Why isn't this working? I'm getting...slower using TrainerRoad? How do I get this turned around?

This could be way off base so please take with a grain of salt …

If your number one goal is truly weight loss now you might go a year of Zwift first. Don’t worry about getting faster, stronger right now. You will get faster and possibly stronger but just take care of the bottom half of w/kg right now. Zwift is fun. As you improve join faster group rides. Work on your nutrition, calories, etc. Have fun and still work hard in Zwift. Zwift is so fun you might even have to be careful to not ramp up too fast. There’s nothing wrong with Zwift being part of “your” process to get more fit and healthy.
Good luck.

4 weeks…you’re still new, and that’s OK. I have been on TR for 4 years and race C1/2 and find mid-vol a lot to balance when i account for more than full-time job and then home life.

@Jonathan made an EXCELLENT point on the podcast last week that I WISH would just be the auto-bot response to any question about plan selection. “…the one that you can do consistently”. There’s nothing more to it than that.

It seems clear from your posts you are suffering with some motivation and that cycling performance is not the top priority. Grab some motivation back by banging out a low-vol plan that you can consistently complete the workouts on, even if its at 95% every time. So what if biking isn’t top priority, it’s not for a lot of people if they are honest with themselves. Focus on your goals, use TR to supplement the excercise, and knock it out. It’s not like you have much on the line to lose in terms of cycling races by trying, and I would bet if you do things consistently that not only will you get faster, but you’ll enjoy it more.

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Instead of traditional base + strength training, you might want to try strength + a Maintenance or Time Crunch plan (I always forget about those). Or you could go with SSB + strength. For strength I focus on core & upper body, at 56 it has made a huge impact on energy level and body composition. Feel like I’m in my 30s.

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I agree with @trpnhntr, if you want to lose weight and have time constraints then you might need to make your own plan based on sweetspot work that is similar to the high volume plan, just shorter. I would do Tu, We and Th all 60 - 75min sweetspot workouts not going higher than 92% ftp so you can do them over multiple days. Take Friday off and then do 90 min SS on Sat and Sun, again stay below 93% ftp.

As the weather improves during the year then substitute your weekend rides with longer endurance rides including SS intervals on the Sat ride.

I’d also continue to make the interval durations longer as you progress through the year.

You might not make the same gains in ftp that you would on other plans but you will be surprised how much you can gain by just doing sweetspot work. I got up to just over 4 watts/kg in 2017 without hardly ever doing anything above 90% ftp.

Unlike the TR sweetspot plans, use 3 weeks on 1 week off (ie easy rides). If you feel you need more rest I would go down to 2 on and 1 easy.

Lastly, if you are serious about weight loss then it might mean counting calories in the short term just to work out roughly how much you are taking in. It’s not much fun counting up everything but there are some apps out there to make it easier. Obviously you’ll be wanting a slight calorie deficit.

Good luck!

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My thought, you’re over doing it. Mid volume is intense for an experienced competitor. Sleep, food, and lifestyle will certainly impact this level of training. In SSB MV every workout takes you to the edge. They should be doable but painful in their own way. I can’t imagine focusing on weight loss while hammering five days every week. If you have to drop 10-20%, then I’m guessing you’re over cooked.

Years ago I dedicated a year to a pro coach and achieved my personal best. Not one week in that year was as difficult as every week in MV Base. Plenty of time was dedicated to endurance and recovery while targeting and building ‘skills.’

I wish you the best. You’re experiencing something we all go through at some point in this game. Good luck and keep us posted.


Diet has the biggest impact on weight loss. Adding exercise on top of a calorie deficit obviously helps, and there may be a way to time your workouts where you are fueled OK for your workout, but still running an overall calorie deficit. A few thoughts as follows - I’ve found these to be helpful:

  • Cut all junk carbs, refined sugars, and maybe all high GI carbs also. This by itself may put you into a calorie deficit, even if the rest of your eating stays the same. If the resulting deficit is too big, make it up with fruit and vegetables.
  • Cut back on alcohol consumption. There’s a lot of calories in beer.
  • Do your workouts at a time when you’ve had a decent meal a few hours prior. Eg early evening if you can (after a decent lunch). This will allow you to do a higher intensity workout than if you are depleted (eg early morning). Despite this, you still may not be able to hit the intensity of all the TR workouts (because you are still in an overall calorie deficit), but that’s OK, given your primary goal is weight loss.
  • Don’t eat any sugary snacks or energy drinks before or during your workouts. It’s usually not needed for 60-90 min workouts. If you feel underfueled for a workout, better to eat good quality carbs a few hours before than sugar immediately before or during.
  • Eat a modest evening meal, and don’t snack before bed. Flavored sparkling water is a great way to fill you up in the evening if you are tempted to eat (thanks Jonathon for this recommendation on one of the podcasts!)

