Chad mentions 2-3 Hard sessions a week

Chad has mentioned a number of times on the Podcast that 2 hard sessions a week reaps the most benefits, does anyone know what the criteria is for a “Hard Session”? because once to are doing the Mid or High volume plans then you are doing 2+ Hard Sessions a week (or maybe I need to MTFU)

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Anything above sweet spot ticks the box for me.

IF 0.83 and above for me.

It’s not just intensity that makes a session hard. You have to factor in duration


I guess I was thinking in the context of the 60 to 120min workouts that make up most of the structured TR plans.

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0.83 IF for 60 minutes is still very different from 0.83 IF for 120 minutes

I tend to agree with @bagr84 - anything that has you doing threshold or above is likely a hard session

I’m soon moving to the Full Distance Triathlon Plan, and some of the 4-5hr(is) workouts come nowhere near threshold, but are still difficult … in a different way tho

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By ‘Hard’ I think he means high intensity, or over threshold.




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Choosing the “Hard” filter cuts the 2046 list down to 1752. So it’s a broad intensity to say the least.

Edit to add more clarity now that I have access to a PC:
Taking the “Hard” filter, and then sorting by Intensity ascending and descending"

Ascending: Gives a 0.75 IF miniumum with a range of duration visible.

Descending: Gives 0.94 IF with range of duration visible.

Filtering from 1 hour thru 2 hour duration gets 1479 workouts with the same IF range.

Not sure that really helps the discussion, but it’s interesting I guess.


Based on the plans I typically use (SSB, SPB, Cyclocross Specialty), the VO2Max workouts are the “hard” ones for me.

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Perhaps look at any of the Low Volume plans. The cycling plans are 3 days per week and none of that time is wasted. I’d call these three days of hard plans - LOL

Screen shot of the first three weeks of General Build Low Volume as an example.

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So as I am in the Cross season now, should I only do 1 other workout (on top of my race) above FTP during the week an keep the other more endurance based?

That’s probably a good place to start, also an endurance workout like Bays or Pettit +1 or the others with some short maximal efforts are good at preserving your anaerobic capacity without inducing a lot of stress.

What I usually do during a race season is: race on Saturday, long tempo Sunday (2-3 hours), short hard intervals Tuesday (VO2 or AC) and SST/FTP on Thursday. For a Saturday race I’ll do openers on Friday.

Usually take Monday off and Wednesday would be 60-90 minuets of endurance riding (Pettit or Baxter in TR language).

If your races are on Sunday just shift things a day or so and will be fine. Assuming a M-F work week you lose the long Sunday ride but such is life for a weekend warrior!

I suppose it’ll work differently for everyone. However, during cross season, I find that I do the low volume cross specialty plan. The thing is, I really only do the Tuesday workout. So I’m doing something like this…

  • Monday - Rest
  • Tuesday - TR Workout from low volume CX plan
  • Wednesday - Z2 ride 1 hr
  • Thursday - Z2 ride 1.5 hr
  • Friday - Rest, or Z1 ride to the local brewery.
  • Saturday - MTB ride 1.5 hr < .7 IF or Openers
  • Sunday - Two 30 minute CX races

This gets me somewhere around 400 TSS per week, which is plenty for me.

I used to try and do the TrainerRoad workouts on Tuesday and Thursday, but I was finding that I was coming into the race weekend super fatigued and really couldn’t perform how I wanted. So I found that I need to let my body recover a bit more during race season.

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I need to incorporate this ride more often. Local brewery is about 5K from house.


A “hard” workout will be anything above 0.8 IF, but ideally you hard workouts are 0.9-0.95 and the rest are 0.55-0.7 (assuming 60-90 min)

Take into account what your body is telling you also in addition to the workout IF. For instance you may have been doing a set of plans without much change in your FTP. In this case you may find yourself getting “used” to the intervals somewhat.

A hard ride for me is each interval is scaring me before it starts, and I’m like “Ok, here we go… all aboard the pain train for the next 10 minutes”. i.e. you can do it but you need to dig deep.

When you get through these type of workouts and scream in satisfaction when it is complete, then I would put that at hard - very hard

Here is a chart that that can show you the various levels of PE (perceived exertion)