2022 was my first year using TR. Like all tools I don’t think I fully understood what I was doing, so I thought a thread about what people learned, mistakes and all, would be helpful for new and experienced users. I can think of three things I wish I knew last year at this time
You need to schedule mid-season breaks into Plan Builder. I thought TR would take care of scheduling adequate rest periods, but I found the rest weeks were still too much to recharge the batteries by mid summer. I planned a late May and early August breaks.
Switching bikes can be tricky. I trained mostly on the road bike early and then switched to the TT bike around May. My FTP on the TT bike is about 15 watts lower than the road bike, so sweat spot efforts were turned into threshold efforts and I did threshold efforts on an uphill grade to try and hold the wattage target. AI FTP detection started to drop my FTP after six weeks, but that is too late. If I switch bikes again this year, I will ramp test the new bike and start with the revised FTP.
So any suggestions on what I might do differently or better would be useful and feel free to add other things that would help newer users like myself.
Last year I did the LV plan + 10-12 hours of outdoor riding per week. I think this year I might drop 1 of the 3 TR workouts (SS) to keep me a little fresher. I found an hr of SS on the trainer to be more mentally taxing than a three hour outdoor ride. Either that, or I will just try and incorporate the SS workout in an outdoor ride.
After really enjoying a consistent mid volume couple of years, restrictions lifted means at least 2 days a week in the office, which meant mid volume was a bit more problematic (I generally dropped the moderate for an outdoor group ride/ race/ solo ride depending on restrictions and weather!). Also change in family schedule means less time pre-work. So this year I’ve gone low volume, plus the weekend spin and 1 commute (16km each way).
I actually enjoyed the off season running, so I may keep a couple of runs going until run niggles p*ss me off!
I learned … that TrainerRoad isn’t for me. Sorry, I couldn’t resist, but I feel it’s also important to say it since others may feel the same way - and that’s okay. But they’re still a company I’m watching, and I’m still here on the forum.
I will echo taking breaks though. I took a month off and it was just what I needed.
Mine is a bit different but just need to complain. I learned to just stick with TR and trust the process. I get so in my head about what platform is the best that I never actually stick to one. Bounced around from TR to Zwift to Dylan Johnson’s plan to Wahoo because I thought one offered more than the other.
My big lesson learned is just be consistent with TR this year. So that is my plan.
A few months back I dropped the intensity level of the middle workout for an endurance one. I was relatively flying in 2020 and 2021; 2022 just seems to have be a slow decline for me. Touch wood dropping intensity is working but it could be a case that now things a getting more normal I’m riding with groups more
I hear you @ryanmc06 . I just tried zwift this week. Man, I hate it! All the damn chats bouncing around (which I can’t read due to not wearing glasses), trying use my laptop to grab a powerup, and then there’s a companion app you run on another device. It’s just too much. Frankly, it was relaxing to fire up TR this morning and watch some TV while knocking out an endurance ride.
I agree with your comments there. A number of years of using TR. 2022 was likely my best year for consistent improvement. I did low volume, maintained two workouts a week(inside), typically vo2 and threshold were what was scheduled, and did 2 endurance workouts(either inside or out). I would mix in sweet spot from time to time. If I have a build phase I limit it to 2 weeks workouts, 1 week endurance, rinse and repeat. I focus on staying fresh.
Late season is not a time to begin structured training. I find that I feel burned out towards the end of the year even if I take a mid-season break. Over the past two years, I took a week long mid-season break to “refresh” as I wanted to make more gains during the second half of the season, but that strategy never worked. I just get burned out by intensity. It is only after a two-week break from biking and any other form of physical activity, I feel motivated to train.
Strength training shouldn’t be neglected. While I did strength train last year, it was nowhere near enough to satisfy trainerroad’s strength requirements. As a result, I believe that I wasn’t able to push through my plateau due to strength being a limiter for me. This year I bought some weight plates, which should strengthen my legs!
Liquid calories: Although not TR specific I still want to share this: I found it difficult to fuel on long rides as I had a hard time eating anything solid approximately 2 hours into a ride as I would gag. I was able to find dextrose powder in my local health store and now I mix 2-3 scoops of it (which amounts to 60-90g of carbohydrates per hour) and it made a huge difference for me!