Best of luck with things. When you’ve dropped the weight, then you can focus on getting stronger :muscle::muscle:


I did this too and set prs with a coach. I found every week in ssblv harder than any week she ever had me do! They should call it threshold base lol sustained power lv I’m finding even harder.

I miss the days of noodling around the island but I’m getting faster so it’s worth it.

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fwiw I’ve just dropped back to low volume, as mid volume was just too much with work and family life, and the resultant lack of sleep. I supplement with outdoor spins, or low TSS “endurance” workouts like pettit, whorl, baxter, beech etc.

It’s not just the training days that vary between volumes, but the length of work outs, something I feel is often overlooked. The other option (which I have done in the past), is do the mid volume and minus variations to counteract that.

My experience has it’s been hard to lose weight (as the primary goal), and build FTP. Modest FTP gains is all I really achieved. I think it can be done, but you have to be very efficient at timing calories to fuel workouts and recoveries.

On the other hand, with a static FTP, losing weight was still boosting my power to weight - whether that makes you faster kinda depends. On the climbs yes, but obviously on the flat total power normally wins. I live in a hilly region, so I got faster!


Did you use identical gear selection for each ramp test? In ERG mode, a lower gear (bigger rear cog) will give a lower FTP based on the same cadence. A higher gear will give a higher FTP, because the faster flywheel speed and the resulting increased inertia give you a “helping hand”, especially at a high cadence. In other words in a higher gear you get a few “free watts”.

I tested the theory and I accepted a slightly lowered FTP when I tested with a slightly lower gear because I had made the decision to do all workouts in lower gears this season.

The takeaway is that if you use ERG mode you should ramp test in a similar gear to that which you will employ in most of your high-intensity workouts (from sweet spot through threshold to VO2 Max).

One cog different would have the potential to account for a 5W variance.

@Darkgerbil - hmm that’s very interesting. I’m not 100% sure if I was in exactly the same gear to be honest. I do most of my training in my big ring (50T) but vary the back up or down a couple so that I don’t just wear out one single cog. So I might have been in the same gear…or I might have been in one that was a gear or two higher…or lower. I’ll pay attention to that next time.

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I’ve been thinking about this and have come up with a question/scenerio: So I use a Wahoo KICKR17 and have been using the trainer as my power source. I’m currently in the build phase and will then do the century specialty plan as I’m working toward a cycling camp where I will be doing several long rides with hours of climbing. Should I actually be doing my workouts in my small ring and bigger cogs so that I replicate the gearing that I will be in during those efforts?

So I’ve referred to my partner and her success in the other threads. She rides on a Tacx Flux and to get the wattages she needs for recovery intervals she’s ALWAYS in the small ring and nearly the largest cog for all workouts and testing because of the crap ERG mode on the Flux. So her gearing is probably more consistent but also more reflective of what she will be using on these climbs.

one thing i’ll add (i hope it hasn’t already been said, but reading through most of the responses i didn’t see it).
We have a tendency to expect results from ourselves, “my FTP is this, and therefore i can do these intervals”. But sometimes, due to life stress, diet, sleep, we just cant put out the power that our FTP suggests, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Especially since you’re focused on weight loss and (hopefully) refining your diet, dont beat yourself up over bad workouts. bad days. bad weeks. bad months.
my 3rd week of SSB i was failing workouts, turning down the power, and generally turning myself inside out for every interval. Luckily #itgetsbetter. I also had what i thought was a really great bought of training during the summer. Lots of high TSS weeks, consistent volume. took a couple weeks easy, endurance rides and cross training. Really optimal for absorbing all that stress i thought. Came back, lost 40 watts. What?!
Performance improvements aren’t always linear. We try to make them, but it doesn’t always workout that way.
Sometimes your life might dictate that your FTP is lower today, and there’s nothing wrong with dropping the %, or switching to a zone 2 workout. “The best training plan is one your consistent with” “a little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing”

Likewise… I’m def getting stronger. Week one of Mid volume Base 1 and I thought I was going to die on the over unders. Looking at McAdie on Week 3 I thought there would be no way that I’d finish. I just nailed it and not only did I finish McAdie with ease but my HR was in endurance the entire time. I’m blown away with my gain. Still not up to my all time PR but three weeks into TR and i’m convinced i’m on the correct path. But, I’ve been focusing as much attention on my rest and food to ensure i’m ready for each workout.

