Benefits of 90 min workouts vs. 60 min workouts

I’m doing the LV SSB/Build/Specialty plan and am just finishing up SSB1. I’ve been using TR since September 2019 and finished a LV Base and Build prior to the New Year.

I’m finding the 90 min workouts are fine physically, but mentally daunting and not enjoyable, to the point I find myself bailing after an hour or not getting on the bike at all.

I’m thinking I’d be way more consistent if I replaced my weekend 90 min workout with 2 back-to-back days of 60 min workouts of the same general theme/intensity as the prescribed 90 min workout. For example, instead of doing Palisade on Saturday I’m planning on doing Palisade -2 on Saturday and McAdie -2 on Sunday.

Is anyone else doing this and finding success?

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Wouldn’t do 2 over/under workouts on consecutive days.

Maybe do 60 minute versions of the Sat and Sun workouts from the MV plan?

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yeah, I always have the option of rearranging the midweek workouts to make sure the back to back days aren’t crazy intense. O/U one day followed by something like Carillon or Geiger the second day is perfectly doable.

The point of the 90 minute workouts like that is to build muscular endurance, or the ability to push the pedals hard for longer times. If you shorten the workouts, you’re reducing the benefit. If you back to back over under workouts of 60 minute duration, you will not achieve the same adaptation as the single 90 minute workout, and you would reduce the efficacy of your recovery.

IMO for your situation:
Good: 60 min over under work
Better: 60-75 min over under Sat, 1hr sweet spot Sun
Best: 90 min over under workouts.

Understand that if you reduce the duration of those muscular endurance workouts, you will not achieve the same physical and psychological adaptations by doing a workout on the following day. Mental toughness is something that needs to be trained. Your best option is to harken back to Rule 5, but if it’s not a tremendous priority to you, then the other options are available.


Better to ride 60 minutes rather than skip riding 90. You can’t get outside on the weekend for some longer endurance rides?

It sounds like you are new to indoor training (or at least to TR). When I started 60-75 was about all I could hand mentally. But not an hour long workout goes by super quick and 90 min is about average and now the 2 hour weekend SS workouts are getting more and more manageable. For now I would do a 60 min O/U on Sat and then either get outside or do a 60 min Tempo/SS workout on Sunday. This will still give you a ton of benefit and will get you more saddle time until you can build up to those 90 min O/U workouts.
Also, I’ve found that the correct combination of youtube, netflix, and music has been a huge help when moving to longer and longer workouts.

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My thoughts exactly. I live in the Great White North, so this time of year, getting a good workout in outside is not a reliable option. Come spring, I will absolutely be getting in tons of long weekend rides.

Two harder workouts, e.g. anything at or over threshold, back to back can be pretty hard.

It also leaves you less time to recover before your next hard workout.

IME better to do the 90 min workout and if you want to the ride the following day, stick to sweet spot or easier.

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Yes, during sweet spot base a lot of the workouts are about time-in-zone to build muscular endurance and aerobic adaptations.

Let’s look at Palisade:

Thats 45 minutes (45 = 5 x 9-min) of over-under work.

Now if I only had 60 minutes available, would start by pulling up the TR workout webpage and using this to search for an alternative:

Quickly scanning down that page the longest 1 hour over-under workouts are 3x12 for a total of 36 minutes which is a good bit less than the 45 minutes prescribed.

So at this point I’m thinking its time to focus on the primary objective (muscular endurance) and ignore the secondary objective of improving lactate tolerance. My next decision point is to either go with:

  • a threshold workout like 4x10 for 40 minutes (e.g. Darwin, Grey, Lamarck)
  • or “go long” for 60 minutes to focus on muscular endurance

Scanning thru sweet spot workouts and I’d probably pick something like:


Lots of stuff to think about. Going back to your original point:

After all that substitution talk, do you really want to be soft mentally? Like others have said, if this is your 3rd workout of the week its better to up your mental game, HTFU, and do the 90-min Palisade.

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The experts will tell you that certain adaptations only happen with volume, i.e. some adaptations only occur after 90min, some only after 2hr, 3hr, 4hr, 5hr, etc.

My advice would be to find something that distracts you and makes the trainer time more bearable. For me, I always have music/youtube/netflix/zwift running to help pass the time.

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I don’t buy the HTFU idea. Sitting on a trainer is nothing like riding a bike in the real world.

That said, there are other ways to “hack” long trainer rides.

Break it up into three 30 minute segments. Get off the bike for a few minutes. Do some planks, core work, kettle bell swings, and then get back on and do another 30, and then repeat.

Put on a movie with subtitles that you don’t have to pay a lot of attention to - like a super hero movie.

Watch the last 90 minutes of a great bike race.

Do some combo of the above - bike race or movie plus kettle bell swings every 30 minutes.

And if you live in the great white north, buy a pair of cross country skis or a fat bike. I lived in the north for a couple of years and I was thrilled when we got a snow storm. I’d strap on my skis and ski down my street into the park and do some great zone 2 work for a couple of hours.

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It’s just my personal experience. Somehow I find 90 min workouts more doable (enjoyable) than 60 min workouts. Normally, I think there’s longer warm-up and rest time between intervals in 90 min compared to 60 min workout, which actually gives me more time to “enter into the zone” and recover from a harder interval so that I will be ready for the next. I’ve encountered many times that I feel I was rushing to the next interval during 60-min workout.

Currently following SSBLV, about to complete II. In anticipation of the longer 90 mins rides, I’ve deliberately upped one of the 60 mins to a 75 min version, often +1 style, maybe an extra interval making a typical week 60+Pettit+75+Taku+90 then weekend easy outdoors. Makes the step from 60 to 90 both physically and mentally a little easier with little additional stress.

Eating a date every 20 minutes or so gives me something to look forward to in a 90 minute workout.