Endurance training indoor hours v outdoor

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

Moderator: Moderator Team

Shrike
Posts: 1390
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:08 pm

by Shrike

Beginning to take an interest in endurance riding again as I want to focus on lower intensity for a while, but of course, the issue again here is time in the saddle. I have a vague goal at the moment of going for a 150mile ride. No particular reason, it's just something I've never done and a nice round milestone towards 200.

Here's my issue. I have this idea that indoor training requires less time to achieve a certain fitness than outdoor training (for most people who have undulating roads and other obvious reasons). TrainerRoad coach reckons it's between 1.7-1.3 less time needed on the trainer than indoors for intervals.

The other idea I have is that for a decent endurance ride, you need around 4 hours and up for those lower end aerobic changes. Just something I've read a number of times when researching training etc over the past year or two.

So yes, the obvious question is - can I divide 4hours by 1.7 to 1.3 and cheat my endurance riding? That is, do indoor endurance rides of 2hr30mins to 3hrs and get the same effect as guys doing 4 hours outdoors.

Or! Is endurance riding more about the time spent, i.e. you really need to be on the bike for a significant period of time and you can't cheat your way around it?

Not something I'd have even considered before, but a 2hour 30min indoor ride is much preferred to a 4hour outdoor ride (which has gearing up and cleaning time on top too) now that Zwift has a lot of long endurance group rides that feel pacy and fun. 100km, 160km, mountain routes etc. Tried a couple of them and they felt like time flew in.

bilwit
Posts: 963
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2016 5:49 am
Location: Seattle, WA

by bilwit

I'm pretty sure TrainerRoad's stance on this is that less time at higher intensity will do you as much, if not more benefit than long rides at lower intensity (or long rides with variability) even if the target event is a long, all-day endurance burner, which is why their "base" training plan along with the "Century" training plan is nearly all sweetspot work (with some threshold & vo2max sprinkled in) no longer than 2 hours maximum in a workout. Raising your FTP lifts your aerobic capacity/the endurance zones beneath it, thus allowing you to ride at higher powers for longer.

by Weenie


Shrike
Posts: 1390
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:08 pm

by Shrike

Yeah they do, which is why a lot of guys like myself usually do sweet spot for base training. Just more beneficial time wise, well apparently.

Anyway, that's not really what I'm looking for.

I want to know the relationship between endurance hours indoors v outdoors. I did the most difficult sweet spot base training last winter on Trainer Road (Adv I and II) and my outdoors endurance went downhill badly. Used to smash 100 to 125mile rides on a Saturday like nothing before that, and after it I was getting stiff over 50 miles. There were other problems with sweet spot too I found later.

Anyway, don't want to get into that right now, want to hear from the big miles guys who've made the transition to the trainer. I see them on Zwift but haven't had the chance to pick their brains.

mikemelbrooks
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:58 pm

by mikemelbrooks

I think that the 1.7 to 1.3 figure is so vauge because it depends on traffic lights, junctions, hills etc ( you dont pedal down hills if they are steep enough).
"So yes, the obvious question is - can I divide 4hours by 1.7 to 1.3 and cheat my endurance riding? That is, do indoor endurance rides of 2hr30mins to 3hrs and get the same effect as guys doing 4 hours outdoors."
So my answer it is dependant on what you achieve in your 4 hours of outdoor road riding, If you are stoping regulaly for junctions and for friends to catch up then I would say that the figure of 1.3 is possible,
If your 4hours of out door training is non stop pedaling I can't see where any reduction in training time can be.

Shrike
Posts: 1390
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:08 pm

by Shrike

mikemelbrooks wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:02 pm
I think that the 1.7 to 1.3 figure is so vauge because it depends on traffic lights, junctions, hills etc ( you dont pedal down hills if they are steep enough).
"So yes, the obvious question is - can I divide 4hours by 1.7 to 1.3 and cheat my endurance riding? That is, do indoor endurance rides of 2hr30mins to 3hrs and get the same effect as guys doing 4 hours outdoors."
So my answer it is dependant on what you achieve in your 4 hours of outdoor road riding, If you are stoping regulaly for junctions and for friends to catch up then I would say that the figure of 1.3 is possible,
If your 4hours of out door training is non stop pedaling I can't see where any reduction in training time can be.
For me it's more about the micro rests you get as gradients change. Coasting for a few secs here and there, spinning too easy a gear for a few secs. That sort of stuff. Those little recoveries. I saw Joe Friel allude to those micro rests on his blog as being part of the reason why people post higher FTP numbers outdoors (small rests allow for a greater overall effort).

