Riding Outside and getting the best out of Xert

I’ve been using Xert for a few weeks now and have found the data useful. I do a lot of group rides outside that have a mixture of flats / hills. My outdoor rides usually meet my XSS target or get me in a position that i have some surplus. I’ve also done a few Xert rides indoors when the weather has been bad.

As an FYI my Garmin is the 510, so I cant load any Xert software when riding outdoors.

Although I’m meeting my XSS values when riding outside is this enough in terms of meeting my Xert training goals for my event later this year?

My opinion only - Hitting XSS target might not be enough. IMO, you should have 2 (maybe 3) really hard sessions per week, and the rest should be easy Z2 work. If your hit a couple of hard group rides per week this might be enough, but if you are always doing hard group rides, you might end up constantly under-recovered. Then when you try to smash your key hard sessions, they could end up only medium-hard so you don’t gain as much as you might have from these key sessions.

I find that lots of complicated Xert workouts don’t translate well to outdoor riding, but sessions like the Ronnestad sessions or simple interval sessions like 8x3, 4x8, 2x20 etc translate quite well. Personally I prefer hill repeats to fixed intervals if I am outside, but I do some simple interval sessions too, and the occasional group ride. Even the easy Xert workouts are quite complicated, and are fine for the trainer, but outdoors, I basically end up doing a lot of Z2 kms for the easy sessions.

Are you seeing regular breakthroughs on Xert and is your critical power increasing? This is a easy way to see if you are on track.

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Important to remember is the Focus that’s needed for workouts. If your status is yellow (“Tired” status), your Focus will have Endurance recommended and you should always do your best to heed that advice. Repeatingly ignore yellow in favour of higher intensity is likely going to have you plateau sooner.

When your status is blue or green, don’t always ride easy. Take the opportunity to go hard. Doesn’t have to be intervals per se but put yourself above threshold like you would during an event or hard group ride. Go for breakthroughs.

The Garmin 510 or any non-Xert bike computer is perfectly fine. You’ll just need to have a bit more awareness of things like your LTP for Endurance rides and the feeling of pushing closer to your limit on high-intensity rides. Roughly 60XSS per hour of riding is a good number to use. After your rides, you’ll see how Xert interprets the efforts and how the rides contributes to your improvements.

Hi, thanks for the reply.
I’ve only been using Xert a few weeks, but have had some breakthroughs. The rides we do outside are pretty hard, but looking at the stats seems like more benefit is made from doing the xert rides as they are structured.

When you do Zone 2 focused rides outside, do you still try and meet your XSS for that day?

thanks for the good tips!

When you do Zone 2 focused rides outside, do you still try and meet your XSS for that day?

Sort of, but I am not exactly following Xert’s recommended XSS, so I am probably not the best person to answer this question. If Xert says I have a deficit, I try to increase volume of the next few days, if possible.

I do try to do a few 2 hr Z2 rides and maybe a 1 hr easy ride per week (it varies, and they are not all strict Z2). I also try to do short hard sesion during the week, and a long ride on the weekend, and I just try to fit this in as I can.

Anyway, I am seeing my training load increase gradually, and I am seeing small breakthroughs every few weeks so I am ok with this.

I actually find Xert’s analysis can give you some insights into your training, regardless if it indoors or out. For example - looking at peak strain, high strain and low strain separately (on my fitness → progression chart-> then choose the strain from the dropdown) might show me that I have too many consecutive days with lots of high and peak strain, or it might remind me that I haven’t had a really hard session in a while.

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Depending on your budget and how clean (or not) you like your handlebars, you can have either a different bike computer or just a phone. There is plenty of discussion in the forum about it.

If you have Xert metrics during the ride you can tailor your ride (ish) to meet the recommendations


Do you mean Z2 out of 5/7 (most other platforms) or Z2 out of 3 (Xert/Polar)?
Sweet Spot, Threshold and Polarized Training … By the Numbers – Xert (baronbiosys.com)

I would say Yes you could monitor XSS, ride mostly outdoors, and successfully prepare for your event but it depends on your goals for that event.
Is it a gran fondo/century type ride where you’d like to see how well you do for your personal satisfaction? Or a race you’ll be competing in your class with hopes of placing in the top twenty? :grimacing:
The former is more of a general fitness goal you can reach by managing TL (doing your own thing as @brianj suggests) where the latter is performance focused that benefits from targeted training (set event date/focus and follow XATA recommendations as @xertedbrain mentions). See third reference link below for details.

When you view your ride activities the table in upper right shows focus/duration and specificity (pure, mixed, or polar). Group dynamics will control the intensity and what focus/specificity results from your group rides. Perhaps you can choose between no-drop C/D group rides versus A/B hammer and drop slugfests. :slight_smile: In either case if you are not time-crunched you should consider some long solo rides to accumulate LI time (< LTP). Group rides are rarely conducive to accomplishing that.
Solo is also a prerequisite to complete workouts that are practical to replicate outdoors. There are three approaches to riding outdoors – Xert Data Fields on my Garmin - Support - Xert Community Forum (xertonline.com)

Since you’re a newbie I suggest you also review additional tips in this thread –
Beginner questions - Support - Xert Community Forum (xertonline.com)

Xert Strain Score – Xert (baronbiosys.com)
Specificity Rating – Xert (baronbiosys.com)
Stress, Focus, Specificity and Strain – Xert (baronbiosys.com)