

2 Likes

I have been TR user only 3 months but number 3. (fueling) and 6. (listening podcasts -> knowledge) has made a big difference compared to past. Great!

The 1. and 5. are one of my areas to development this year.

1 Like

I also struggle to get 8 hours. However, my policy has been to at least try to give myself the chance of 8 hours by being in bed, rather than faffing around the house.

5 Likes

I’ve been working on improving sleep a bunch lately and similar to @rsusanto have difficulty turning the brain off. Currently I’m reading a fascinating book about all things sleep which will absolutely make you want to prioritize sleep (possibly above all else) called Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker. Highly recommended.

Also now when my suboptimal sleep nights are much more apparent compared to the well-rested nights, which is motivation to continue improving.

1 Like

The author does some very questionable data manipulations in several spots throughout the book. It really tarnishes his credibility.

2 Likes

My kids joke that sleep is my superpower. I can fall asleep in 3-5 minutes pretty much anytime or anywhere. Great for recovery. Not so good when I fall asleep in bed when my wife wants to talk :roll_eyes:

1 Like

Thanks for bringing that to my attention. It’s quite unfortunate to hear, especially given that this analysis only covers the 1st chapter of the book. I’ll start adding some grains of salt to claims Walker makes, although remain fascinated by the book. I wonder what Walker’s response to this has been?