AT doesn't seem to care how hard I'm working

I absolutely love TR, and I believe the development of the progression level algorithm is a breakthrough (pun intended) in cycling training. I’m confused, though, about AT, the post-ride survey, and difficulty levels. Last week, plan builder gave me three workouts which I was able to complete:

  • a level 5.4 SS workout that I marked as moderate
  • a level 5.3 threshold workout that I marked as hard
  • a level 6.8 VO2 workout that I marked as very hard
    All are recent highs, as my fitness is in a rebuilding phase from a summer full of vacation and being sick. Looking at the workout catalog, the “Productive” level workouts for each zone range from the level just completed to exactly one point higher. That seems odd, as my survey answers were significantly different between the three. I could probably do the hardest SS workout in the catalog, but AT thought that anything above a 6.4 was a “stretch” at a minimum. Meanwhile, a level 7.8 V02 workout is probably only going to be “Productive” for me if failure is productive. It seems like AT isn’t taking into account the workout survey when assigning the difficulty ranges.

I can adjust myself, but what would be very helpful is if AT told me ideally how difficult a workout should be. For example, this aerobic ride should be easy, this sweet spot ride should be hard, this other sweet spot ride should be moderate, and this VO2 ride should be very hard. Since AT had my SS progression level so low, my next two sweet spot rides on the calendar were going to be moderate; I knew that already. If they’re supposed to be hard, I need to go into the Stretch or Breakthrough range.

So that’s what I did, I switched the next SS ride for a much harder one (level 7.8). It was hard but doable. Now, suddenly, one of my upcoming SS rides was supposed to be level 8+ and another in the 5s. It probably would have taken a loooong time until a SS workout felt hard if I had not adjusted on my own. It’s not like AT didn’t know that I could do this; I was marking the lower level rides as moderate. So, AT seems to be fine if everything is very hard or is moderate, or whatever. That doesn’t really sound like I’ve got my training dialed.

Am I supposed to be doing moderate work, hard work, or very hard work? Those are very different things, but AT doesn’t seem to care.

try an ftp test. you may under ftp’d

I’m guessing AT is more than just trying to find the absolute highest workout intensity you can complete. There is something to the idea that not all your workouts should be absolutely maximal, since you don’t want to work yourself into such a deep hole that you can’t get out of it,

Speaking just for myself: I’ve let AT do the thinking and taken the progressions as they come. I have found myself improving steadily and not had to bail out of workouts or take unscheduled rest days. It might be worth giving it a go for a few weeks and not try to second-guess it.


Think you hit the nail on the head here. Especially if you’re doing a plan. Don’t forget about natural progression already build into plans. If you really feel like the work is to easy. I would gradually up the intensity. Go from a 5 to 5.5 or 6 not directly to an 8. Trust the program.