Which workout/programs lend themselves well to do outside and which don't?

Obviously z2/z3 lend themselves for outside riding but which other types or programs are good and which workouts are really undoable outside?

I don’t have long stretches of uninterrupted road here, 4‐5 minutes max

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3-4min ‘VO2’ (~120-130% FTP) intervals are doable. You could also do 30/30’s etc. To be honest I think I prefer to do the FTP and above intervals on the trainer, as I feel I can empty the tank and not worry about traffic etc, but when it’s warmer it’s nice to get the extra cooling outside.


This is a tough question, from the perspective of ‘programmes’ because even one’s like Sweetspot base have workouts with quite a range and variety of interval lengths and intensities.

For me it’s an easier question to answer from a ‘workout’ perspective.

Intervals that are neither too long or too short (for the terrain in your own area) seem to work well.

I’ve struggled outdoors with anything that has intervals over 6 minutes long as in my area there are no climbs or roads that offer sufficient distance to be comfortable in covering the time spans involved.

Also noted that multiple short intervals with equally short test periods (E.g. 30s on/30s off VO2Max) are ok only if you again have a steady gradient on a road that isn’t too winding or busy with traffic.

What I do love about TR now is you can associate an outdoor ride to an indoor workout. This has been a positive change for me that has helped because sometimes you can’t faithfully match the intervals but overall get the work in, and I recall from reading other threads on here that AT takes it into account in some way.


I don’t really like outside workouts where I am too on the edge for long periods of time. Short VO2 Max stuff seems to be OK and tempo stuff or below but I’d rather not do long VO2max stuff or long threshold/ SS stuff outside unless the weather is perfect and I often choose the road bike over the TT bike to do them if its not perfect conditions.


It’s so dependent on roads. Near me (10 mins ride) there is 1 long-ish (c.12km) pretty straight, fairly flat road which is punctuated only by 2 small roundabouts. The road is relatively quiet outside of peak times (7-9, 4-6). It works very well for intervals of up to about 15m in length, and I’ve done 20s on it (you just end up going around a roundabout and doubling back). But it does get dull.

I also have a couple of quite long (4-6 min, so long by UK standards), fairly steady hills that work well for VO2 max type stuff. I do think old-fashioned hill repeats are a pretty good sub for many of the longer VO2 intervals.

I’ve done microburst stuff on the CX bike around the outside of some local playing fields (4-5 football pitches), and that also works fairly well, though you do need to keep your eyes up. Outside of weekends and evenings, though, off-road areas like that can work well for the shorter stuff.

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I live in the Netherlands, so flat as a pancake here