Where am I at physically?

Hi all,

Relatively new to the cycling world, been keen for rugby/athletics/weight training. However, the past year or so I’ve got into endurance/aerobic training and since Christmas I’ve gradually started cycling indoors.

I’m 22 and tonight I done a 40k TT on my turbo trainer along with Wahoo sensors and HR monitor. I know my time may not be accurate being on a turbo trainer however I wanted a rough estimate or where I’m at.

Here are the stats:
Time - 58.11
Avg speed - 25.6 mph
Avg. cadence - 90rpm
Avg. HR - 129bpm

Started off slower and pushed harder towards the end (HR got up-to 158bpm)

Cut a long story short, I’m writing on here as I don’t really have a plan or know where I stand/my current level of fitness/how I should be training from here on out. I want the internet to educate me so I can better myself, I’m not trying to “big up” myself or anything like this, purely want educated on fitness/training techniques

On a side note; when running I can easily get my heart up-to 158bpm no problem (relative effort is around 6) However, on the bike my relative effort is much greater (feels more like a 8/9 to get to 158bpm) is this purely because my legs just aren’t used to the new sensation of cycling or could anyone shine some light on this also?

Thanks to everyone in advance.

Are you sure you got the average heart rate right? Because if your average heart rate was 129 and your threshold (≠max) heart rate is >160 bpm, you were nowhere near your aerobic potential. That’d mean the data you gave us so far is not indicative of your 40k TT performance. Since you only give use RPEs, I assume you don’t have a power meter correct? Otherwise, please give us the average power for the test.

There’s no way to know where you are without power. Speed is meaningless on a trainer. On low resistance anyone can ride 25mph.


I guess it’s easier for you to raise your HR whilst running because the heart is having to work harder. Running requires you to use more of your body, hence the heart has more work to do. Cycling is, by its very nature, done sitting down and supported.

As others have mentioned, power numbers will be needed to offer any meaningful advice.

Correct, I don’t have a power meter. The ride did feel relatively easy any pain was from my legs rather than difficulty breathing. The heart rate monitor is the polar h10, I think it has been quite accurate so far.

As others are saying maybe my heart rate is not easily compatible to my speed as I don’t have a power meter?

Thanks for the feedback all.

Any advice on the easiest/cheapest way to gain power data? Or do I need to spend big bucks on a new turbo trainer?

I had the same heart rate difference when I started cycling too. It will gradually even out over time but even so my RPE is much higher for the same heart rate when cycling.

You can get virtual power from your existing sensors if paired with a TR account. Assuming your trainer is listed here - VirtualPower - Training without a Power Meter - TrainerRoad

It won’t necessarily be accurate power when compared to a power meter. But if you set your trainer up consistently (same tire pressure etc) then virtual power should also be fairly consistent which is all that you need to train and measure improvement. I.e. 200W one day is the same as 200W the next day, even if a different trainer/PM would record it as 180W or 220W.

If you are serious about improving, a power meter is a very sound investment IMO. Ideally, you’d have an on-bike meter (a power crank is going to be the simplest and cheapest) matched with a smart trainer, but the power meter on its own on a dumb trainer will be a lot better than nothing.

PS - a genuine 40k TT should be truly, truly awful, if it was a flat out effort. I haven’t done one competitively for over 15 years, but the old advice used to be ‘It should feel like work for 10k, like hard work for the next 10k, really hard work for the next, and the last 10 should be hanging on for grim death’

Hi and welcome!

As others have said, it’s hard to gauge your cycling fitness from those stats - have you got some outdoor rides on Strava (for example) you can link?

While indoor training is very effective and efficient, most would still say that your actual performance outdoors or in a race is the ultimate measure.

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What turbo trainer do you have now?

If your average heart rate was only 129 bpm, then you had lots of headroom left. A 40k TT is mentally brutally hard, at least if you really go for it and give it your all. Even people who are trained, this is gruesome.

If you are just getting started, I wouldn’t worry about that and focus on making improvements. Like the others, if you cannot afford a power meter, try to at least get virtual power so that you can train more consistently.

At your level, you can get a lot of improvement by just riding. You can also train by heart rate. It’s old school - what people did 30 years ago when power meters didn’t exist. Read up on RPE and heart rate zones and follow a basic plan.

But mostly just ride more. The first metric to track is hours per week and days per week. If you are doing 3 hours per week, increase to 4, when that is easy, increase to 5, etc. If you ride 2 days per week, increase to 3, then to 4, then to 5, and then to 6. If a 20 mile ride is comfortable, do a 30 miler, then a 40 miler, and then a 60 miler, etc, etc.

You can also use Strava segments to benchmark yourself against your local competition if you want to see how good you are.

If you shop around you can buy a power meter for $300 (Stages or 4iiii). You’ll have to research the options.

Virtual power may be ok to start but a power meter is a better long term solution and it’s cheaper than a high end smart trainer.

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Virtual power was my entry to the power based sessions. Virtual power may not be comparable to actual power but its consistent for training and measuring your individual improvement.
My next step was the Favero Be Pro S powermeter (now superseded by the Favero Assimoa Uno) with the intention to swap it between bikes (it mostly sits on the TT bike though) and about 6months ago I bought a 4iiii power meter for the other bike.