Tried an outdoor workout and all I did was chase power

I tried my first outdoor workout this week, which was Kaweah. I thought this would be a good one to try since it was simple - 5 x 10min intervals at FTP.

It really didn’t work out. I spent the whole time chasing the target power number and either ending up over or undershooting. I had set my Wahoo to show 20 sec avg. power but even so it was difficult to stay in the target zone.

The course I had chosen was the most flat I could make it, but I live in an area with lots of small ups and downs in the roads.

How are others approaching outdoor workouts? Did I choose the wrong workout? The wrong course? Not consistent enough on the bike?

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It can take a little bit of practice but most workouts are perfectly achievable outside.
I would use a 3 sec average for power as this will give you more time to react to any big changes in power.
Generally a hill or flat road is easier to perform intervals on, but on anything with little ups and downs you just need to use your gears more and vary the cadence.


I’ve done loads and it does take a little refinement. Course selection of key. Doesn’t matter whether it’s flat or uphill but a consistent grade for each interval is key.


Thanks. I do think the course profile didn’t help, little ups and down didn’t make it easy to hit any consistency.

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Ah interesting. I’d gone with 20 sec avg. because I thought it would smooth it a bit more. But I can see the reasoning behind 3 sec avg to not let it drift to far. Makes perfect sense.

Also, sounds like it need to work on my form :slight_smile:


I tried some long sweet spot intervals and found it manageable, but needing lots of concentration. I live in one of the flatter parts of the UK, and still had to spend time plotting the least hilly, anti-clockwise course I could. I quickly learned to back off on hills to stop overshooting on power - but found it much harder to keep the power on down even quite shallow downhills.


Doesn’t look too bad at all, OP, what was the VI for each 10min? (NP/AVG power)
If it’s 1-1.1 then it’s probably good enough to have the desired effect

The VI’s were in the range of 1 - 1.13. But if you look at the most “consistent” segment I had it’s all over the place!

My advice is don’t go chasing the number. It’s far better to look at your numbers for a few seconds and make a real mental note about the intensity. You can then go off of feel, checking back in now and again to make sure you are still in the right range.


Are you comparing it to an indoor erg mode ride, maybe even with artificial smoothing? I’d look at AvP and NP over the interval instead, and VI.

To address the point on VI. These 6x 3min intervals averaged 320NP and 311AP so VI of 1.03 which is good enough for me, especially as I tried to push harder on the last rep and faded! You are never going to replicate ERG mode outdoors.

I live in South Wales so have plenty of climbs that can do up to 20min intervals. For steady efforts I’ve recently started using the pan flat circuit of a local business park 1.2k loop.

:+1: Trying to dial in the feel of ftp is something I want to work on. What does everyone look at? Breathing? Heart rate? Something else?

When I do intervals outside, to begin with it’s just the sensation in the legs. How hard it feels at the interval range. My heart rate usually lags quite a bit in the first few intervals so I don’t go on that.

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The majority of session I do outside are endurance/ recovery sessions. I have done a few interval sessions and nailed them but they’ve all been on my TT bike. I might do today’s session outdoors on the road bike, I expect to be constantly power :joy: My legs are dead, I’ve done too many sessions but I was trying to get to the bottom of a power drop out/ spike issue, which I have done. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s rest day and a recovery week for a change :joy:

I complete a fair few outdoor workouts and find it better to look at the forest than the trees.

I do use 3 second power and don’t really try to be super precise inside of the individual intervals. There is just going to be some variance, no real avoiding it; Stop signs, hills, traffic, being safe around others, etc…

The analysis comes after the ride. Check out the NP, IF and TSS after the ride. Nine times out of ten I am right on point with those metrics.

I had the same feeling after coming out of corona quarantine and going outdoors again, which was what I was used to before anyway. Chasing power is a great way to put it, it’ll take a couple of times before it feels normal again. After that one time I decided to do all my workouts outdoor, first because I can and second because I enjoy them a lot more. Gradient changes, wind, traffic, etc make it harder so you have to figure out the right time and place to do them.

Try using Lap Average power for the interval. I typically look at Power, 3 Sec Average Power, and Lap Average. (Push lap button at the start of the interval.)

If you’re unfamiliar with pacing outdoors then that’s a pretty good start. Stick with it and you’ll see it improves a fair bit after a few weeks

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Welcome to the real world :wink:

Go a bit harder on the uphill parts where it’s easier to put consistent power to make up for the downhills.

A bit harder != 20%.