Outdoor training without a PM

I’ve both googled this and looked on this forum… I’ve just started with SUF and my plan has outdoor riding at the weekends. This I like a lot as it fits my schedule and preferences (quick turbo sessions during the week and longer real rides at the weekend).
However, I’m not really sure how I would complete these rides as a true workout as I don’t have a power meter on my bike, only on the trainer.
Am I missing something obvious?


RPE would be the obvious answer. This takes practise, in my opinion.

When I ride outside it is always a longer ride at an easier pace. I always record my HR and speed/cadence/power when outside but only for analysis afterwards - very rarely do I look at the numbers when I’m outside.

It’s always worth bringing yourself back to the enjoyment of simply riding simply.


That was kind of my plan to be honest in the absence of a concrete option. Ride for the prescribed time, but just ride… Indoors is better suited for staring at numbers.


I think the outdoor workout have descriptions for the sessions, which includes RPE?


Outdoor workouts also include recommended heart rate zones in their description, so you can also use that and/or RPE if you have a heart rate monitor.

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And honestly, depending on the cranks you have a left sided crank arm PM isn’t that pricey, especially used.

When I’m doing things indoors, I let the program (zwift/sufferfest/etc) control my erg, but I record power using the crank based PM. That way my indoor and outdoor power are consistent.

It’s not necessary as others have pointed out, but it’s certainly helpful.

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For me, it is like not buying a smart trainer. I can’t justify paying for something that is almost equivalent to almost one month’s mortgage.

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Don’t worry - in the good old days, everything was RPE. The fact that smart trainers and bike PM’s have become cheaper, doesn’t mean everybody can afford one.


I hate RPE and really have no perceived idea. It varies from time to time

As does anything else…

I paid like 200 bucks for a used left sided crank PM.
If that’s a month of your mortgage, I want to know where you live so I can buy a house lol.

Seriously though, I remember looking at powertaps and SRM’s in college when I was lucky enough to get ‘gifted’ an old wired SRM. Zero chance I would have been able to afford one but oh my gawd did it make my on the road training better.

If you’re semi serious about stuff, keep an eye out for deals on used left sided crank PM’s. Like Cyclopaat pointed out, it’s not a necessity, but what can I say… I’m a data nerd.

That is helpful. Thank you! Now I’ll know what to keep an eye out for. Last time I checked, used ones were between 6 and 800 bucks. My monthly mortgage is just a bit more than that.

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You can get a new stages or 4iiii for like 300 bucks now. I’ve seen used quarq’s go for 500-600. This is for the shimano and FSA units. If you’re running some of the cannondale SI cranks the prices tend to be a bit higher since there’s more demand since those bikes tend to attract racers. Just checked ebay and looks like sold items show a few shimano ones in the 200-250 range used so looks like it’s still happening.

One sided power meters definitely have their short comings, as folks like to point out that you just double the power that one leg is putting out. But at the end of the day, if you’re improving, you’re improving. Unless you have some biomechanical weirdness or injury at play, you’re probably going to be strengthening both your legs at about an equivalent amount.

And if you have a smart trainer, you can use the trainer to control the erg setting and get power from the PM and see if there’s a difference there.