Hints for training outside

Now lockdown is over I’m keen to take my training outside. But it just takes a small hill and the activity focus overshoots my base training objectives. Does anyone have advice on taking Xert outdoors and managing efforts to target focus? Thanks!!!

Xert doesn’t really work well with outside training, unless you live in an area like mine, with long (10 km) straights in a pancake flat area. And uniterupted by traffic lights or priority crossings.

You might want to try and find a workout that would ‘fit’ into your route, but the best thing to do, is just ‘do your own thing’ and throw in some excersise (sprints for instance) and just meet your XSS target for the workout.

If possible, try specificity and focus, otherwise, just ride.

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To reach your Focus goals, consider the target Focus Duration and resulting Focus Power. For example, if you’re targeting Climber, with Focus Duration of 10 minute power, look up your 10 minute power (say it’s 300W) and this should be power target you can focus on during your ride.

If you do intervals at 300W, the deeper you go and the more of them you do, the more training benefit you get (XSS at the target FD) and the higher the specificity rating at the target FD. If however, you combine intervals above 300W with longer recovery intervals, you can still achieve the same FD but the specificity rating will start to drop.

If you’re finding that your Focus Duration is too short during a ride, do longer intervals just below threshold to lengthen it (longer, harder recovery intervals lengthen FD). If your FD is too long during a ride, do harder efforts with less recover intensity to shorten it.

Of course you can do our smart workouts outdoors although the more interruptions and variation you have during the workout, the more it may drift from the original Focus Duration.

Hope this helps.


There are large numbers of athletes that using our workout players outdoors. The smart intervals with variable duration and/or power help make workouts more doable in an outdoor environment.

Notably, workouts with harder intervals benefit from the shortening/lengthening of recovery intervals so that they can be performed with greater success and benefit.

For workouts with longer focus duration, it is better to have uninterrupted longer stretches of road to perform the longer intervals but otherwise most roads should be fine.

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I respectfully disagree.

I mean, not on the fact whether or not large numbers of athletes are using the player, as I cannot have an idea on that, but on the usefulness of doing it.

You need an almost deserted playing ground to be able to get away with it. If you have a SMART workout, it only gets worse if you don’t.

Imho and as stated, if you have the backyard to do it - or are willing to travel to one - then okay, it’s doable. If not, don’t try it, lest you’ll end up in the hospital…

Thanks Armando, I was drawn to Xert by the feature of mixing indoor with outdoor training so appreciate your feedback. I’ll try smart workouts to see if they help.
As a returning cyclist my power signature might also be quite flat which may be why I don’t have a big difference between different durations when trying to manage the focus.
Maybe you could add the practicalities of outdoor training to an upcoming podcast?
Many thanks for a great system.

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I’m probably somewhere in between on this. Agree it’s not safe to try and do high intensity workouts in town (cars, traffic lights, pedestrians etc), but you could manage the more endurance type interval sessions on your way out of the city… interruptions matter a little less, you are going slower, and need less concentration to hit power targets and care less about being perfect with interval duration… less need to look at / listen to your bike computer too often…

For me, outdoors is mostly endurance in practice (so almost no interval target to remember, maybe a power ceiling e.g. 90% LTP to keep it easy… but know others target sweet spot… each to their own). Sometimes I’ll do a hard ride outside by pushing hard up some hills. In that case I ride to focus as suggested by @xertedbrain… I very rarely use the player though… agree it’s possible, but honestly can’t bring myself to ‘recover’ three quarters of the way up a hill, just because an interval timer says I should…

Back to the OP, only other obvious ‘tip’ is to learn to ride slowly up hills. I always used to push up a hill instinctively but it’s possible not to. Get in the granny gear and use low cadence if you need to, and it should be OK to ride endurance intensity on most hills. You then need to get used to people riding past you and maybe looking at you funny…

Other thought is that you may need to pause a workout on the way back down in order to hit power targets safely on the flat / uphill again. MPA will recover while paused, so you may need to do another hard effort to draw down MPA before unpausing, if the workout calls for an effort under fatigue.


Just curious, do people use certain type of workouts for outside?
I’ll try to use SMART workouts so manage the correct XSS but presumably some workout styles can be easier to manage riding outdoors than others. Is there a search field for this?
Thanks for the comments about taking hills slowly to manage focus.

The vast majority of my outdoor workouts are done at or a bit below VT1 which I can feel from my breathing.

I have just populated my personal workout library with a range of workouts that go up in 5 XSS increments, but which all have XSS/hr set at 60. I then name the workout the same as the calculated XSS. So a 90 minute ride would have an XSS of 90 and be named 90XSS. This way the XATA planner with the Filter set to Personal quickly shows me exactly how much XSS I’m trying to meet each day. I then ride to meet the XSS target and just use the time as a rough guide.


Super helpful…thanks!

I also ride to feel and / or HR more on longer outdoor rides, but do keep an eye on power as it can take time for HR and breathing to adjust to power increases.

The Adaptive Training Adviser tells you your target XSS for the day (above the Training Pacer), and it’s easy to divide that by 60 (or whatever XSSR you normally do) to get the target hours, so not sure you need to create a workout for that? Or do you still actually run the workout outdoors? (If you have a Garmin, the data fields give more flexibility than the workout player as you can still access other screens on your bike computer… eg it can show the XSS for the ride as you go)

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I watch power too, especially on hills.

I like to plan out four week blocks with 3 weeks of building and 1 week held at the current training load which gives me a slight positive form at the end of block . I’m shooting for a gain of 10 points per 4 weeks which XATA achieves with a Moderate-1 ramp.

It’s easy to enter a few key rides and then let XATA fill in the blanks and it’s easy to change if things don’t go quite to plan. I couldn’t care about focus duration at this stage as my prime objective is to double my training load whilst staying healthy.


ah ok - can see it’s useful if you want to populate the planner

I’m curious as to how you lay out your 60XSS/hr workouts. Do you just have a straight XSSR rate or do you use intervals to balance out a final XSS of 60/hr?


Why’s that?


That would do my head in, riding for 90 minutes at the same watts. No warm up or Cool down either?

@Old_Major is using these low intensity/endurance workouts to block out portions of the Planner based on XSS targets as time (60 XSS = 60 minute ride, etc.).
Warm-up/cooldown isn’t a factor since the purpose is to designate time slots for outdoors rides ridden with LTP./VT1 in mind. No need to monitor watts at all. If you can’t carry on a conversation you’re going too hard. :slight_smile:


Ah sorry. So you’re not actually riding those sessions indoors? Sorry I misread.

Because XATA will give me an appreciable amount of time between VT1 and TP for practically every ride that it schedules. I simply don’t want to be getting into fight or flight mode that often.