. [quote=“Joe, post:27, topic:9079, full:true”]

I did this too and set prs with a coach. I found every week in ssblv harder than any week she ever had me do! They should call it threshold base lol sustained power lv I’m finding even harder.

I miss the days of noodling around the island but I’m getting faster so it’s worth it.

I haven’t heard all of the podcasts but “trust the plan” is a phrase I’ve heard and…Ok, I trust it!

Anecdotally, several TR users that have target events in CX and MTB have chosen to do workouts in low gears and lower cadence to better replicate what they will do in reality.

There is another aspect of gearing in ERG mode which is that when you are in a lower gear you get a faster response and better application of torque for sudden changes in wattage such as in burst intervals or VO2Max short intervals that are followed by easy but short valleys. In these cases, a lower gear makes for a better workout as the “road feel” going into the interval feels just like the start of a steep climb (in the “right gear”) and it also means that when you hit the rest “valley” the flywheel doesn’t run away with itself so that you cannot achieve a low enough wattage on your trainer (ie in a high gear you fall below the wattage floor of the trainer, in other words the trainer cannot generate a low enough wattage due to flywheel speed).

Using a very high gear (say 53-12) replicates a flat TT (in terms of “road feel”, where you’re just kicking the pedals over the top of each revolution) whereas using say 39-21 has the same “road feel” as riding up an incline, where the pedal stroke needs to keep pressure applied in a greater part of the arc than in the high gear case, as in real hill-climbing

I’m training for TTs and also for hill climbing so I typically use a mix of 53-17 for high cadence steady state stuff (sweetspot/threshold/over-unders) and 39-16 or 17 for workouts with repeated big wattage changes (such as VO2 Max intervals and burst intervals). This way I develop strength in muscular endurance for flat terrain and also develop hill climbing strength.

Back to the main subject, I’d just say that if you decide to use say 53-16 or 17 for a lot of your workouts, I’d do the ramp test in the same gear just to keep things consistent, or at the very least use the same gear for every ramp test.

Hope that’s of some help!

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I think this is highly individualistic, because on my Kickr 2017 direct drive in Erg mode using the big chainring (say 50x17 or 53x15) has the road feel of both climbing and flat roads. At least a similar road feel going uphill. Low gears feel more like soft pedaling down a false flat where you can’t quite catch up.

Completely agree that a lower gear like 34x17 has a higher torque multiplier, making it easier on my legs when jumping from a rest interval at 100W to a work interval at 200W.

@Grasschopper - try both big and little chainring during the same workout, on both rest and work intervals, and see which you like better.

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I was trying not to make this into another thread on my favourite subject (honestly! :slight_smile: ), however, I agree with this advice to the OP. Since I read what you wrote the other day about the torque multiplier in particular I’ve been using the small ring far more in workouts and you’re right that in some circumstances this seems to confound my theory a bit!

Having said that, and back on this topic, about the OP’s potential ramp test variance, I still can’t get away from the fact that at, say, a steady 95rpm, 250W, ERG mode, in 53-15, my RPE and HR are significantly lower than the exact same 95RPM/250W if I ride in 39-15, and even small reductions in gear ratio produce a detectable increase in RPE and HR, albeit less so.

My caveat is that it may just be that the Kickr Snap (which I use) makes this phenomenon more pronounced than in a direct drive, perhaps because its flywheel is driven by the fast-moving surface of the tyre on a very small diameter roller that’s directly attached to the flywheel (a big gearing-up effect). I’m not sure how the direct drive Kickr flywheel is geared from the speed of the chain at the rear cog to the flywheel - is it direct or is it via a toothed belt and sprockets? If it’s direct then the flywheel speed would be far slower at a given cadence/gear ratio than the Snap which may explain the difference in the flywheel effect on gear selection when comparing wheel-off to wheel-on trainers.

I’m sorry, I think I’m starting to disappear up my own a***e, but it’s a genuinely interesting subject!

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Saying nothing new but when do regards at started I ramp tested (with few days gap) in 50x17 and 34x17 and got quite different results - 250 versus 230.
In 50 up front my lungs gave up in the end and I collapsed into a heap.
Down in 34 my leg muscles gave up before lungs, felt achy afterwards but not the same blow up.


I’ll give that a shot tonight on Bashful +2.

As someone who loves to test things like this…I’ll give it a shot. Now…how much recovery do you need from a Ramp Test before doing it again? I sort of assume that it would affect the results to do it twice in the same session. Next week is a recovery week with workouts on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with a FTP test the following Tuesday. So perhaps I do a Ramp Test next Friday so it’s later in the rest week but still a good gap to the next test. I could do one in the small ring and then the other in the big ring.