Are the hard workouts in mid volume easier than low volume?

For the past two years I’ve been doing low volume and this year decided to switch up to mid volume. Usually the hard workout was barely completable for me and pushed me to limited on low volume. Now I’m on mid volume I haven’t come close to being pushed to the limit.

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To best predict difficulty, you want to look at 3 key numbers:

  • Duration
  • IF (Intensity Factor)
  • TSS (Training Stress Score)

When you match these up between two workouts, the one with the higher value in one or all of those numbers is the “more difficult” workout. That said, those numbers ignore the potential difference between riders and their good or bad energy systems. It’s possible that workouts at one level typically feel easier vs others. So those comparisons I mention are decent guides, but not necessarily set in stone.

You can review the plans below for reference. In general, the Mid Vol ones are equal to or higher than the Low Vol ones for the same day in a plan. The MV are longer in some cases at similar IF, and that duration leads to higher TSS as a result.

Sweet Spot Base, Low Volume, Part 1 (Left) <-> Sweet Spot Base, Mid Volume, Part 1 (Right)

So you should typically feel the MV are the same or a touch harder in most cases. Since you say they are easier, I suspect something else is different from your times in LV. Have you changed equipment, trainer, power meter, fans, etc. since then? I suspect there is some external factor that is now different and leading to your experience.


Looking at it side to side it looks like the difference is around week 3 -4. Low volume has eclipse at week 3 and mid volume has it week 4. Those 15-20 minute efforts around FTP are the workout that usually give me the most issues.

My (limited) experience suggests the MV workouts are not hugely harder but there is noticeable difference. In many cases, it’s simply duration, as Chad notes above.

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Can you look back on your history and identify any workouts specifically?

They did actually change a few workouts to make them slightly easier due to high failure rates.

IME MV has always been harder with no exceptions that immediately come to mind.

I had Leavitt+2 in week 1 of my MV program. At a new FTP following the ramp test, that hurt :grimacing:

I’m sure this doesn’t apply in all cases, but it at least seemed to me that some workouts have longer rests between intervals going from LV to MV. Again, I don’t have enough experience to state this definitively, but it seems that there are a lot more 1:30hr workouts than 1hr, and this bump up will often have one more interval/set of intervals as well as longer rests between each interval/set of intervals.