To the extent there is a sentiment it’s probably based more on history than current reality. Most of the time it’s been around, TR was very specifically focused on trainer rides and not just trainer rides but trainer rides of one hour with the max at around two hours. By its nature, the program was designed to be done indoors on a trainer And the plans were generally tailored more towards peaking for one big event rather than managing fitness while racing every week or so.
This does work great but, it does not match how “serious“ amateurs actually ride in real life. It would suffice for the winter, but once the season rolled around, anybody who’s serious about racing or being at the pointy end of the local bike groups is doing at least one group ride and probably two group rides a week, one being a longer three hour plus ride on the weekends and racing very frequently, sometimes once a week but at least once every two weeks. No matter how much you loved TR, at least until recently, you were kind of automatically going to be off the program once the weather got nice and you’re riding outside.
While it’s gotten easier to tailor TR to work with outdoor rides and group rides. But, the legacy of seeing TR as being a winter training tool only has persisted a bit in some quarters.
You made some really valid points….but I would just throw a word of caution out here. It can be very easy to don the rose-colored glasses when looking back at earlier years when you had great success / improvements and think “I need to do that again because that was what created my improvements”. In reality, it is often just the big gain we often see once you start using a plan, any plan.
I’ve been lured by this temptation a few times over the years, but when I step back and look at the numbers, I realize that I am further along now then I was then.
There are, of course, potential lessons to be learned from past training regimens but just try and look at it objectively through the data when possible.
Yep, and I’d add this is also why legacy pricing makes sense for the TR management.
I now see it as either one trusts TR’s proposed plan (now with AT etc etc) or ends up using TR as a mere tool to control the trainer.
Goes without saying that after the first couple of years of trusting the plan, now I wouldn’t pay for the latter at the current full retail price or surely not for the entire year as I do now with the yearly subscription.
“Yes you can add Z1/2 volume to a TR plan but that’s never the same as a week that plans for both your volume and intensity.”
This would really make the difference IMO. Setting volume on your actual time availability.
As people use TR and learn what works and what doesn’t work, they start to deviate from it. As such, I would argue it has less to do with the “seriousness” of the rider, and more to do with the experience of the rider.
Someone might be “serious” but have no experience with structured training. That person will probably turn to TR as an initial source of structure. Overtime, they might start to learn what works and doesn’t work for them and become more self coached.
This is essentially what happened to me. I have found I see the most improvement from one weekday threshold or vo2 sesson, one easy spin, one tempo ride, and two long endurance rides on the weekend.
It is not because I am more serious now. It is because I am more experienced.
It is important to decouple the training plans in TR from the rest of the software. I haven’t followed any of the TR plans for about 3 seasons now after beginning to work with a coach one on one. For me it was the right time for that move and in hindsight has helped me get to a whole different level as an athlete. To me the training plans in TR are a small part of what the software offers.
That being said, I still really value the TR platform and use it all the time. I import the workouts my coach posts in TP. I often substitute TR workouts that are very similar to what my coach wants me working on. TrainNow is helpful here, but just going through the workout library with filters for what I’m looking for has pulled up a ton of interesting options. I use the Calendar all the time to review things and also move things around.
I also think AI FTP detection is an incredibly useful feature. I do a lot of work outside of TR (both Outdoors but all I do use other indoor training apps at times like Wahoo SYSM) and being able to analyze all of this and come up with an FTP has been a great tool. WKO5 has been wildly inaccurate with my FTP as it seems to rely on very specific efforts to detect FTP, while TR seems to be really nailing it for me.
The missing piece for me, and many others, right now is that Progression Levels only take TR workouts into account. Once this hurdle is crossed the software will be even more useful.
^This. I would commute and ride on weekends for fun. Then I found out that crits are a thing, so I wanted to get “serious” (competitive). Figuring out how to structure training on your own is daunting (because no experience). TR has a variety of plans that are very user friendly and easy to create / follow. Six months in, I still have no clue what works best for me (still minimal experience), but I’m getting a feel for it, and after another few rounds of experimenting, I have no doubt I’ll start having stronger opinions about what feels right or works best for me.
For me, gaining that knowledge/experience with structured training was the biggest draw of TR.
I fairly strictly followed TR plans from cat 4 to cat 1 on the road as a mid to late 30’s rider. I don’t know if that qualifies me as serious or not, but I had pretty consistent results following their plans
That said - even following the plans I took a fair bit of responsibility for timing of workouts within a day or week - when to skip a session, etc.
I’ve since moved to modifying the stock plans or creating my own progressions - primarily due to my (hopefully) ever improving understanding of my physiology and secondarily due to my love of experimentation. Currently am using a TR mid-volume polarized plan as a foundation for my training, and generally allowing AT to modify the hard days, while self-selecting and modifying the endurance days based on time available
I would think Trainer Road IS for serious amateurs ,probably more so than beginner athletes or weekend warriors.
There are many people on here like me ; they have been riding/training for many years, they race or compete in sportives on or off road. They may have dabbled with having a coach on and off in the past ,but programmes such as TR /My Mottiv/CTS etc offer pretty much everything a coach can.
Pro athletes have their own Team support which includes coaching etc, but I had a feeling Ivy , Hannah and Keegan may do some TR sessions?
I think they use TrainerRoad for trainer days when the weather is crap outside.
What @voldemort said
My exact thoughts also, I find myself periodically making adjustments to upcoming workouts. Either because life is busy or I want to have a different progression in a certain energy system other than what AT has picked for me. Nothing against TrainerRoad, my life can be busy like most of us and sometimes even if I passed a workout. I might not like how well I did mentally, so I either do the same workout or something similar.
