Why are endurance/recovery rides so much longer in the outdoor versions?

I’ve noticed that the endurance/recovery rides are all significantly longer in their outdoor variants. Screenshots below show the difference between riding outdoors for a recovery week and riding indoors. I massively prefer riding outdoors, so I end up just riding in endurance zone without loading a workout onto my wahoo, because I don’t have time to ride for long rides right now.

Indoor week

Outdoor week

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The assumption is that outdoors you’ll be doing a lot of stopping, coasting, etc… if that’s not the case just cut it short and pocket the TSS.

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Yes, the lack of breaks makes indoor rides much more efficient. The most common figure cited is an indoor ride is equivalent to an outdoor ride that is 1.5 times as long.

That’s basically what you’re seeing on the given examples, a 60 minute indoor ride is replaced with a 90 minute outdoor ride.

Have the same problem: some rides are ridiculously long as outside version. Therefore I also hesitate to load them on my Wahoo and try to replace them with similar TSS rides of the same length as the original indoor ride.

I would appreciate some possibility to choose the inside version to be pushed to the bike computer, and not the alternate outdoor version, see here
https://www.trainerroad.com/forum/t/push-inside-workout-to-elemnt/25778/12

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I’ve always seen this as a flaw of outdoor endurance workouts as written in TR. I generally target the TSS and try to go as long or longer than I would do indoor. If you have a decent route choice available, you can pedal 95%+ of the time. I don’t think there’s any way that a ride averaging 200w (particularly if you include all 0s, including pauses) on an outside ride is inherently 50% “worse” than riding the same 200w trainer. Unless you’re training for Zwift, it may even be better to have the constant change you get when riding outside.

Really don’t have a clue where the 1.5 times thing came from. I don’t buy that for endurance rides, OR for outdoor interval rides where steady power on intervals is entirely doable.

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The thing that doesn’t make sense about this is that the sweet spot, over unders, threshold, v02 max workouts are all the same duration whether indoor or outdoor. It’s only the endurance/active recovery rides that are longer outdoors.

If I follow the prescribed watts in the outdoor workout for the duration they are suggesting, then I’ll end up with a much higher TSS than the workout is actually suggesting.

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I don’t get the dramatic difference, either… maybe that’s meant to account for stops or something? Even then, my elapsed time outside is generally less than 10% higher than moving time. Ultimately, I don’t worry too much about it. I just get the TSS, maybe even add a bit more, and enjoy the Z2 outside.

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“Needs to be added”… I actually have the problem that I can achieve the goals much earlier.

Stopping there might mean I would miss out on some intervalls which are planned later in the session.

Yes, there are multiple factors that go into that.

When you’re outdoors you should still strive to hit your prescribed intervals without taking any breaks, especially as the intensity increases. That can get challenging with longer SS and Tempo work, but the intervals are the important bit here. Two 10 minute intervals at 90% are not equivalent to one 20 minute interval at the same intensity.

How you rest between intervals is not as critical so long as it’s adequate to nail the remaining intervals. If you have to coast a bit, or take a little longer to line yourself up with a good stretch of road, you’ll still get the intended benefit. Spinning at 40% does add some secondary benefit, but it’s not critical to the success of the workout.

When it comes to a Z2 ride, maybe the best way to think of it is the entire ride is just one long interval. When you interrupt it, you need to add back a bit more time to get the same intended benefit.

Had this issue today, in fact. Pettit outdoors (so 90m rather than 60) - picked a long, flat straight out and back, focused really hard on keeping pressure on the pedals (less than 60s coasting in total), and ended up with a TSS of 71 (rather than 39). I enjoyed it and it was a good session (could really focus on body positioning and a few pedalling things) but I was moderately fatigued afterwards, which I wouldn’t have expected from Pettit.

PS - there’s under 300m of climbing in overr 40Km, so ignore the graphic which implies this was up and down a mountain!

because TR’s inside workout is 39 TSS, but the outside version is 52-71+ TSS. But TR wrongly claims the outside version is still 39 TSS. So either ignore TSS or do the outside workout around the same amount of time as the inside version.

1000%. This is to me a super unnecessarily frustrating TR “feature”. Navigating outdoor work outs is already clunky, needing to choose indoor then switch to outdoor and then keep your fingers crossed it is remotely similar. If not, start over. For me, it is especially frustrating as Wednesdays during the week I do a WO before work, so have time constraints. And weather make it a morning decision this time of year. A 90 minute Petit with 2x TSS is no bueno. Also, on weekends at least one day is usually endurance type workouts.

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Yeah, I’ve sometimes wondered why they didn’t make outside workouts a bit more seamless. Like if I enable outdoor workouts for my account why can’t it just push all workouts to Garmin so that if I choose to do it outside it’s already there and if I choose to do it inside then it’s there as well. It’s not like having the workout loaded on my head unit makes TR not be able to run the workout.

Maybe it’s a bandwidth or cost thing? Does it cost money for them to push to Garmin or (like Strava) is there a rate limit for daily downloads? I’d be interested to know why it makes you explicitly choose either inside or outside.

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We’re looking into this and discussing as a team!! Will post updates here as they become available. Thanks, all! :+1:

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UPDATE:

After connecting with the team and discussing outside v. inside workouts, we agree they should be updated to show a closer correlation in both duration and TSS.

We can see that feedback shows that athletes aren’t struggling with as many outdoor interruptions as we anticipated, therefore, it would be better to adjust those durations to align more closely with the indoor version. With some updates and releases rolling out shortly, we don’t know exactly when we’ll tackle these, but its now on the roadmap and we’ll certainly keep you all updated with new information.

Until then: feel free to continue to exercise some agency in shortening outside workouts how you see fit. As long as your intervals are completed there’s no need to tack on a bunch of extra TSS. Let me know if you have questions or need case-by-case help, of course.

Cheers!

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:tada: