Are TR users getting optimal workouts above FTP?

Probably not according to this article

It’s long been discussed that prescribing intervals over FTP based on % of FTP is not optimal for some people (the reason a lot of people fail VO2 workouts) According to the article above (produced by a company that individualises training) the answer is it could be pretty sub optimal for a high percentage of TrainerRoad users. Would be great if TR used their data to debunk this and prove their method was optimal over a method like 4DP.

What do we think? My question is not whether TrainerRoad makes us better it’s whether % of FTP workouts provide optimal benefits compared to individualised workouts?


Clearly not. Which has been know for a long time and why Sufferfest (MAP, AC, NM), Xert (TP, HIE, PP), WKO (ilevels) use a power duration curve or power profile to prescribe efforts above FTP.

With TR it has been discussed many times to increase or decrease your intervals based on your personal physiology for efforts above FTP. With TR it is a bit of experimentation with the others they try to get a more personalised number.

Personally I’ve used WKOs iLevels for about two years and found then to be much better removing nearly all the guess work although you are always going to have ‘that’ day when you just not ‘on it’ (poor sleep, nutrition, recovery etc.)


I am thinking of doing the same. Do you personalise TrainerRoad workout targets, or do you replace them completely with optimised intervals for FRC or higher workouts?

I used to tweak TR workouts with ilevels but to be honest I just use xert now. Does it all for you.

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Has TR even had a response to this? I’ve wondered about it too.

Not sure you could ever “debunk” it. Their approach comes from simplicity and minimising stress from testing, I believe.

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Im intrigued by xert - no testing required.


TR never claims the ramp test is the optimal test to base all FTP related training off of. TR uses the ramp test because it is the easiest repeatable FTP test that is less dependent on pacing, fatigue, motivation, etc. and doesn’t cause excessive fatigue effecting future training. Basically it works for most and slight adjustments in intensity depending on the workouts will dial each individual user in. TR relies on educating the user to make these adjustments.

TR is moving towards an adaptive model that will adjust workouts based on past performance and less dependent on the users’ knowledge on how to adjust intensity. This is probably a bit of a ways out, but this is the future rather than a 4dp type test.


Where have I missed this?

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They’ve hinted to this in the podcasts and forum for a while now. It’s on the TR roadmap getting attention, but is likely a big lift.


Both, if I knew of a TR workout that was close I would edit it, but more and more I ended up creating my own.
In the end it was easier for me in TrainingPeaks, I have a library of sessions from free plans that came with various pieces of hardware over the years, Stages Power Meter, Elite Trainer, Wahoo, Free British cycling plans etc. I have a few plans that cost about £20 - £30. I created copies and edited some of these plus added some from scratch. I save these to libraries, Endurance, Tempo, Sweetspot, Threshold, FRC, PMax etc., these are easy to edit or directly sync to a head unit.

I discontinued my subscription of TR, I kept it out of loyalty for about 18 months but I wasn’t really using it. It became an expensive workout player.


If plan builder was big, this would be huge.

Not quite true.

Xert is only on the money when you feed maximum efforts into it. Max equals test. Not in the same way as a ramp, but smacking yourself until you’ve exceeded MPA for 5 sec is a trip to suckville nonetheless.


This is my concern, the interface is really good but seems like they’re hanging too much marketing on the plan builder which is really cool but just a plan time saver. I’d be interested in understanding more about different testing beyond FTP tests (something has always felt incomplete about that, in any protocol), as well as xerts take on non-testing and dynamic workouts. Imagine a TR interface with a smart workout.

And I think TR needs to respond to that sooner than later. If a smart workout or non-testing, or a 4D style test is inferior, why?


End of the day, my question is what’s better. Of course there’s no avoiding a ridiculous hard effort to test fitness. In the same way Garmin spits out an estimated FTP increase after a 20 min power PR, that wasn’t free or easy but there might be something to getting that number from a ride versus a ramp test. Or any other scheduled FTP test.

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^^^^ This is true.
You still have to fed any model with max efforts be it through formal tests like with Sufferfest or informal tests breakthrough sessions in Xert or using the ‘Normalized Residuals Chart’ or ‘Best Times for Informal Testing’ in WKO.

There is no such thing as a free lunch, no model can predict future performance, at best it would be a guess which would likely be worst than basing intervals above FTP off FTP, which I’d guess it why TR haven’t done it yet.

As my reply above cannot see how that can be possible, if it is always based of past performance your interval targets just get less and less unless you do a max effort

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That would be pretty cool, but it would have to be as now I’m no longer Grandfathered in TR is pretty much twice the price. lol.

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I don’t believe there will be an always in any type of adjustments via IA. I see it more as a pop-up that would be state “You’ve turned down or cut short your last 3 VO2 max workouts, consider reducing intensity by 5% for the beginning intervals and increase if needed.” Basically its learning your ability for better training.

I get what you are saying, makes sense. Equally you’d need to ‘bust’ the model ever so often so it learns you’ve become more capable, effectively what is generally called an informal test or breakthrough.

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I have used SF/4DP and XERT, and do use WKO4 for analysis (but don’t use iLevels… seems over the top and I can never remember them). I gave up on XERT because I was too far into TR/TP/WKO and didn’t see the added value or enough of a reason to change (may have been different as a new user of everything though).

I definitely see the benefit of individualized zones / workouts, and think that is the future. But from my perspective, I know my relative sprint/v02max/FTP power (I still do power profile testing focusing on 12sec to 5 minutes), and know that I should bump up TR vo2max workouts. As mentioned above XERT/WKO4/SF all require max efforts to get a decent power profile and parameter estimates, so you need to be doing that anyways to get valid training zones/targets for high intensity work. Those programs/algorithms help translate your profile into targets, and while it would be a nice to have, I don’t need TR to do that for me. I like the simplicity of TR.