This is a question for UK based TR users really or anyone who lives somewhere with busy roads.
I have been using TR for the last few months and have mainly trained indoors.
Now it’s summer I don’t want to train indoors and want to keep doing TR workouts but I find it hard to stick to prescribed training zones on the road within complex/fiddly parameters. The roads are just too busy/potholed/twisty etc to be referring to a PM like you can on the turbo.
What do you all do?
I just try to be a bit more relaxed if I have to brake, come to a junction etc. and resume the interval as soon as I can (disclaimer: I’m training for personal fitness, not competition). I’ve recently moved over to Belgium and the roads are even worse here, including the usual compliment of arsehole drivers. What I have managed to do is find a loop within a sensible warm up distance to do threshold and sweet spot work. For vo2 max, I would still usually suck it up and do the interval indoors.
Choose your route carefully. If you don’t have roads that are well suited to certain efforts then either find some that are or do something different.
I’m quite lucky that I have miles of flatlands to the east and typically English rolling hills to the south/west.
I usually try to find long segments on Strava as you can see where other people ride and make routes accordingly. Wisdom of the crowd and all that
I don’t do them outside! My part of the world is far too hilly, or busy.
If it’s nice and I want to be outside instead of on the turbo I try to replicate something similar be it sprints or steady efforts.
How strict do you need to be. Are you training for anything in particular or just to be a better cyclist? If its the latter, like myself. Then just substitute the days TR for an outside ride of your pleasing.
I managed to hit my best FTP last year during lockdown by non-structured, outdoor rides alone. This year I’m trying to rigidly stick to the TR LV plans and just sprinkle in outdoor rides around it. See where that gets me.
I live in South Wales so have a mixture of flat/rolling roads and hills (up to 10 minutes) within a few kms of the house. I do about 80% of my TR sessions outdoors at the moment. These are my thoughts:
Use quiet roads with few/no junctions, crossings, traffic to limit the external influences.
Use hills repeats for shorter efforts (<5mins).
Have you got any quiet loops such as a business park during the evening?
The more sessions you do the more in tune you will feel with your power output and the less you will need to look at your head unit.
The other way is to try the FasCat style ‘SST rides’…
Have a look at the TSS target for the ride and general objectives eg tempo or SST or threshold intervals. Then ride your route and keep TSS displayed on your bike computer. The aim is to accumulate the target TSS by riding broadly in line with the goals eg as much time in SST as you can along with some z2 or z4 etc to accumulate the target TSS.
These are a pretty good approximation and makes it fun to ride and allows you to adapt to your conditions. It’s not precise but works pretty well.
I live in London and do workouts outdoors as the weather gets warmer.
Don’t look at avg lap watts - just focus on the current avg 3/5 sec watts - because the fact is you WILL brake, especially with longer SS workouts and this will drive the overall avg lap watts down but DONT try to push harder to bring that number up.
Hill Repeats and V02max workouts = find a hill, I actually find it easier to put the power down outside rather than inside.
TR workouts are designed to capture your attention indoors - You can always simplify and interpret workouts to suit the outdoors / your environment.
It may not be perfect but if it helps with consistency by making cycling/training more enjoyable don’t worry too much about hitting the exact marks when cycling outdoors. Enjoy the outdoors while you can so you can be consistent through next winter!
Don’t overthink it @TTVegetable if you do you’ll never train. Just do research of the roads where you are, sometimes it would help to drive to a quieter location. I use RideWithGPS as a elevation and road direction changes are, or as long as your output data is the relatively the same as required in the areas that the plan dictates from you than it is a success.
yep, I’ve been hitting the turbo all winter and I like TR so want to keep the structure up , but outdoors.
I don’t use a TR plan any more, but my interval sessions are largely outside.
I have a couple of long, straight, flat ish B roads with minimal junctions over about a 15km run near me, and I often use those. I have also used the A41, though that can get hairy…
I’ve tried in vain to find good roads for intervals, but most are too up and down, or have too many stops. So most intervals I just do indoors, and just ride as much as possible outside otherwise (I’m not doing a TR plan).
If you have a TT course near you, they should be reasonably flat and not have any lights or other definite stops on them, so should be good for longer intervals.
I was doing my outdoor work outs in Scotland and now Peterborough (UK). I pick my routes so the busiest bit is in the warm up or delay starting the work out until I’m on quieter roads. I tend to ride them at a lower intensity too to keep my eyes on the roads and if I’m not happy back off altogether, no one is forcing me to ride right to the edge.
It’s the longer intervals (I’m on one of the polarised plans and some of the workouts have 16mins at threshold) that are hardest to fit in to a ride. The short VO2max ones aren’t too bad, just find a local quiet road with 800-1000m of uninterrupted riding and you’ll be good. I did Brando today which was 6x2mins @120% there’s a long hill about 1km from home that’s perfect for it as the bottom section is maybe 3% grade and you can put the hammer down.
You need to know whether the intervals are automatic, tends to be the sub five minute ones, or you need to press the lap button to advance them as with the longer threshold ones.
My Garmin has a Power target screen, just keep the arrow in the centre green section and things are good, no need to check figures, etc.
Agree with not focusing on Avg interval Watts, but instead aiming for correct target power over 3-5 secs.
For me, the problem isn’t so much braking as going downhill … I can moderate my power to stay at sweet spot on the level or going uphill, but it’s hard to keep on target going down a gradual slope (and the potholes, drain covers etc don’t help…)
I have a loop I use for circa 20min SS intervals, and I just accept that there a couple of spots where I simply have to back off for a few seconds.
Depending on where you live, I’ve found either some quieter B roads ina loop or an industrial estate out of business hours are both good for training on
+1 for researching the route. I try to use the recovery week rides to do some exploring and try to get an idea of routes for longer segments.
I do the VO2 intervals indoors as I don’t want to be backing off during short intervals.
Living in Suffolk means there’s lots of flat roads, but even with this finding somewhere to do 20 minutes at threshold can be hard. I’ve learned not to sweat being off on power and having to freewheel or brake during an interval.
I think one of the possible trade-offs is going up and down the same 8-9km stretch of road 3-4 times vs a circular loop.
Definitely agree with @steveking on the descents front, though. On the longer z2 rides I try to avoid routes with double digit climbs, and on the intervals, I try to avoid going down those type of hills.
If you have spare cash and I mean a lot of spare cash, you could always invest in one of these