Value of TR outside workouts if this is only use of the program

Hey, I’ve been a TR user for a few years and love it. I’ve been doing it the cheapest way possible, indoor trainer, virtual power, displayed on my phone. With a new living situation, I can’t use the trainer anymore, it’s too loud.

My subscription recently ran out and I’m trying to decide if I should renew. I would only be able to do outdoor workouts by RPE, and I don’t have a head unit. I could potentially get a garmin, probably an edge 530 so it will pair well with my garmin watch, but I can’t swing a power meter.

My question is, how much value do people find in the outside workouts based on RPE, if this is all that you’re using the software for?

Thanks in advance! Love TrainerRoad, just don’t love my new apartment.

If you can get a head unit it’s probably worth it. Do you value the calendar and plan builder? To me TR is all about outside workouts, the calendar and plan builder (with my own tweeks) - but I use power. Still, RPE can be pretty useful. If you already have a sense of what threshold, SS, VO2 Max, and Anaerobic feels like RPE can lead to similar or same adaptations you’d get chasing a pretty specific power number. That’s even been discussed on the TR podcast.

I love outdoor workouts, can’t say enough about them. I won’t use the trainer again until winter.

1 Like

Not sure how you would test FTP or if you even would with RPE.

If it were me in your shoes I would rather save the money to spend on a single-side power meter than on the head unit and just use the trainerroad app on your phone until you can afford a proper head unit. Prices have come down on power meters and single-sided is all you really need. You could probably find one online for what you would pay for the Garmin 530


I use a Garmin Vivoactive 3 outside. You can push outside workouts to it. It isn’t the best situation because you can’t see the intervals, but it tells you want to do in text. Most of the stuff I’m doing outside is longish intervals anyway, so it works for me. Don’t know what your situation is for your apartment, but if you have one, could you just set up in the courtyard once a week for an hour to get FTP and the VO2 work? I’m running a similar set up as you (phone, speed/cadence sensors, fluid2 trainer).

Cool. Thanks for the replies. I did a test turbo session this morning and no one woke up, so I decided to do a month subscription and see how it goes. Next thing to figure out is if it’ll work well with my single speed bike, which I much prefer, or if I need to use my old bike with gears which I only use for towing the kid’s in their trailer.

1 Like

Virtual power depends upon wheel speed so with a single gear you may have trouble hitting higher power targets. Or have to pedal at an incredibly high cadence to hit them. To hit targets you will have to vary your cadence with a single speed which may or may not be easy to do. Having the option to change gears will allow you to select a gear and cadence that is more achievable to hit your power targets.