I’m new to the forum, but not to TR. I did some searching around on this issue, but didn’t really find an answer.
Like a few other people on here, I’m finding AT to be easy, boring, and unproductive. I’m just finishing up SSB-LV1, and I have to say I’m really disappointed. In the past, the SSB workouts have been challenging and required me to focus (sometimes really focus), but the AT workouts are just… meh. They were so easy after my first week that I did another ramp test, thinking I must have sandbagged the first one – my new FTP was a point or two higher, but no real difference.
So anyway, here I am in week 5, just about to finish up, and I feel like I’ve just wasted the past month. After each workout, I’ve rated them as mostly ‘easy,’ occasionally moderate, but the adaptations have been only incrementally harder. Compared to my first-ever SSB, where I finished up with a threshold 5.0 workout, I’ll do a 4.5 workout today. [I’m in about the same shape now that I was back then.] I haven’t been adjusting the intensity of individual workouts, since I was trying to follow the plan, though I did throw in a few V02s just to do something interesting and challenging.
What do I do? Keep going with SSB-LV2? Increase workout intensity by a few % points? I thought about recreating the non-AT plans by looking back at my calendar, but that kind of defeats the purpose of using (and paying for) TR. I’m trying to trust the process, but the training feels haphazard and unproductive – and if I wanted that, I could get it cheaper on Zwift. There’s also a psychological component for me – I really liked and appreciated the challenge of past plans and having to really focus to complete the workouts – and when I finished them, I felt like I had really achieved something. Now, I just re-watch episodes of Lost.
[In terms of overall goals, I’m a purely recreational cyclist, if that matters. No racing here.]
AT is conservative (small ‘c’), it will take a while to build you up. You don’t say if you are using Plan Builder, if you don’t put in a target event then it defaults to a year of training so it will build you up over that period. After all why “peak” in two months?
Maybe raise a ticket with support and ask them to look over things. There’s a possibility that the system hasn’t picked up on things.
Ramp test may not work for you and underestimate your ftp, which would have a big impact on your threshold intervals.
If your power curve is “flat”, meaning you are more a time trial type, the ramp test underestimate your ftp. If you are more a punchy rider, with good short term efforts, the ramp will overestimate your ftp.
After posting this morning, I did the last 1:30 workout, and it was… dead easy. These usually kill me, especially if they have over-unders, so the AT is definitely not adjusting to me. And this was after being on my feet at work yesterday in 100F heat, walking 13,000 steps and climbing 45 flights of stairs – my legs should have been toast by the end, but I didn’t even start feeling tired until the last couple of minutes. I appreciate Coach Chad’s encouragement to clear the burn, but there was no burn.
I’l submit a ticket, as someone suggested, and go from there.
You sound like me in Feb. Ramp test underestimate me big time (long time triathlete here) and even more so after off-season. I wanted to do structured training but ramp test doesn’t work for me.
I found there were 3 problems:
estimate of my FTP was too low
AT 's upslope is too gentle
after any FTP bump, AT nerfs the PL way down.
That means it would take many months to reach challenging but doable wo. All of these point out that TR caters more to (or is optimized for) young crit racers and TR doesn’t want AT to make them hit a wall.
I did the old FTP 2x 8min test then updated FTP with AI feature every 2 wks. I kept choosing alternates Stretch or Breakthrough wo over and over. Also when my FTP was measured by AI FTP to be higher, AT would nerf all my PL but i ignored the nerfing and continued to pick PL as if there had been no nerfing.
After a month, my wo stopped being Easy all the time. My ftp went from 213 to 241W in 4 wks! I doubt my fitness increased that much. It just took a few weeks to get into the challenging but doable workout zones 3months later, I’m at 260W. I found the early Build period quite difficult but it’s ok now, i can do them but I’m getting quite tired.
IMHO this seems to be the issue: your FTP is not set correctly and because of the large spread AT is kinda helpless here.
Given the spotty data the 2x8-minute FTP test produces, I would suggest you use the ramp test and then verify the FTP with two, three, four workouts. At least you should try a 4x10 minutes at threshold test and a 4x3-minute VO2max workout. I usually like to throw in an outdoor ride where I give it the beans on a few climbs I have done many times before and know what a good time looks like (at least Strava does). Of course, you can go for harder workouts, but that isn‘t necessary. If these workouts are very easy, then your FTP is likely set too low. And if these workouts are too hard, lower your FTP by a few percentage points and try again.
(No matter what FTP test you opt for, you should always validate your data if you are not sure. Moreover, if you are not in the neighborhood, I wouldn‘t trust AI FTP blindly. Especially without a good baseline, I wouldn‘t trust AI FTP‘s numbers as it requires good data as input — computer scientists would say “Garbage in, garbage out.”)
But if they are really too easy - switch one out for a Stretch workout using Alternates. This will bump your PLs up and the future workouts should adjust. This is a better approach than increasing the intensity by a few % IMO.
I do this quite a bit if I haven’t done a WO in a particular zone for a while. In particular I pretty much ignore the PLs on endurance WOs - as I do almost all endurance work outside, just the odd filler indoors.
I’m confused by your post. Did you use plan builder? It sounds like you are (SSB-LV1) but if so, each week is going to be harder than the one prior and you’re in week 5. That means that it was so far off for you that 5 weeks of growth in the plan is still below where you should have been in week 1.
Your goal is to find workouts that push you but don’t kill you. You’re only doing 3/wk so err on the side of hard. Set your own FTP to find a week 1 that challenges you and then let it build from there until your first rest week. If you finish the block but have moments where you had concerns and doubts - you’ve got it setup correctly.
Yeah, I definitely see your point, but even the stretch workouts are too easy! I think the AT is just way, way off for me – Week 5 workout 3 was Reinstein and was labeled as a stretch, but it turned out to be a doddle.
Hey! We can provide some insight but need more context first.
Do you feel like you came into this block with some fitness? Is it possible that you were ready for a build phase that has more challenging workouts across more zones? (ie what made you want to choose sweet spot base first in the scope of your training?)
My last Threshold workout of SSBLV1 was Warlow (4.7) so we ended up at roughly the same spot. I rated that as Moderate. Which probably means it was somewhere between Moderate and Hard. Definitely not a doddle.
If you’re doing over/unders and they’re a doddle then it’s very likely you’re not doing over/unders!
It’s hard to escape the conclusion that your FTP is low.
If it was me, I’d be looking back to the last time I did similar workouts in a previous season (forget PLs … just look at the work) and comparing. 5 × 9 minutes over/unders at 110%/95% should always feel similarly hard, if your FTP is about right.
Early on in this plan (I can’t remember which workout), the over-unders seemed okay, but maybe not as hard as they should have been, so yeah, my ftp is probably a bit low; in the past, the 1:30 over-under workouts absolutely destroyed me – I’m pretty sure that Palisade actually made me cry the first time I did it.
So, I basically came into the block off the couch – I had surgery last Nov and it put me completely out of commission for a couple of months. I was running a bit in Feb-April, but hadn’t biked at all in months and hadn’t completed a training block in almost a year. I’m on my feet all day for work, so I wasn’t a complete blob, maybe just 50% blob.
My ramp test when I started this plan was about where I was when I first started structured training back in March 2020 (about what I expected, given all that time off the bike), but maybe it’s possible that I progressed more quickly than I expected, once I did get back on.
Secondly, one major caveat. I’m doing 2 hard workouts a week, and ditching one for an endurance ride. So while this approach works for me, I’m fresher hitting those workouts than someone doing 3 hard workouts a week. I’m sure TRs data is based off doing the 3 - I’m probably setting off alarm bells for @IvyAudrain with some of this advice😅.
I’m finding the same regarding the PL levels and the progression curve. I had a couple of weeks of the workouts being too easy, and then when I was finally getting somewhere getting a new FTP, levels drops and feeling like I was losing progress.
I started using alternatives, as suggested above, to push through more aggressively. I find that generally works. If, however, I’ve a new FTP I’ll choose a workout I’m familiar with, and, know I can complete if my FTP is anyway accurate.
For VO2 it’s Mills - I’ve done it so often over the last few years I know I’ll get through it. For threshold is Kaweah or Kaweah-1 (depending on how I’m feeling). For SS is Spruce Knob-1 or maybe Round Bald (I tend to skip SS a lot for long rides though). If you could find benchmark workouts for yourself, you could reset your levels quickly after an FTP bump.
Others have suggested looking at the intervals. For example, if you’ve recently done a threshold workout of 4x10mins @105% (270watts say). And now you’re FTP is increased and it’s dropped you down at 4x8 @97%(say 260 with your new FTP). You know that you can still complete 4x10 @ 270. So go check out workouts that would have you do a similar level of effort to that.