Training plan for outside workouts

I’ve been following TR plans for the last 3 years and have even dabbled some before that. I have had great success in getting my FTP up from 226 to 262 using the low volume plans. Living in Sweden means I do all my riding in late fall, winter and early spring indoors using TR.

Like it has been mentioned on the podcast I am one of those athletes that has shifted from structured training and gotten slower or just maintained during the summer months. My main reason has not been because I do group rides or otherwise, rather I just find I really enjoy longer z2 rides and the TR workouts in my build and specialty plans are too complicated for outdoor riding. I have an A event coming up but I can’t bring myself to do the TR build and specialty workouts out on the road. 30/30s or VO2 float sets are crazy hard for me to do outside due to the undulating terrain around plus traffic and sharp turns on narrow country roads. I can easily do 5x8min threshold or 4x4 VO2max workouts outdoors but with the short stuff I just feel like my eyeballs are glued to my Garmin and that doesn’t feel safe.

I did put a mid volume polarized plan on my calendar because of the z2 rides and that they use longer intervals than the other plans. I’ve really enjoyed doing the polarized plan outside but I would get bored to death doing it inside in the winter.

So questions/suggestions:
Am I not going to be as ready as I could be for my A event in following a polarized plan because there is not enough specificity in the those plans (as far as I can see they are just base plans)?

Maybe a solution to the summer subscription cancelation problems or the abandonment of structure during the summer could be curbed a little with specific outside plans that are safer (i.e. less complex interval structures) but still maintain an element of specificity.

Could I just put a LV plan builder plan on my calendar and just manually switch to alternate workouts of a similar level but with less complicated interval structures? And just tack on the extra z2 work that I enjoy during the summer?

Anecdote:
I did just discover that you can go back an interval step on your Garmin if you miss the start of an interval or accidently hit the “lap” button in the middle of it. This is going to be a game changer for me as I have quit workouts in a frustrated mess because I accidently hit “lap” instead of “start/stop.”

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Amazing work, so stoked to hear this!

It depends on what your goal event is. If your goal event requires high levels of repeatability, or if your goal event requires long, steady intervals, then you may be lacking a bit of specificity come race day. For you, being well prepared for a Rolling Road Race as your A, B, and C events you have on your calendar, you’ll want to examine the potential demands of those specific event and ask yourself if the high-intensity workouts closely align based upon the length of the climbs, the amount of time between them, etc. If the workouts don’t align with those demands, you should feel free to exercise some agency in selecting high-intensity workouts that better align with that race structure.

I want to use this as an opportunity to clear up some confusion about under what circumstances its super important to stick to the format of a workout with a high degree of compliance, and when its okay to be flexible and extend rest, if it means you can get the work interval done. Some workouts require you to be strict in the timing of the efforts, others not so much.It scales differently based upon the work, and this should help differentiate when there needs to be rigidity in the workout, or when you can make loose changes if needed.

  • Endurance/Tempo: Accumulating time without interruption at a specific intensity is a key tenet of prescribed Endurance and Tempo work, so if the interruptions you are experiencing are frequent, either restart the interval when circumstances allow you to be consistent, or just loosely keep track of time lost from interruptions and add them on to the end of the interval.
  • Sweet Spot and Threshold: These systems rely upon accumulation to achieve the intended goals of the workout, so brief interruptions are okay, but if they grow in frequency throughout the workout, you may be missing the intended gains of the work.
  • VO2max: VO2max intervals generally aim to increase the time you spend at peak aerobic uptake, and this is accomplished in relatively short intervals. Since these intervals are so short, and since rest has such a big impact on resetting your time at peak aerobic uptake, you’ll want to stick to the assigned work/rest time pretty firmly.
    This also applies with slightly less severity to rest between intervals, so if you need to take more time between sets to get to a good spot, thats okay.
  • Anaerobic and Sprint: These intervals are very short and specific, so sticking to the structure is key.

Those higher intensity workouts you’re doing as part of a Polarized plan will be crucial to follow, and alternates will most often show a very similar work-to-rest structure in order to meet those requirements and goals identified above.
That said, I dont think the question for you should be ‘how should I adjust my plan’, instead can be ‘how can I make the riding space I occupy safely work for me with the intervals I need to do’.

I think a big misconception for outside workout is that you should be monitoring your head unit every second of the interval, which takes work to learn not to do! It may be as simple as making a concerted effort to not ‘start at the computer’, and instead just glance down at the timer briefly every 5ish seconds for those shorter ones to make sure you’re meeting target power and to check-in about how much time you have left.
Using the lap key that you mentioned will definitely help, but I challenge you to apply some of the principals in ‘Tips For Safe Outside Workouts - TrainerRoad Blog’ as well for your next couple outside workouts, and see if it makes a difference for you!

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fwiw, I’m 12 weeks into the Polarized base/build blocks and I feel incredible on the bike right now. My FTP is up 6% and I’m feeling super comfortable on longer ~4hr endurance rides with plenty in the tank at the end and strong on shorter, punchier workouts.

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Thanks for the very informative and helpful reply Ivy. I used the “don’t just stare at the head unit” tip to great effect today on my 4x8min threshold intervals. They we actually smoother when I just rode by feel after I had checked in on my power now and again. I also chose better roads to do them on.

After posting and thinking about my questions for a couple of days I’ve come to the conclusion that the plan I should be on is the plan I enjoy the most. Right now I’m enjoying the extra volume and the change of pace that the polarized plan gives me. I’m going to be in good shape come my A event and that’s what I’m going for. Specificity is always going to be the icing on the cake for me I think. For me it’s 75% about the training process and 25% about the events on my calendar.

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Awesome to hear! That’s what I’m going for. On the normal plans I’ve always felt I was amazing for like 2.5 hours but the longer stuff always broke me. I hope to build out that longer endurance with he polarized plan.

This is amazing to hear, and you’re absolutely right, you *knocked it out of the PARK today on Naomi!!!
Holding power perfectly steady is nearly impossible, and you were truly very close. Seeing those clearly defined ‘blocks’ of work in your power profile is the compliance we’re looking for.

KEEP CRUSHING IT! So stoked.