2022 – a mini trend for OUTDOOR WORKOUT compatability in cycling (Outside Workouts)

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Outdoor Workouts // Outside Workouts

This year several bike companies have talked about Outdoor Workouts more than they normally do.

It’s always been kinda obvious that, if you are following some sort of plan, you can just go outside and do the workout. So why the need to make this a specific feature? And what would an outdoor workout feature need to include to be useful?

Perhaps surprisingly there are a few different ways of approaching this ranging from the simple to the devilishly clever.

Outdoor Workouts: The Problems

Traffic lights, traffic in general, hills, weather, and a stretch of road simply not being long enough are all factors that will all cause you problems when you head off outside with your power meter and indoor workout loaded onto your Garmin Edge or Wahoo Roam. Often, you simply won’t be able to precisely hit your power duration targets nor the recovery between efforts.

 

The Simple Option

If you have a 3-hour zone 2 ride to look forward to then you know that you can pretty much head off outdoors and remember what you have to do. Sure you’ll go under and over Zone 2 a few times but it won’t really matter and you may well be able to spend more than 90% of your ride time in the target zone. You’ll pretty much get all the correct stimuli you need by doing that.

It becomes much harder to be compliant with your workout goals if intervals are a key component. For example, you might plan to do hill reps to coincide with the intervals but to get that level of timing to exactly match your workout will be near-impossible.

TrainerRoad

Every Trainerroad workout has an outdoor and an indoor version.

The main aspect that sets the outdoor workout apart from the indoor version is that harder efforts/intervals are normally started with a LAP button press. Simply put, you start the hard bit at an appropriate point in the road and when it’s safe.

 

Image|Trainerroad

Trainerroad adds some clever nuances where you can specify days of your plans to be outside days and then the platform automatically syncs the correct, outdoor workout for that day and to your bike computer.

 

Xert

As always, Xert has a clever and more nuanced way to incorporate Outdoor Training workouts.

With the Xert platform, you tell it your goals and the type of rider you want to be and then it matches those criteria with your evolving physiology towards race day using an approach similar in some respects to Wahoo’s 4DP. Each day the Xert engine calculates the suitability of numerous workouts for you and your plan. From the list of recommended workouts, you can see why any workout is suitable and Outdoor Workouts are now included in that evaluation. Just go ahead and choose the mostly highly ranked Outdoor Workout. So long as you complete the appropriate power-durations all will be good.

AI Workouts

AI can play a role here too, although I’ve not seen any solutions that would use this approach. Here are two ways it could work

a) The AI engine would look at your entire workout history and find suitable routes that enabled you to perform to within the correct parameters of the workout it was just about to recommend to you. It recommends the workout and the route where you should go to more easily execute it.

b) The AI can adopt a similar principle at a peer group or population level to determine the local routes where you can best execute threshold rides, reps or whatever kind of ride is planned.

Data Privacy constrains the second of these so the first approach seems the most productive and will necessarily consider routes you know well and frequently ride.

Simple Tweaks

Trainerroad’s simple tweak to replace a hard, forced start to a workout with a button press is a good way to make an indoor workout become outdoor-ready. Another approach also tweaks the interval targets. For example, it’s extremely difficult to hit a precise power level when outside so I expect we will soon see companies changing precise power targets to a target power range. Perhaps you can introduce a +/-5% range around the indoor workout’s interval target?

Takeout

Personally these days I tend to avoid following too rigidly structured plans. One of the reasons is that I enjoy outdoor riding much more than riding on the trainer. I’m sure I’m not alone in being more inclined to follow a plan if it takes into account my desired place of its execution – outdoors, on Zwift, watching TV or wherever.

Ignoring the use of AI, the aspects of outdoor trianing listed above are relatively easy to achieve. Endurance platforms are going to have a few more tricky financial years up to at least 2024, including a good outdoor workout offering is one way to secure revenues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “2022 – a mini trend for OUTDOOR WORKOUT compatability in cycling (Outside Workouts)

  1. Speaking of which, Wahoo updated the ELEMNT Companion App and one the release notes states:
    ***Added: Outdoor Workouts with Wahoo X

    Amongst other things:
    Added: Support for Supersapiens Continuous Glucose Monitor
    Added: ELEMNT Backup and Restore

    🙂

  2. That being said, safe from their release notes, I can’t see any mention of this in the usual Wahoo marketing channels. So I’m not really sure what they’ve done here…

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