Working with a coach and Trainer Road, any experience?

So have been using Trainer Road (indoors) since April 2022, have wanted to find someone to coach me since I started riding summer of 2020. One of the local pros (pro-conti) is going to start being one of the assistant coaches for the development team, so I asked him if he was interested in coaching individuals and he said yes, he was open to start coaching some ‘Masters racers’ (I’m 36 sad trombone sound) starting in December, so to message him then.

I suggested when talking to him that I currently do all my structured training in Trainer Road on the trainer and he seemed okay with that. My new road bike, that I haven’t finished building has a power meter but it is my first bike to have one so I’ve never done any structured training outdoors.

Was just wondering if anyone else had worked with a coach and used Trainer Road to do all of their workouts and how things went.

I’m thinking I can likely find workouts in the TR library that will roughly line up with what he will want me to do, I’m unsure if without a membership he can go through the TR workouts to look at what is there.

The big things I’m looking forward to are tactics, pacing, skills stuff that I didn’t learn as someone that started cycling a few years ago. Would really like to do some outdoor riding with him and get an idea of where my strengths and weaknesses are to apply to my racing and work on in training.

Some observations, I am a TR subscriber, and work with a coach. Just sort of what comes to mind.

I wouldn’t limit yourself to using TR workouts. For example, there are times I’ll do a Sweet spot or a threshold workout, but want to stretch it out with an additional 60 minutes at endurance pace. A lot easier if you (or your coach) has a library of workouts to drop in from TrainingPeaks. Similarly, I’ve done 2.5 hours of endurance, finishing with 30 minutes of Sweet Spot Intervals right at the end.

I’m pushing volume much higher now than any TR plan (Both because I can make the time, but my target race is also Leadville again). I’m in my off-season and around 10-12 hours, and peaked I think around 18 hours and a CTL of ~80 last year. TR’s plan builder doesn’t handle that profile, so you’re going to be tinkering a lot.

I do like TR for trainer control, and although my workouts originate in TP, they flow into TR and that’s what I use for workout execution. Works much better than my Garmin. Garmin is frankly pretty crappy and doesn’t work well if you want to switch back and forth between Erg and Resistance mode. I’ve heard Wahoo works better.

If you’re going to be doing custom workouts, and custom blocks, one of the big advantages of the coach is helping you manage fatigue, recovery, what workout for what day. I think you lose some of that if you’re picking from TR’s list because the coach isn’t going to be as familiar with it. There are times where it’s “Try this”, or forcing you to back off when needed. We have conversations on a per-workout basis in TP. Going to be harder to do that if you’re doing everything in TR, although you can still have workouts flow to TP or Intervals for them to review after the fact.

TR’s AIFTP has actually been pretty good for me and tracked pretty closely. But, in general it will work better when you are doing TR’s workouts, executing them indoors on a trainer, and rating them appropriately.

If you’re paying a reduced rate, more of “Help me structure a plan” and then with less back and forth I think your plan is fine, or if you really want to focus on skills coaching as you said, but if you’re really working with a coach across the board, take advantage of all the benefits.


I have to switch page and then circle through the different modes and back to workout page again. It takes quite a few button presses but the buttons are easy to press

I use Wahoo to control the vast majority of my structured workouts, and it’s better in terms of ride feel than Zwift, and largely on par with TR IMIO.

I’m also @BCM’s coach to whom he is referring. He prefers using TR for trainer control, and I am formerly a TR user who wrote a bunch of my workouts in TR’s workout creator. As I transitioned to full-time coaching and working exclusively through TrainingPeaks, the integration is relatively seamless. I can customize comments, etc. much like TR’s workout creator.

The advantage to using TP vs. TR for a coach is that we can write workouts that will work across multiple platforms - Wahoo, TR, Zwift, etc. “Forcing” a coach to pick and choose workouts from TR’s library to structure a plan would likely take longer to search a separate library for a single rider, rather than being able to use shells and create custom workouts for each individual. In my case, it wouldn’t be a thing where I would discount my rate to work with those restrictions because it will actually take up more of my time than simply writing you custom (or semi-custom) workouts would. (By semi-custom, I mean using shells for common workouts.)

So @Dexvd I think you’re going to have a tough time finding a coach that would go through TR’s library like that as it’s going to be quite time consuming and probably more restrictive than they would like. That said, nothing stops you from using TR for trainer control as it is a superior interface and control suite than, say, Zwift if you’re not into the game/graphics.

I have athletes across the spectrum when it comes to trainer control. Two use TR exclusively. A couple only use Zwift. A couple use a combination of Zwift and their head unit (and a few who only ride outside). So lots of viable options there, and it really just depends on what you want.

My preference - as a coach - would be to create my workouts using TrainingPeaks and then allow you to upload them to whichever app you choose. As a TR subscriber, your workouts would import into your TR calendar and you could even follow progression levels and AIFTPD if you wanted to. Thing is, many of the workouts that I write end up being insane progression levels for whatever reason. Not sure if that has changed with some of the “outside ride” stuff that TR worked on recently… I’m no longer a subscriber.

