Free Ride and Open-Ended Intervals (Garmin/Zwift)

Garmin Open Ended Intervals

Open-ended intervals means it will just keep going until you hit the lap button on your Garmin unit.  If you add fr or free-ride to the interval type in our editor you will get Open-Ended workouts on your Garmin device.  You must still include an amount of time for this.  Generally I would put a time similar to what you think you might do.

You can push to Garmin or push to TrainingPeaks and this open-ended feature will work.   One secret trick is if you put 60% in the target FTP% then it will actually show a target of 40-100% on your Garmin meaning it really is a free ride. 

Zwift - Free Ride

Although Free-Ride and open ended are different concepts, I would argue the training focus might be similar.  Meaning it’s a bit unstructured.  This is why we are calling them the same thing.  Type “fr” or “free-ride” in the type box.  So a free-ride section on Zwift means that it goes into resistance or slope mode so you must change your gears to set the appropriate power.  The only way to use this feature is in the ZWO file download.  TrainingPeaks does not support this for example.

8 thoughts on “Free Ride and Open-Ended Intervals (Garmin/Zwift)”

  1. Hi Alex,
    I love the website and the features it offers. Thanks for all the efforts.

    One thing I’m struggling with right now is the “concept” of a free ride. I have some rides, like this one for example or

    Where within the structured workout, I have a 10 min best effort.

    I have a TrainingPeaks account, a Garmin connect account for my Garmin Edge 820, and Garmin Forerunner 935, connecting to my Tacx Vortex smart trainer (ERG enabled). I don’t, not want to, use Zwift.

    TrainingPeaks pushes the workout to my Garmin Connect calendar, which is pushed to my Garmin Edge 820

    Here’s the challenge.

    When the workout is “sent” to TrainingPeaks, the “free ride” section is (translated?) to “steady” 60% of my FTP. And hard as I may try, I can *barely* reach 90-95% of my FTP (And I want to go higher as if I’m in a ramp).

    From your post, I now understand that there seems to be no way to achieve that if I’m using the workout sent to TrainingPeaks and exported to Garmin Connect calendar because TrainingPeaks doesn’t understand “free ride”

    Is there a way to have my Garmin Edge 820 really operate in a “free ride”? If I put FR in the “Type” column and sent the workout to Garmin Connect directly, would the Garmin Edge 820, or even the Forerunner 935 understand it? (I can’t see the details of a workout “sent” to Garmin Connect by a 3rd party).

    Or is my only option to create a ramp, now that you support it, and plan the ramp based on my estimated plan? Would it, for example, go 1% every minute if the row/block is 10 minutes long and the difference between the start and the end is 10%?

    Thank you very much.

    1. Hello MostafaMossaad, thank you, glad you like it. We are actually in the process right now of changing the “free-ride” functionality. We merged the idea of free-ride from Zwift and Open-Ended from Garmin into one term “Free-Ride” when really they are different ideas. After today or tomorrow we will have both “FR” and “OE” in our workout creator to make this more clear. Garmin actually does not support the idea of Free-Ride which means ride at what ever intensity you want (resistance mode, where you change gears), Zwift is the only platform that supports this from a file import perspective. TrainingPeaks also does not support Free-Ride. TrainingPeaks does support Open-Ended Intervals and so does Garmin. Which means ride as long as you want but it does not progress to the next step until you press the lap button. Regarding a ramp, we automatically convert ramps to steps, but we have some magic that converts it. I believe you are asking to be able to do this. Right now you must manually create your steps. I just created a feature request here that I believe is what you want. Vote for it or comment on it if it is 🙂

      I should say also we have a new feature from yesterday that Zone 1 and Zone 2 are now +- 15% rather than +-5% like it was before. Higher intensities are still +-5%. This also might improve your experience.

      1. Thank you, Alex, for getting back to me.

        I ended up creating the steps on Trainer day myself. It gave me more control depending on the strategy I wanted to follow, especially during the FTP test. I reached that idea after even more reading on your website 🙂

        As it is now painfully clear, this is a TrainingPeaks issue (And Garmin Connect), which are the platforms I’m between. I just hope they would support that soon themselves.

        Speaking of TrainingPeaks, you mentioned “magic” converting ramps to steps. I have seen that happen in TrainingPeaks. But I didn’t know if the translation happened on the fly (Magic? 🙂 ) or if TrainingPeaks made the translation when it received the ramp info.

        PS: I can already see, and use, the “FR” and “OE” in the “Type” column, and I’ve seen them translate to “Free Ride” and “Open Ended” in TrainingPeaks.

        Once again, thank you very much.

        1. Thanks for your comments and yes this was my magic but as I mentioned on the Feature Enhancements, I think this magic could be even better than the current magic, or user could select from one of two different magic options.

          1. MostafaMossaad

            Hi Alex,
            I hope all is well. And sorry to disturb you again.
            For some reason. I can’t get FR “Free-Ride” to work with Zwift?
            I have a workout. I set the FR block/step. I save it as ZWO. I place it in the Zwift workout folder. But that block/step doesn’t appear as a Free-Ride.
            What am I missing?

  2. Hello Alex,
    does Wahoo Bolt “understands” open-ended intervals and free-ride intervals or is it just something that works for Garmin?


    1. Hello Laserpez, Open-ended is Garmin only and Free-ride is zwift only, but we will be adding Free-ride to our app (indoor) soon as well.

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