Take ERG on a trainer. You have to keep pedalling for the entire effort.

But lets say you're on a flat area and your time spent pedalling is near 100%. Then yeah, power for power, I can't see why indoors or outdoors would make a difference there.

I'm still not certain about the time spent thing though. Even if you can accumulate the same workload in a shorter time, do you still get the same aerobic benefits if you cut down your overall time significantly. That's what I'm hung up on.

AJS914
Posts: 2367
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

I've been reading up on this and in particular Trevor Connor has been covering this a lot in the Velonews FastTalk podcast. I think his answer would be, no, you can't get the same benefit. These two episodes were particularly good:

https://www.velonews.com/2018/07/podcas ... ler_473325

https://www.velonews.com/2018/08/podcas ... ler_477253

This episode was about training for the Dirty Kanza 200. It might have some applicable information:

https://www.velonews.com/2018/07/podcas ... 200_471505

One study I read indicate that mitochondrial changes occur after 2 hours of riding up to 6 hours. This is precisely why the pros go out and ride 125 miles a day, day in and day out in the winter.

Now for us mortals, 6 hour rides aren't realistic and most of us haven't reached our genetic performance limits riding our 6, 8 or 10 hours per week so we can still improve our overall fitness with intervals and sweet spot and thus 'maximize' our training time.

I think the other aspect to consider is that you are training for an 8+ hour 150mile ride. If you only ever get 2-2.5 hours of saddle time per session you are going to be hurting 4 or 5 hours into that long event. That said, you can probably do a lot of 2 hour trainer sessions and then try and do at least a couple long outdoor rides per month - maybe preferably once a week.

mikemelbrooks
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:58 pm

by mikemelbrooks

In your first post you mentioned doing long group rides on Zwift, and I thought that would be your means of training, then you said it's not possible to coast in ERG mode, and of micro rests. Well in a group ride I can stop and make tea while my avatar descends Alp due Zwift.
A long ERG mode training session would kill me mentally.

Shrike
Posts: 1390
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:08 pm

by Shrike

Thanks AJ, I'll get stuck into all of those today but yes, have a feeling that to really adapt to the big distance stuff you probably have to do the big distance stuff, at least occasionally :o

Shrike
Posts: 1390
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:08 pm

by Shrike

mikemelbrooks wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:14 am
In your first post you mentioned doing long group rides on Zwift, and I thought that would be your means of training, then you said it's not possible to coast in ERG mode, and of micro rests. Well in a group ride I can stop and make tea while my avatar descends Alp due Zwift.
A long ERG mode training session would kill me mentally.
Yeah you can coast down Alp d'Zwift but whether or not you'd still be with the group depends on a whole bunch of stuff, as well your trainer settings. Anyway, doesn't matter that's an exception to the rule, very rare to see a long distance group ride up that, in fact I've never seen one yet. Nearly all 100km and 160km group rides do laps of flattish areas, like the WBR 100KM 3 w/kg Group Ride last night. I was pedalling non-stop and still nearly got dropped a few times. Average ride speed is around 42kph most of the time and if you get dropped you need to ride around 4.5w/kg to catch back on.

There was a group ride up Innsbruck's new climb the other day too, that was a 2.5 w/kg group ride, and on the way down everyone was pedalling at 3 to 3.5w/kg the whole way to hit the 100kph mark. Any decent group ride on Zwift now and you really can not coast. One bluetooth dropout and it's game over too :x

ERG mode isn't that bad, you get used to it. Actually it becomes normal, I don't even think about it being daunting any more, but I do remember my first 2hr 30min TrainerRoad workout and regarding it with absolute horror. But like I said, I don't even think about that anymore, your legs do get used to pedalling non-stop.

