Are You New to Indoor Training? My Take After Three Short Weeks Of Build


Brief background: I’m 50. Have been cycling and racing for decades. Live in an area where riding outside all year around is easy. Until three week ago when I started TR I would generally ride between 8-11,000 miles a year; race around 30-40 events a year, mostly sanctioned but many unsanctioned events. I’m a Masters/Cat 2 nobody on the road and quit mountain bike racing before they went to the current ranking system. Prior to cycling I was an NCAA div 1 athlete. I’ve been coached, followed plans outside with out a coach and most seasons just do the Ned Overend training method. Here’s my take on the main difference between training on a trainer and training outside:

  1. Increased muscular or strength endurance. It doesn’t seem to matter what kind of workout I do the fact is keeping constant pressure on the pedals increases muscular endurance. The lack of micro breaks has been nothing short of eye opening for me.

  2. Increased hip recruitment. I don’t know why. I feel it’s closely tied to number 1 above. But the fact is the muscles used to bring the foot over the top, drive it forward into the main power phase of the pedal stoke are way more engaged on the trainer.

  3. Increased dehydration. If not careful of coarse. But, in general, depending on fans, temp and workout, etc…I go through 2-3X the water compared to outside.

  4. 1 hour on the trainer is more like 2 outside. At least for me. I’m comfortable saying it’s at least 1.5-2 for most. No way 1 hour on the trainer=1 hour outdoors!

Anyways, this is nothing new to most of you who have had to use a trainer to stay in shape through out the winter. For those new to indoor training or those who remember transitioning are there any further noticeable training affects I might experience? Thanks.


Too much info I guess. Funny after all these years getting excited about something like training stress/quality. That or maybe innately understanding I’ve been doing it so wrong for so many years…Hoping I can actually improve is exciting! Here’s to hope. If you can sell that you will make $$. :wink:


This is my second season on Trainerroad. Its certainly not magic. You have to put in the work to get the gains, but the gains do come. I agree the effort indoors is more like 2X outdoors. I’m to the point now where I know my group rides are my easy days! Maybe I am in the minority, but I actually enjoy the trainer. I get in the zone with a good playlist and just turn the legs. I can’t wear glasses due to the sweat, and I can’t see far enough to watch TV or anything, so I just get my head right and pedal. I track my TSS almost obsessively, count my macros, volunteer as a race coordinator for our rec club… its fun to play athlete!


This is my second year/winter training with TrainerRoad. Didn’t even consider other options after the clear, across the board improvements I saw last year.

Can’t say I enjoy training indoors but TR does remove the faff and almost all of the guess work. Just wish I could say that my group rides are my easy days :joy:


Appreciate your insight. Just curious are you using a smart trainer?


No. I use a Quarq DZero PM with an older mag trainer. The combo is fine for everything up to and including VO2. However, ERG mode/smart trainers (I am guessing) far exceed the quality I can do while performing shorter intervals with short recovery. For example, I just did a workout that ended with 15second sprints with 15s recoveries. It took 6 shifts to get from the recovery power to the target power. So, unless I started about 5 seconds early I was low every interval. Just made for messy intervals and while better than what I’ve been used to, not as good as a smart trainer. The other area smart/erg is better is TR use of gradient increases and decreases in power say during over/unders. Totally doable with PM’s/dumb trainers just not as effective or at least magnitudes more messy and variable.

All that said I’m splitting hairs. Before TR I did all this on the open roads and it was even less quality. So in the end following any workout on TR is an improvement in quality vs. outdoors.


I am on a wheel-on Travel Trac Fluid dumb trainer with the Assioma Uno pedal power meter. I haven’t found that many limitations, with the exception of really short sprints. Shifting the chainring upfront helps in lieu of trying to quickly change 6 gears on the rear cog, but its not perfect. I do appreciate the simplicity of the dumb trainer system, though. I see alot of back-and-forth comments on smart trainers regarding calibrations and spin-downs and lockups and whatnot. There is a lot of flexibility with a wheel-on dumb trainer to alter your effort level real time and less hassle IMO. Anyway, YMMV. Trainerroad is a great system. It is efficient whatever equipment you choose.


I think the guys, including in some of the workout texts, reckon it’s between 1.25-1.5 x outdoor, depending on whether you take any breaks.


I’ve heard they quoted another coach or physiologist/expert and he came up with 1.3-1.8x so 1.5 is a good wag. Seems reasonable.


Definitely not 2x inside vs outside for me… Maybe I’m lucky that it in one direction it only takes 15 minutes to get out of town, and then I can ride without stopping for over an hour. In the other direction I might get stopped by two lights, and then I can ride for two to three hours without stopping.

The big difference for me is not going too hard during recoveries, and on aerobic endurance workouts. And that means I can do back-to-back days of sweet spot work during base.


First time on the bike outside today in a while and it felt 50W+ easier than my trainer. I have an old mag trainer maybe 15 years old. Perhaps the inertia of the wheel compared to the roller of the trainer makes it feel different. I fully understand the implications of inertia and how they can affect power but that was nuts. This was just one ride. Maybe I was just feeling good. Time will tell…