Are sprint/anaerobic only workouts rated at proper TSS?

I have begun to doubt that TR’s listed TSS for sprint/anaerobic is correct.
For example a 50 minute such workout, Stangate, asks for 9 sprints of 30 sec at 225% FTP, everything else is ultra-easy recovery.
It gives a 1.03 intenstiy and 88 TSS.

A threshold workout, Thunderbolt for example (only 45 min), ends up with .89 intensity 60 TSS.

For me the the sprint workout is really easy, I can do them every day and not need recovery, they dont feel like the high TSS given to them.

I find the longer more moderate intervals much more difficult, they also accumulate a much higher avg wattage per workout, and require more recovery. They feel like much higher TSS than a comparable time sprint workout.

Is it just me or do sprints throw off the TSS system?

I think you should set higher targets in these sprints.
I am terrible at sprints and for me it is hard to reach these levels calculated from my FTP.

Do not look that much at TSS. All TSS is not created equal, but it is still a valuable metric of your weekly load.

TSS works by raising the 30 second smoothed power to the power of 4 and then reducing by the root of 4 after taking the average.

This is because generally the rate of production of lactate above your anaerobic threshold is a function to the power of 4 against the power output, and thus the training stress and normalized power is designed to account for the physiological cost of surges. And thus, sprinting skews the normalized power and thus TSS up because of the exponent and working at higher power.

This means that higher power skews the TSS up because of the exponent. I.e if you raise 2 to the power of 4 the answer is 16, whereas if you raise 3 to the power of 4 the answer is 81. Or an example in cycling, if your threshold is 300 watts and you do 600 watts, while you are producing double the power, the physiological cost is actually 16 times greater, as you are producing 16 times more lactate, not twice as much.

This though can be quite individual to the person, and some people are a lot more anaerobic and can really punch out high power numbers a lot more, which you may be.

To answer your question, it doesn’t fall down because TSS is just a metric to try and track the training load you are putting on your body based on the physiological cost of your efforts and ride, it isn’t going to be perfect but it will give you a rough idea of what you are doing and were you are at. And while TSS does equate various intensities and durations quite well, remember that not all TSS is created equal, think 2 hours at half of your threshold power will give you the same TSS as an hour at your threshold, but that is going to feel way different.

A lot of this comes back to the volume vs intensity debate, and requires a bit of subjective judgement on your or your coaches behalf and how you feel after various sessions and how it is impacting your plan and how it is leading toward you achieving your goals.

Thanks for the thorough explanation, I understand what you are saying, even if I did know not the actual X rates.
Here’s the thing though, does lactic acid production really make a difference in workouts of shorter duration with big clearing periods between efforts? Maybe the formula needs to to consider the effect of time over the workout? Use heart rate creep or something; I never see creep when I do these sprint workouts under an hour, and I always see creep in even 30 min workouts at sweet spot or better intensity.

Ive never been one to produce really big wattage and never considered myself a sprinter, I have always been good though at clearing lactic acid and repeating efforts, maybe its just my physiology. Problem is the mental impact of a really hard week that accumulates low TSS vs an easy week that accumulates high TSS.

I think that lactate production in terms of TSS is just a vehicle used to drive the formula rather than anything else.

My advice would be not to stress about TSS and CTL that much, take it for what it is, an objective metric that tries to estimate the stress a session places on your body, nothing more and nothing less. I used to focus on TSS and CTL way too much and it lead to burnout. Remember that it is a secondary performance indicator, not a primary one like your power output.

Different people cope with different types of workouts differently, and it is way more important to be in tune with your body and focusing on performance. Who cares if the CTL or TSS is low or high if your power numbers are improving and you feel good. And, the bonus is that these metrics become even more useful when you can add your personal context to it over time and increase your understanding of how you respond to sessions and various levels of CTL or TSB.

Unfortunately I don’t think there is a clearer answer for you, or a clearer answer that I can provide anyway.