I’m preparing for a 3-day gravel bike trip in 3 weeks, so after riding 50 miles on Sat. plus 35 miles on Sunday, I pushed myself to ride a third day this morning. For a 90-minute ride, I expected (hoped) TrainNow would prescribe an Endurance ride since my legs were heavy, but much to my surprise it said Byers Peak, a 4x12 min mixture Sweet Spot and Threshold intervals was recommended. Needless to say, I struggled and by the end of the second 12-minute chunk, my cadence was dropping below 60 and my Tacx trainer tool pity on me of let my power drop below the set point. My heart rate stayed around 140 and I wasn’t breathing excessively, just no power left in the tired legs. Is this an edge case for the TrainNow ML team?
TrainNow doesn’t factor fatigue, and to this point, probably doesn’t fully analyze an unstructured outside ride as well as it would an indoor “workout” that has an associated progression level within each energy system. So it probably assumed your Saturday and Sunday rides were unstructured, and as such, it recommended adding some targeted Threshold work. You always have the option to follow your gut/heart/legs and choose a recovery ride…
I misread the title as “Train now surprise me!” which I took as a feature request… for a google-style “I’m feeling lucky!” workout selection. Man, that would be a riot. Imagine TR staff trolling the entire userbase with Disaster randomly once per year.
How did you rate your rides in your survey?
I’m pretty sure TrainNow is doing some decent analysis of unstructured outside rides. As over the summer most of my intensity has come from outdoor rides, a lot of them unstructured (races and group training rides) and TrainNow has consistently been recommending Endurance rides even when there hasn’t been any structured intensity in the previous week.
And then last week I took as recovery and kept all my riding at mostly Z1-2. Opened up TrainNow yesterday for a 1 hour post-work ride, and sure enough it recommended a Threshold workout.
So I would guess that @tomkweb 's 2 weekend rides were mostly endurance efforts and the fatigue just came from doing longish (especially if on gravel) rides 3 days in a row, rather than from a bunch of intensity. Which I can sympathise with - I did a disciplined 3 hour ride keeping power towards the top of Z2 a few weeks ago, and even though it never felt hard and I fuelled it well, that left me with heavy legs for a few days. Z2 isn’t easy if done properly and for long enough!
@tomkweb if you want more options from TrainNow you can check it on another platform. For instance, if I check TrainNow on my phone it gives me different recommendations than if I check TrainNow on my laptop. So if ever you’re a little skeptical about what TrainNow suggests, try another platform for more options.
For instance, I happen to have a few computers in front of me right now…on one TrainNow recommends Lola -2…and…on another one…TrainNow recommends Lamarck. So if you don’t like the TrainNow rec, poke around a little bit. It will give you another rec.
That different set of alternatives is not really about platform differences. It is just a of the semi-random nature of the way TN pulls from the library within the filters it applies based on the black box review of the rider’s recent history.
Just hit the refresh button on each of those platforms and you will likely run into the same workouts you see on another platform.
ETA: Link to related comments from TR that cover the variability in the TN results:
I’m surprised if you were tired that you put your workout choice down to an app. I’m not being condescending here. But surely if you are tired you can just go through the workouts and manually select one after applying filters?
Agree. You can also just refresh the list of suggested workouts from TrainNow. You definitely need to be in tune with your fatigue level and be okay with being the final voice over app suggestions.
Good question here!
TrainNow recommends workouts based on your recent TrainerRoad workouts and non-structured indoor/outdoor riding. It’s important to note, though, that while TrainNow will look at your most recent workouts when making a recommendation, it does not consider periodization, fatigue, or other factors.
For instance, it will not recognize if you need a recovery week. If you are looking for that type of structure and periodization, we recommend using a training plan.
Your weekend rides, although long, didn’t have super high Intensity Factors which is likely why TrainNow thought you were ready for another Threshold workout.
Given all of this information, moving forward, don’t be afraid to pick the workout that feels the best fit for you at the time over what’s being recommended. It is important to do hard workouts in order to get faster, but it’s equally important to feel things out and dial back a bit if you’re not feeling up for a really hard ride. It sounds like you had this intuition initially, which is great! Trust yourself, and don’t be afraid to go with that gut feeling next time.
I’d also like to encourage you to make sure you’re getting recovery weeks in as well, as they are a critical part of allowing your body to rest and produce adaptations. I think you could definitely benefit from putting that gravel trip on your calendar and using Plan Builder to flesh out the next few weeks.
It looks like you’re riding 3-4 days a week most weeks, so a low or mid-volume plan would work well for you. You can always take your workout outside or simply replace it with an outside ride that’s fitting if you’d like (don’t worry about skipping workouts!).
The plan that we build for you will help to avoid this issue you’re describing moving forward, as well as schedule those recovery weeks when they’re needed and prime you for your event the best way possible, all at the same time!
I appreciate everyone’s feedback and advice! I’ve been thinking of TrainNow as my COACH and doing what it says without argument! I should have considered that a human coach would have asked and listened to my feedback and prescribed an appropriate workout, likely close to my intuition. And a human coach would have a long-term plan. So, going forward, I’ll put my gravel trip on the calendar and use Plan Builder, and if I use TrainNow, override if needed.
And if you’re following a plan there’s workout alternates as Ivy has pointed out frequently on the podcast.
Jolyzara, I think you’re on to something! Here’s a look at my recent workouts and the two long outdoor weekend rides had Response = “Missing Response”. Could that have contributed to TrainNow crushing me on the third day? The strange thing is ALL of the previous outdoor rides have Response = “Success”. For Outdoor rides, my Garmin uploads automatically when I finish. I never log into TR afterwards and enter a Response, so I don’t know why the last two rides say “Missing Response”.
I don’t know the secret formula… But that’s what I was thinking. Usually when I mark something hard I’ll have endurance the next day. If a few “easy” responses it usually suggest some quality. (But not always).
Eddie, I just added this event Training Plan to my calendar. My gravel bike trip will last three days with ~45 miles/day, so I entered an A Race on day 1 and B races for days 2 & 3. Carrying the extra gear will probably result in 4 -5 hours of saddle time per day. So I think I need to replace the Plan Builder recommended Sat/Sun 90-minute rides with long ~4 hour rides. Or will these Training Plan rides really prepare me? What do you think?
Hey @tomkweb, What you have in place looks good. You don’t necessarily need training rides that are as long as your event. It’s all about training the right systems.
With that being said, it wouldn’t hurt anything to replace one of your longer workouts with a longer ride in the next few weeks. It’s sometimes good to get some real time in the saddle to feel things out and ensure that you’re going to be comfortable over the long haul.
It’s best to simulate that experience with less pressure and make any adjustments you may need before your event.