That said, a coach that’s good and works a plan for you largely makes those features of TrainerRoad meaningless, and they should give you plenty of metrics to determine if you’re progressing, if that’s what you’re into.

Feel free to shoot me questions here or via DM if you have specific questions about integrating workouts from other platforms over to TrainerRoad. I’m still a fan of the software. :slight_smile:


Maybe off-topic but I’m curious, what makes Wahoo and TR better than Zwift to control the trainer during workouts?

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Couple of things in my opinion:

  1. Zwift bins you into 5W increments, which is fine because none of it matters much that way, but also the +/- adjustments are pretty rough and require a bunch of button pushes to get one adjustment.
  2. Probably depends on trainer integration, but with my Hammer H3, I get a lot more “power hunting” using Zwift, so I end up with a lot of time spent 10W above and 10W below target, like it’s damping the entire ride in erg.
  3. The ability to go into resistance mode or standard mode in Zwift is clunky (like the entire workout interface, IMO).
  4. The way Zwift gives you “credit” for completing an interval is sketchy because you can take a 30s break to grab a bottle in a 30 min interval and you’ll only get a half-star for it. This is a gamification thing, but is annoying.
  5. Finally, ride feel when I use Zwift’s erg mode is awful… always feels to me like the trainer is adjusting something so you have this pedaling through sand feeling that I don’t get using my head unit or remember when I was using TR.

Using my head unit, I can erg, use standard for short/shorts or high power intervals, or use resistance mode for longer intervals or sustained work and I can swap very easily mid-ride. Using TR, same was true. Zwift is way clunkier in that regard. That and the “ride feel” are the two biggest down checks for Zwift vs. the others in my opinion.


@kurt.braeckel (Slightly random) I’m sure indieVelo would like any input on their workout support if you give it a whirl.

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I’m trying to suppress my inner snarky self, if you just started riding in 2020 you have plenty of room to grow regardless of being an old fogie. I’m 45, been riding for 20 years, and am still getting stronger. When I was mid-to-late 20s I was regularly getting obliterated by 40+ masters, if you haven’t experienced it yet you just haven’t found the right group to ride with.

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@BCM and @kurt.braeckel
I’ve never used Training Peaks before but are you saying they select workouts to do in Training Peaks and then somehow you put them on the Trainer Road calendar and then you do the workout on Trainer Road?

  1. One time setup to sync from TrainingPeaks to TrainerRoad.
  2. TR automatically pulls the workout over, and puts it on your TR calendar. I believe TR pulls over workouts one day at a time.

Setup the sync. Your coach puts workouts in TrainingPeaks. TR pulls the workouts one day a t time (if I remember this correctly).


Workouts are custom built in TrainingPeaks, or the coach has a “Library” they’ve built over time to choose and modify from. Coach (or you) puts it on your TrainingPeaks calendar. Automatically syncs to TR and you execute the workout in TR. Results sync back to TrainingPeaks for working / analyzing with your coach.


I did this for a lot of years, and I just ended up creating custom workouts using TrainerRoad’s Workout Creator. Once you create workouts several times, it becomes pretty easy and intuitive to create new ones / clone old ones to create new ones as you progress (e.g., clone a 3x10 to create a 3x15 or a 4x10). The biggest benefit for me was I could create my own warm-up protocol as a snippet, and add this at the beginning of all of my workouts. I actually have different saved warm-up snippets for tempo / sweet spot vs. VO2 max or Anaerobic.


yeah, if you have a coach, they write your workout in TrainingPeaks, and it’ll copy over to TrainerRoad.

Do custom workouts advance your AI FTP?

Yes, custom workouts are evaluated as part of your AIFTP. I’ve been doing Custom workouts for around a year now, and AIFTP is still pretty close for me.

Although, some TR just can’t figure out, like this easy endurance workout, but with 10 seated sprints.


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So do workouts made in Training Peak that you do in Trainer Road also count for PLs and Ai FTP?

Yes, that’s exactly the question I just answered.

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Okay sorry, wasn’t sure if you were just referring to workouts made in the Trainer Road Workout creator.

Well… custom workouts don’t REALLY work for PL’s based on the example the @BCM posted above (Sprint PL 186??). Doing this workout will very likely boost your sprint PL to 10.

TR reps have said repeatedly that custom workouts will likely skew PL’s (and not in the athletes favor)…

Yes, except those are by FAR the minority. Almost all of the workouts I do come through with what I’d call realistic and accurate PL’s. Anaerobic and Sprint are the biggest offenders for throwing them off. (Edit, I just scrolled through all of my custom workouts back to when I started in January. Every single one sanity checked and look fine to me. That includes some MMP / Sprint Tests, VO2 Block, Threshold, SS, Tempo, Endurance, Recovery)

I’ve been doing a heavy focus on Endurance, Tempo, and Sweet Spot and this is what mine look like now. My last TR workout was in January, and I’ve been able to validate / compare my FTP by testing and the results from TP, WKO, and Intervals.