When to test the gains in the real world. (Not racing)

I started using trainerroad to improve my fitness and see how much stronger(faster) I can get on the bike.
Not for racing but just for the fun rides I do by myself.
I first started with 4 weeks of general build and then started using planbuilder.
I’m now starting my 3rd week of SSB1 mid. vol.

I’m not training for any event but I like to go all out on a fun ride (sloppy in all the zones) from time to time.
I used to do all out rides about once a week but that put me on a plateau so I know that’s probably not a good idea.

But what would be a good time to do such a ride ?
Also can I sprinkle in a couple of all out shorts sprints during this part of the training ?
And yes what would be the best training ride to do so (Z2/Tempo) ?

Do it whenever you want to. There’s no real need to wait until your rested or saving yourself for workouts. Doing workouts and rides tired also helps you get faster too

Sure add sprints. Why not?

Usually for me - I use certain Strava segments to test my fitness. Short climbs or some such. It’s just easier to compare vs a full ride where I’m just coasting at times or just mentally checked out for a bit cause I want to be.

Leo the nice thing with strava segments too is that you don’t need a group to ride with to “test” your own fitness.

Good luck


Since Covid meant cancelled or deferred events I’ve opted to do outside rides. A couple of 1 hour rides flat out, a recovery ride for an hour and a 4-6 hr ride on a Sunday hitting all the zones.

Riding in all this sunshine has been a real treat here in the UK and made all the more enjoyable with my improved fitness from a winter of TrainerRoad. I ride mostly for pleasure but I still want to become faster, stronger with better endurance .

I’ve a power meter due for delivery this week which will add more structure and I’m toying with the idea of a wahoo or 530 to replace my old and reliable 800 so I can do outside workouts and add more structure. However as I’m 53 I’m conscious of balancing workload, recovery and enjoyment so I’ll be looking at a balanced approach where I can still ride with mates but also improve the three core metrics.

As for gains, I’m looking forward to my outside FTP test, route recce’d, but I can’t remember a time when I’ve enjoyed my cycling more, which to me is the real measure of improvement.


I do a good portion of my TR training outdoor as well.
The outdoor option was one of the main reasons to switch form zwift to TR.
(Manually putting the zwift workouts in the garmin was a hassle.)

Me calling my non targeted rides “fun rides” might be a little misleading because I also have fun training.
But this question was more about when to do some “benchmarking” outside of the FTP test with least negative impact on the structured training plan.

I think a good time to push it is at the end of the week or before a rest day and the beginning of the next planned week. I say this as I generally have followed the whole fatigue dependent training plan model where you basically do the most explosive power early week and progress to longer or less powerful intervals as you fatigue through the week.

Not sure if this is the right way but regarding your second question “can I sprinkle in some short sprints…”: If the end of week is a traditional Monday start the end of the week is the week end and those are group rides which turn into a lot of accelerations to cover moves/wheels so as to not get dropped. Sometimes they culminate in sprint points either mid way, top of a climb, or at the end. Either way a 3 hour ride looks very much like a traditional road race or even more stressful. As long as I have a rest day or two after to start the next week powerful I feel it’s really good training for me as I am extrinsically motivated. If more intrinsically motivated perhaps this is a bad approach.

I’m not sure how to respond to the last part of your question about “what is the best training ride to do so (Z2/tempo)”: If I’m understanding it correctly the group ride situation ^^^ is pretty much tempo with efforts. So, yeah long Z2/tempo ride or group rides if you can do the efforts away from the group or a group ride that is more a race.

I like to test my gains in non-racing environments, too. As a 58-yr old rider with slightly above average genetic gifts, I have zero hope in a real race. But, gran fondos and hard group rides are fair game.

This year, I set up Plan Builder and plugged in group rides every 3-4 weeks as B or C “races”. This worked like a charm for me, on two fronts.

One, of course, it adjusts your program to set up optimal training conditions for these “tests”. Two - perhaps more importantly - this setup really encouraged me to take it easy on the group rides in between. This prevented burn out, and also kept my more competitive buddies from always knowing what I had in the tank. So, I was able to couple training peaks with some elements of surprise… it’s been really fun.

This is what a training week looks like for me at the moment:

I’m trying to stick to this plan as good as possible.
Sometimes dropping the Saturday training for a XC mountainbike ride.
But not going all out with the fear of not being able to properly do my training the next day, week or even block.

Am I too careful with this and should I just try it and see what my body can handle ?
Maybe missing one workout as a result but gaining some knowledge.
( I’m 35 years old by the way.)

With regards to the full power sprinting.
I never do group rides, just following this training plan (riding alone).
So the best time to do them in my case would be during the sunday training I guess ?