Riding outside saps discipline for structured training

How do others deal with the temptations of nice weather and the appeal of a beautiful ride outside? By riding outside, of course! But what if you’ve got a training plan? Do you stay in? Do you tell your riding buddy you’ve got other plans?

I’m really struggling to get structure in my training when the the great outdoors calls.



If I’m in the mood for an outdoor ride, I let that take priority over indoor training on the weekends, in the nice weather. I figure the point of the structured training (for me) is to ride outside better/faster/with more enjoyment, so replacing an indoor ride for an outdoor one is working to the same goal.

If your training is for a specific goal or event, you could try to replicate the scheduled training effect (MAP, sprints, threshold, cadence, whatever it is) on the outdoor ride, but that takes discipline and favourable roads to be precise. (And potentially patience from your riding buddy!)


100% agreed. If riding outside is something you want to do and enjoy, then you have to give yourself permission to do so without guilt. If it’s unstructured so be it, if you try to do your structured workout outside then great.


Glad to have company!

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I’ve swapped plenty of midweek interval sessions for 2hr outdoor z2 rides over my last 12wk block and continued to make gains. Although I suppose my outdoor rides still have a structure so require more discipline than just going out and smashing it with a group.

Riding is supposed to be fun, I’ll always ride outdoors when the weather/daylight allows.


I’ve started (but never finished) sooooo many training plans regardless of the season but to answer your question, it DependzⓇ on your goals (i.e. what are you training for?).

That said, I think I recall Sirs @Coach.Mac.C and @Coach.Neal.H saying something to the effect that the plans have a built in a compliance expectation of about 80% such that skipping or subbing outdoor fun for indoor/outdoor structure will still see you improving over the course of any given plan.

Now, if you are REALLY struggling with getting structured training in then my only suggestion is to set some time aside to consider your goals. The Mental Training Plan offers a fantastic set of tools here, especially if you’ve never done it.


This, I think.

And yeah, I’m training for CX season, so try to find ways to “structure” some of my outdoor time to include CX work to mimic my SYSTM plan.

:+1:t3: :+1:t3: :+1:t3:

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I’m outdoors every time the weather permits. During the week I’m by myself and I do structured rides. They aren’t complicated. There are a lot of good No Vid workouts that can be done outside. Similarly, workouts like Revolver and 14 Vice Grips can be done outside (these are also good for hotel bikes when you don’t have power). On the weekends I’m with friends and it’s more endurance rides.


It does require more discipline riding outdoors while following through with a structured training plan. My personal trick when going on a ride outdoors is to load the indoor FIT file from the SYSTM web app into my Garmin head unit and ride according to power figures for some variation.

Reason being, if selecting the outdoor profile, it’s just a long (very long stint) of doing almost the entirety of ride at one particular power figure.

But nevertheless, the only times I exceed the power targets are when I have to do short climbs on my route and stay within the power targets on the flatter sections of my route.


I don’t train outdoors. I ride my bike to have fun outside. My indoor training is to allow me to have more fun outside. So if the weather is good … guess what? I ride outdoors and … HAVE FUN OUTSIDE. I already spend the entire winter on my trainer looking at my screen.

The only thing I take into account is to not do multiple extremely heavy (climbing) MTB rides in one week, so I don’t over stress my body which can lead to overuse injuries. I try to do only one “heavy” ride per week, the rest is more zone-2/3 oriented without crazy 18% rocky climbs.

I think sometimes people tend to get stuck in the “training/no junk miles” way of doing things that they forget it’s first and foremost a hobby you want to enjoy. That’s why we all started cycling, no?

Now if you are preparing for an event/race, it’s a different story, but as hobby rider? Enjoy the good weather! There will be plenty of snow and rain coming where you can train indoors.


Thanks for all the replies. I am done with my “event”: a 5 day bike trip in Portugal. For that, I trained hills so I would enjoy the trip instead of stressing about the climbs. Mission accomplished. Now I’ve settled into a routine of riding for fun while making sure I don’t overdo it—and trying to squeeze in 2 days of strength training and 1 HIIT workout each week. Fun wins if there’s a conflict. Glad I’m not alone in my priorities!


For me, my main event is 6.5 weeks away. Absolutely masses of reward self talk is the only way to go. Including a promise to myself that next year I’ll choose an A event either at the beginning of summer or a longer event that’s better suited to outdoor rides…

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For older riders, it is a little more complicated.

I do enjoy my outside rides, but there are physical declines that have to be mitigated (NM, VO2 max, flexibility, strength,etc) that are not always developed in outside rides. We need to be a bit more disciplined about it.


Outdoor rides are ALWAYS the priority, and training plans are pretty much non-existent… The only one I’ve ever done (and still didn’t really follow it more than about 50%,) was the one week Half Monte Full Frontal plan just to do the test.

So my quandary is: How do I fit in some indoor rides along with the outdoor. I do that more than I used to, and I have both enjoyed it and benefited from it, but mostly, I roll day to day, watching weather impacts, life impacts, and enjoying whatever fits in.
I’ve appreciated the monthly CHALLENGES mostly because they make it semi-easy to hit those 4 rides at some point during a month. Those are often about all I manage indoors.

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Exactly this!

The hills here are short and steep and traffic rather dense. No point trying to do a training outside. Too many variables to watch out for.

I just enjoy the ride. I’m slow after a hard week of indoor workouts. I’m fast after a light week. But no one cares, or notices, as I ride alone. It’s awesome :+1:


To echo what was mentioned earlier, these plans are designed to be effective with 80% compliance.

On an anecdotal note, I am able to train and race the best when my soul is full! For me this means a fun mountain bike ride, ski or hiking day, etc, typically once a week.

I think you will find yourself more mentally recharged and hungry to crush if you take time now and again to enjoy yourself. Balance is key!


I would try, before OUTDOORS, was available, to build the Sat and Sun workouts on Training Peaks and send it to my Garmin …

And yes, would tell my buddies, I am on a plan, a man on a mission

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