"Achievable" Workouts Are Not Productive

At least that’s the warped perception my brain gets when AT suggests I change a workout from “Productive” to “Achievable”.

I did a threshold workout last week and it almost broke it. It suggested I changed this week from “Productive” to “Achievable”. I declined assuming last week may have been an anomaly due to fatigue. Nope, they got it right as I couldn’t complete this mornings workout without dropping the intensity 5% on the last set. So next week I will indeed drop down to “Achievable” but I kinda feel like a loser, or at the very least I’m going backwards. Thoughts?


I try to think of it as “maintaining”. I’m fighting the same mindset as you


Do the workout you think is best for you that day. Don’t worry if it says “Productive” or “Achievable.” One workout is not what is causing you to adapt or not adapt and if you pass it with ease, you can stretch on the next one. If it’s hard, you know you got it right. I don’t think repeating a workout or a workout level is a bad thing at all.


A rose by any other name…

For reference, here is the official TR support article related to these terms. It’s useful to see that in their specific context vs what we might make of them without that insight.

One thing to point out is I think they need to revise this. It says “Achievable” workouts are “below” your progression levels and “Productive” are “at or just above.” In my experience and checking just now, a workout that is at the same exact progression level, in my case VO2 4.9, is labeled as “Achievable.” So according to the definition, "achievable should be “At or below” and “productive” should be “above.”


The “Productive” workout I did today (albeit poorly) was;
Threshold 5.2:
TSS® 115 / 118 IF® 0.87 / 0.89
Next weeks “Achievable” Workout is
Threshold 4.5
TSS 113 IF 0.87

If you look at what I achieved in todays workout (TSS: 115/ IF 0.87) it pretty much lines up with next weeks workout.

What were the two specific workouts?

I went through almost exact same scenario.

Did finished a productive ride at 5.9 and listed it at very hard (just started weight training again), my next 4 rides were scaled back to 5.6, 5.3, 5.5, and 5.8 with the 5.6, 5.3 ending up very hard, then 5.5 and 5.8 were hard so it got me back on the right track even though it sent me back a couple weeks. Ride after that was 6.4 which was completed was also hard. It knew I was fatigued based on the very hard response on the original 5.9 ride and instead of keeping the progressions going it set me back a bit, but I felt better being back at the 6.4 ride now.

I trust AT now.

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Mary Austin -1 and Fernow

Me too. I’ve also been having issues with calibrating my Kickr Core. So sometimes I wonder if the resistance is being jacked up due to calibration inconsistencies.

And you turned down Mary Austin -1 by 5%?

I completed the first 3 1/2 sets, turned down the last 2 1/2 by 5%. Last week I did Warlow +1 and that was max effort but I managed to complete it. This one felt harder. Next week is Fernow.

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Seems like AT is dialling you in as expected :ok_hand:.

Yeah, I think this is a good decision. you are getting to the level of workout that really tip you over the edge. What I would consider to be close to where Progression Levels and FTP increase meet and if you keep trying to bang through that wall by continuing to progress, you can really overdo it. I think dialing back a bit to the easier fernow is a prudent move. You will still benefit from it, but it may not end your block, like a harder workout than MA might.

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Agreed. Alas I’m not longer “productive” :smile:

Agreed. Hopefully I’ll be able to complete it!

The article has been updated. :sunglasses:


It’s valid to be concerned that if you don’t knock every workout out of the park and aren’t always pushing it, you’re going backwards. Valid, but not necessarily accurate, especially at the rate at which you’ve been completing your workouts with a high rate of compliance AND racing and adding volume?! Killer!

That said, it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like not challenging yourself for every workout means you’re being stagnant. That mindset can quickly lead to burnout and plateaus in fitness. Easier and more achievable workout (in combination with those really challenging ones) are what allow you to recalibrate, recover, and let that fitness set in so that you can ultimately keep doing more difficult workouts as a result. They all have their place!

Keep up the solid work, and take advantage of those chiller workouts to recharge and prep for whats to follow.


Sound advice. And it never ceases to amaze me that TR and staff like yourself go to the effort of following up, even on forum posts. I joined TR for many reasons, but the main one was the people that run it. Chapeau to all of you and thanks. xoxo


Thanks so much for the love! Passing this along to the team as well, lots of folks behind the scenes to help make TR great that would be stoked to hear it.