FWIW, Alp d'Zwift (Road to Sky) is my fav route on Zwift. Love how they've done the segments up it :P

c60rider
Posts: 360
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:12 pm

by c60rider

Personally the only advantage of riding indoors is that it's so much easier to maintain a set power output so the quality can be much greater for the time. Ultimately it's all down to TSS you just can't cheat that and riding 2.5 hours within my endurance range (normalised power) indoors is not going to give me anywhere like the same TSS score that riding outdoors within my endurance range will. TSS is around 50 points per hour endurance so a 4 hour ride will be 200. 2.5 hour ride will be around 125. The only way to get the same stress on the body in a shorter time is intervals. This is why Joe Friel and many others are recommending using TSS to measure the training load. You've either put the stress on the body that's building fitness or you haven't.

robertbb
Posts: 549
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:35 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

by robertbb

c60rider wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:11 am
Personally the only advantage of riding indoors is that it's so much easier to maintain a set power output so the quality can be much greater for the time. Ultimately it's all down to TSS you just can't cheat that and riding 2.5 hours within my endurance range (normalised power) indoors is not going to give me anywhere like the same TSS score that riding outdoors within my endurance range will. TSS is around 50 points per hour endurance so a 4 hour ride will be 200. 2.5 hour ride will be around 125. The only way to get the same stress on the body in a shorter time is intervals. This is why Joe Friel and many others are recommending using TSS to measure the training load. You've either put the stress on the body that's building fitness or you haven't.
I might be misunderstanding you here, but are you saying a TSS of, say, 200 outdoors is somehow of greater value than a TSS of 200 indoors? (all other things being equal: Normalized Power and Intensity Factor)? If so, why?
It's ALL about the bike.

RobertBB's CyclePlanner Spreadsheet:
https://weightweenies.starbike.com/foru ... 8&t=152263

c60rider
Posts: 360
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:12 pm

by c60rider

robertbb wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 10:29 am
c60rider wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:11 am
Personally the only advantage of riding indoors is that it's so much easier to maintain a set power output so the quality can be much greater for the time. Ultimately it's all down to TSS you just can't cheat that and riding 2.5 hours within my endurance range (normalised power) indoors is not going to give me anywhere like the same TSS score that riding outdoors within my endurance range will. TSS is around 50 points per hour endurance so a 4 hour ride will be 200. 2.5 hour ride will be around 125. The only way to get the same stress on the body in a shorter time is intervals. This is why Joe Friel and many others are recommending using TSS to measure the training load. You've either put the stress on the body that's building fitness or you haven't.
I might be misunderstanding you here, but are you saying a TSS of, say, 200 outdoors is somehow of greater value than a TSS of 200 indoors? (all other things being equal: Normalized Power and Intensity Factor)? If so, why?
No not all you did misunderstand what I meant it would be exactly the same indoors v outdoors all other things being equal as you say. The op was asking if 2.5 indoors would be the equivalent of 4 outdoors which is the point I was trying to make that you can't ride 2.5hrs endurance pace indoors and think it will give you the equivalent of 4hrs outdoors. TSS will make that pretty obvious.

AJS914
Posts: 2367
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

I think the question is how much more TSS will one get riding a trainer for 2.5 hours versus being outside where you can coast, pause, or stop peddaling every now and then.

MisterNoChain
Posts: 148
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:29 pm
Location: Belgium

by MisterNoChain

I use Stravistix as an add-on to see my actual pedaling time (not that i use that quite often). In the winter i often do Kiss at Base grouprides on Zwift, then my pedaling time is 99 or 100%. This winter it was very often on the flat roads of London and you just cant stop pedaling.
When i'm outside on my own the percentage is mostly in the high 80%, in a groupride where i stayed in the wheels it drops to high 70%. Of course it all depends on the terrain, in my area you are lucky if you get 10 minutes of non stop pedaling. So if i ride 2h inside 2h15 should be enough to get the same TSS, i dont have a powermeter on my bike to see if that's really the case in real world conditions.
A factor of 1.3 of even up to 1.7 seems to be a bit far fetched.

by Weenie


c60rider
Posts: 360
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:12 pm

by c60rider

The only thing i can relate the 1.3 to 1.7 to would be that you don't need to be able to ride 100 miles in preparation for a 100 mile event or ride. It always used to be about 50% in that if you could ride 70 miles on your own then add on 50% means you should be able to manage 100 but i always took this to mean if you were riding the longer distance in a group. This was a really generalised rule not taking into account the terrain or intensity. Example for the pros is Milan-San Remo being nearly 300km. I doubt there's any pro doing that in training but the early to mid part of the race is flat so it involves a lot of coasting in the wheels. Unless you're using a power meter i wouldn't even bother trying to guess TSS for a given ride.

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post