Adaptive Training & reducing intensity

I find that for vo2 max workouts during a training plan, I need to work at 115% ftp instead of the typical 120% ftp of intervals, or I quickly dig a training hole for myself over a few sessions.

I’m wondering how adaptive training will handle it if I set intensity to 96% at the beginning of every vo2 max workout? Will it start to serve me up less intense or less progressive workouts? If so, what’s the best strategy, refuse the adaptations? I feel that this would just lead to a non-adaptive plan.

Apologies if this has been asked/answered elsewhere but I did search.

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For starters, here is what you can expect:


Good to know, cheers

Personally, this is a question I have considered for a while and needed to submit to the cast for consideration. They routinely recommended Workout Intensity adjustments for this and other reasons in the past podcast discussion.

Doing that now has new and different impact, and I’d like a clear answer about it.


I dropped the intensity down a few % on one workout and AT seemed to give me zero credit for it - it was a reasonable step in PL but to get nothing for doing the ride @ 98% felt a bit cheated. Pre AT the team’s advice had always been you would get more out of completing a workout with a small drop in intensity rather than blowing up before the end

If you know 115% is the best intensity for you, why not use workout alternates to switch to a workout that has the intervals at 115%?


Yes, thanks @mcneese.chad. That’s my thought too.

In addition to the advice of the other other Chad on various podcast episodes, there’s some great posts here on the forum also, explaining that 120% ftp is an estimate of the ideal productive level for vo2 for most people. But like all things population-related, there’s a bell curve underlying.

I think that for me 115% is the ‘right’ level to be productive and repeatable through my training plan. In this way, it’s the workout that’s ‘wrong’. I would fear that AT will suggest less productive vo2 sessions, still at 120%, and so a spiral could take hold when I again dial down the intensity. Rejecting the adaptation each time means that effectively I no longer have an AT plan.

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Sounds like a good podcast question, just saying
Because I wonder what their advice is!

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Thanks - will check it out to see if these are available.

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Levels for custom workouts doesn’t align 1 to 1 to the levels of TR workouts, so this might not give the outcome you expect.

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For clarity, the PL results from Custom Workouts is variable. Sometimes they align well with similar ones in the TR catalog. Other times they are WAY out of line. It’s not possible to predict until they are created at this time. They are aware of the issue and seem to plan to address it some point in the future.

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I’ve submitted the question to the podcast so let’s see if it gets picked up.


Thanks for doing that! I need to re-listen, but I almost think they indirectly gave us an answer via the VO2 Max discussion at the tail end of yesterdays podcast (around 2 hours in?). I will try to grab a link for everyone.

This is the start of the main VO2 section, but I will try to find what I think is more specific to this topic and link it when I get there.

Upon 2nd listen, I don’t think my first instinct was right. This is tangential at best and still should be addressed specifically via podcast, IMO.

There are plenty of VO2 workouts in the range from 106-120%. If alternates doesn’t work for you, you can browse the workout catalog and find what you are looking for.

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Yeah, in the current AT state, this is likely the right direction. I’d start with Alternates, but it’s possible that these will not quickly offer the right combo.

So getting acquainted with the filters in the TR Workout library is worthwhile. You can cut down to a decent list with the filters and even add some search terms to find a workout that should be closer to what you think you need vs the prescribed one.

Looks like this setup needs some updates to match the current filters for consistency, but this is a decent place to start for those not familiar with the search tools.

Yep there are options but it does mean AT is not quite as plug and play as its sometimes portrayed. That said I still think its a great product and Alternates is way better than the system before when it was much harder to find a similar type of workout but tweak the intensity or duration or rest intervals etc.

I’m starting Base 2 in a couple of weeks and the first vo2 scheduled is Brasted. There’s about 20 alternates listed but all are in the range 120% - 135% vo2. There’s no alternate at 115 (or lower vo2)

I’m quite ok to reduce intensity and I suppose I will just reject adaptations.

Different question - will the AT take intensity reduction of this workout into account when adapting after a future workout? Or does it adapt just based on most recent workout? I mean that if I reject adaptations after Brasted and then there’s adaptations suggested after next workout, will those suggested adaptations include that I partially ‘failed’ Brasted?

You could look at Grassy Ridge - that’s 115% although 30/30s.

I think if you replace the workout in your plan and then complete the survey it bases the adaptions off what you’ve done, not the “original” plan.

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I would tend to agree, but when you select alternates you no longer get the workout alternates i.e. -1, -2 etc… but alternates that are the same pl.

For me, I’m choosing a vo2 workout based on work and rest interval durations. Target watts are a general guide, so I’m not really seeing AT pick alternates like I’d prefer. Most of the lower pl vo2 works are very short work rates, some with very long rest intervals.