Adapt long outdoor workout to indoor trainer


My scheduled workout tomorrow is a 3 hour, 160 TSS Muscle Tension Interval 3 x 12 minute effort.

I was contemplating doing the workout outdoors but the weather tomorrow is supposed to be dreadful plus there few clear road, other than mountain roads, where I can get in 12 minutes uninterrupted. Doing 3 hours on an indoor trainer, as indicated in the description, is a BIG ask.

Is there a way to shorten the workout for indoors yet achieve the desired workout effect and TSS?

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We do not want or would expect you to complete a 4 hour indoor training, especially in November! Doing long trainer rides now can lead to burn out on the trainer come February / March when it is more critical to your racing goals to be putting in the training time.
So how much and what should you do? Well that depends on the month, training phase and etc. It is one of the benefits of one on one coaching but outside we generally recommend the following.

For November we try to limit the trainer rides to no more than 75 minutes. Again most are working on building strength so CTL isn’t critical. You don’t need to be chasing TSS. Look to do a fun ride whether it be a quick hour session on Zwift or old school by just watching a movie. Don’t get bunt out on intervals or structure as well. Avoid looking at a timer.

December you can start to do a bit more and get up to 90 minute trainer rides. Again keep things fun and look to do a ride on Zwift.

Hi Isaiah,

It’s the end of February now, and my plan is calling for a 4hr Sweet Spot ride followed by a 3hr Z2 ride. It’s 20 degrees F and icy were in Western NY. How do I best adjust these rides for the trainer? (Almost done with the Sweet Spot 2 plan, with gravel races approaching and back-to-back 100mi/10K events on May 8&9. )

As you get closer and closer to your goals it becomes more and more important to get in as close to the plan as possible but we do not recommend our athletes do 4 hours inside. This is where it would be helpful to shift some of the volume more throughout the week to make things more realistic if you are able (so doing hour and a half inside vs 1 hour during the week rides to lighten the load on the weekend).
I’ve also found that zwift group rides are a great way to get that sweet spot boost inside, just make sure the intensity isn’t too high for the goals you have in mind.
Basically its try to #FTFP as much as you can but you need the balance of not burning yourself out or extending yourself too much by spending too much time inside. If your A race is in May it sounds like you have some time.
This is where having a coach can help a ton because they can better manage your builds to make up for having tough weather periods.

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Similar question. Life got in the way this week due to family illness so I’m losing out on my weekend rides. I’m in week 6 of 18 weeks of SS. I have a 4 hr SS Group Ride and 2 hr SS Freestyle Ride scheduled for the weekend. Best case scenario is that I get on the trainer for 90 minutes on each day instead.

Should I do whatever I can over the weekend and then repeat this week to get back on track?


Do as much on the indoor rides (maybe SS 4x10, 3x15, or even 3x20) and then continue with the normal plan progression after the weekend.

Many thanks.