TrainerRoad hits the great outdoors

The indoor interval-training app adds outdoor workouts to its catalogue

TrainerRoad screen shot

TrainerRoad was an early pioneer in power-based interval-training apps, and the no-fluff bar graph workouts have helped many a BikeRadar staffer through dark winter months.

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But now, with the days getting warmer, TrainerRoad has announced it’s adding outdoor workouts to its vast training catalogue.

For as long as we’ve used the app, one of the most valuable features has been the training plans, which would assign workouts based on training goals and desired load.

The trouble was, if you wanted to go outside for a pedal, there wasn’t a way to take the workout with you —but now you can.

The outdoor workouts are scaled to your FTP and based on Power or RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) for those who have a smart trainer or utilised virtual power but don’t have power meter.

Each workout still has a warm-up, main set and cooldown and TSS and power targets too.

To access the outdoor workouts you just need to select a workout on your training calendar
To access outdoor workouts you just need to select a workout on your training calendar

Still in the beta phase, the al fresco workouts are built around the calendar, though TrainerRoad says not every workout has an outdoor counterpart just yet.

I checked through the sessions on my personal calendar in the app, and each one has the option to ride outside.

From your calendar, there is the option to ‘Do outside,’ which opens an extended description of the structure of your warm-up, main set and cool down, laying out precisely the power you need to hit and for how long.

Doing intervals outside is a different experience to riding them on the trainer, as there are obviously headwinds, hills, and stop sights to contend with. And TrainerRoad has created a system to account for these variables.

TrainerRoad Workouts side by side
To select the outside version of your workout click ‘Do Outside’ and it will reveal your workout

Some workouts are too difficult to take outside because of their complexity and number of power changes, so TrainerRoad’s Coach Chad has written hundreds of sessions that hit roughly the same duration and intensity as their basement-dwelling counterparts, but feature a different workout structure that is more conducive to riding in the real world.

The app now automatically links its inside workouts to activities designed to be completed on the road.

Once you’ve completed an outdoor workout, the TrainerRoad app automatically associates rides on your training calendar with the corresponding activity on Strava or Garmin Connect (provided you’ve given permission for them to talk to each other).

As it’s still in beta phase at the time of writing, head unit integration is still to come. For now, you’ll have to check the workout description in the TrainerRoad iPhone or Android app.

However, TrainerRoad says their engineers are hard at work integrating this new feature with Garmin’s new Training API and Wahoo headunits to allow workouts to be pushed directly to your computer.

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TrainerRoad has extended the beta program to all its users, and you can opt-in through your account settings.