The other end I’ll swap for longer intervals to get a better TTE workout from what is offered. Haven’t failed a workout since last year my ftp hasn’t moved much but I’m confident in AI ftp giving me a good number. My tte is the best it’s ever been In 3 years.
I want to jump in and clarify a few things, particularly on two points.
~TR is great for beginners, but experienced racers self-coach or pay for a coach
TR can help you get faster if you’re brand new to the sport or if you’re training and racing at a very high level. There are athletes around the world (over 150 countries) using TR to accomplish a wide variety of goals across the entire spectrum of experience level.
~As you start to learn what works and what doesn’t, you deviate from TR
This seems to be a narrative amongst a relatively small group, particularly present here on the forum. The forum is certainly not immune to echo chamber dynamics that magnify the perspectives of few. Just something to keep in mind with the very small number of contributors here on the forum vs. the huge number of athletes that use TR for a variety of goals around the world.
TR is designed to provide guidance, autonomy, and flexibility to achieve customization to training. Depending on your situation as an athlete, some extra steps beyond AT can be taken too (adjusting plan volume, workout alternates, adding extra endurance, adjusting recovery strategy, etc.). Education in our ecosystem (podcast, youtube, blog, forum) can be great resources to use in conjunction with our tools to stay on track toward your goals.
AT’s abilities to handle these adjustments at a super deep level is exactly where we’ve focused our product attention. Supporting Progression Level changes for unstructured riding, an easier way to know your FTP changes, and adjusting training in accordance with unplanned training. All stuff in the works that will continue to help give you the right workout at the right time.
However I still have some reservations specifically on the use of TR’s plans by more experienced users.
To make a concrete example (but others could be made): sustained build high volume.
Weekly average volume is 10 hour max so hard really to consider high volume especially if one can also ride outdoor.
Also as someone said in this post it’s different to just tuck in Z2 to TR’s workouts than actually planning workouts based on actual time available.
The key issue I would have however is with the overall structure of the plan consisting of 2x Vo2 workouts + a threshold workout and to round off a sweet spot workout each week.
I know this has been heavily debated (see Dylan post) however I have the feeling that AT is now seen and or marketed as the response for everything.
However all AT does is pick a similar workout targeting the same zone but just easier or harder.
I’m not sure how train now would play a role in this as it should provide training suggestions on a particular day so not really a tool to use for a training calendar which is taken care of by AT and the baseline plans.
Finally, there’s a question on what is intended with many high level riders use TR. they might use the platform but do they stick to such weekly structure and workouts or they cherry pick workouts (an updated workout creator on mobile would also be nice) to build their own plan?
it’s interesting you mention sustained power, because I was looking at that yesterday out of curiosity. As it stands right now, this is the version of the plan I’d get prior to adaptive training changes along the way
I there are a couple of schools of thought regarding how intense sweet spot is, but in context of doing threshold and a couple of vo2 sessions, it seems pretty intense to me, and I have done a 1x90min at 90% in the past few weeks. Yes, if things get intense, adaptive training can help scale back, but rather than progressive overload, which is how a lot of plans are designed, is it possible there’s actually regressive overload? I can’t answer that, of course. I used adaptive training starting at the early release and for my usage I don’t have anything negative to say. I’ve made my own substitutions to stock plans with adaptive training, but at the moment it’s easier for me to just build out my own blocks with TR workouts outside of plan builder, and I can build my progressions more/less aggressively and such.
In the interests of giving greater balance and context to what I’ve said here and other places-
There is also a cost element to this.
If I was (not even that much more) wealthier- I would definitely keep TR all the time even if I didn’t do another TR workout again.
The software is awesome. The analytics page is awesome. The ERG mode is insanely smooth V other ways of using it. Etc etc
Sadly that’s not where I’m at. I can afford 2 of the big 5 as it were.
Strava- I use for maps and segments. Two things TR doesn’t replicate.
Zwift- I see as a place. It’s not even training software to me, it’s a (as someone said in another thread) “metaverse” where I can laugh with friends on group rides, race, session hill repeats, ride endurance etc etc.
Which leaves Training Peaks and then TR or Systm as not quite offering enough value for where I am right now to get my cash.
I have heard of some things TR are planning that might well tempt me back. I love the idea of being able to model different training plan options and seeing where you might then land via an FTP prediction for example.
Or if they introduced tiered pricing
So perhaps caveat what I’ve said with …on a budget
Which heck- might even exclude me from being a serious enough amateur to comment at all
I would be surprised if we see this. So many of us modify the plans, miss workouts, go on vacation, add in a long weekend ride, do a race or fondo, etc. It seems like the predicted FTP would be negated almost as soon as you start the plan.
I used TR’s AT when it first came out, but I haven’t been a subscriber for a while. One thing that bothered me about the AT was when it got too hard and I was marking like 3 workouts in a row very hard, it just kept giving slightly lower versions. What I really needed was a couple of days off (in retrospect).
Does the current version of AT start giving you days off to replace hard sessions, or even easy days to replace hard sessions when you clearly indicate you are fatigued and not recovering well?
Sorry missed that. That’s too bad, because this was a big part of why I haven’t returned. I’m not sure if I consider myself a ‘serious cyclist’, but I’ve definitely been around a while and consider myself an experienced cyclist.
I’m probably like a lot of folks, where if it’s on the plan, I try and do it - even if I think it may be a bad idea. When I’ve designed my own plans, I’ve definitely had better judgment when choosing to rest or do a hard session. This is where a real coach trumps both- assuming they are good, they will know when to push things or dial back and rest.
So, maybe its that a lot folks who are experienced riders don’t use TR because of difficulties adhering to the plan, due to; not enough rest built in, not accounting for higher volume outside rides coupled with the TR workouts, ad hoc group rides being factored in, etc.
So TR works for me in a ‘lab setting’ but not my reality of cycling that actually happens!