What is TrainerRoad?
I would describe TrainerRoad as a structured workout app. Whether you need to do an endurance ride – and stick to that endurance zone – or race-pace training or high-end intervals, TrainerRoad has a workout that will accomplish that. Their software allows you to execute the workout in erg mode, and provides some nice coaching instruction within many of their workouts.
1. Create an account a trainerroad.com. Within your account, it’s of critical importance that you set your FTP (functional threshold power), and that you set it accurately.
2. Download the TrainerRoad software/app to your laptop/tablet/phone.
3. Open the app, login, and pair your devices.
If you don’t have a smart trainer, you can pair your speed sensor with TrainerRoad and use their virtual power calculator and change gears to adjust your power output while following their built-in power-based workouts.
If you have a power meter but not a smart trainer, you can pair your power meter and change gears to adjust your power output while following their built-in power-based workouts.
If you have a smart trainer, you can pair that and use the platform in erg mode, so that TrainerRoad adjusts your trainer’s resistance and you are always hitting the power targets, no gear changes required. (When riding in erg mode, you’ll want to be in the little ring and an easy gear on the cassette to allow your trainer to hit both the low recovery watts and high interval watts.)
Optional: pair your HR monitor, so you collect all the data in a single location and it all uploads to TrainingPeaks in a single data file.
Now that you’re officially ready to go, it’s time to work out! In TrainerRoad, the biggest hurdle can be selecting a workout. Here are some recommendations on how to go about doing that:
1. If your coach has assigned a specific TrainerRoad workout, just find the workout and you’re on your way. To find the workout, go to the “Workouts” screen, then type the assigned workout’s name into the “Search Workouts” box.
2. If your coach has built a structured workout in TrainingPeaks, that workout will show up on your “Career” (home) screen if your TrainingPeaks and TrainerRoad accounts are connected. (More on connecting those two apps here.) Just select the workout and go!
3. If you have a workout guideline (an endurance ride, or anaerobic intervals, for example), you can use the Filters within the “Workouts” that hit the target zone and are of the appropriate duration, and select a workout that meets the guidelines.
5. If you’re totally aimless or just needing some specific inspiration, that’s where TrainerRoad really shines. Just go to the”Train Now” screen, select the appropriate duration, and let TrainerRoad recommend workouts for you. (Note that this feature works best when TrainerRoad has your full workout history, including synced workouts from other apps, so that it understands your current fitness.)
Once you’ve selected a workout, all that’s left to do is pedal. If you have a smart trainer paired, TrainerRoad will adjust resistance automatically to follow the intervals shown in the workout. If you’re on a standard trainer, you’ll want to watch your power output and adjust gears as appropriate to hit the intervals shown.
Many of the pre-built TrainerRoad workouts have “coaching,” instructions and conversations that pop up during the workouts. Overall their “coaching” is of high quality, and their drills in many endurance workouts are very beneficial for pretty much anyone.