Consistent difficulty in finishing Over/Under

Hi all. Started with TR in December and i am on the SSBMV1 at the moment. Just finished the last Over/Under before the recovery week.

Have been having difficulty with completing the whole workout without pausing it to catch my breath.

I always crack at the 3rd over in each set and by the third block, forced to lower the power by 3-5% so i can hit the target power. Even then, sometimes i don’t make it.

The rest of the plan has been fine for me so far.

Have the ramp test overestimated my ftp or am i just bad at doing over/under?

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You’re far from being the only one to experience this. They’re hard. Really hard. It takes experience and improved fitness (and confidence) to go into an Over/Under workout and not find it very taxing.

Lowering the power target is exactly the right thing to do. Back pedal for 30sec if you have to. Little tricks like this keep you working through the workout without quitting. You’ve got the right idea and you’re not way off in left field. Keep doing what you’re doing - all good.


Thanks! i have been worrying about finishing the over/unders every week. It never fails to crush me everytime.

Cannot imagine moving onto MV2 in two weeks time.

I have to work on my pacing a lot more. I was undecided between my usual cadence or spinning at a much higher cadence to save the legs or lower cadence to save my lungs.

So in the end, i screwed up all 3 options.

It’s a mental challenge alright. If you are messing around with cadence and whatnot it will certainly put you off.

Get your music set up ready if you use it, pick your gear and cadence then settle in and relax. You have to be prepared mentally for the burn/ discomfort and even relish it as proof you are working to drive improvement


I’m going to put part of the blame on my kid who came in and ask me for help with her school work. Lol.


Happens to me at times as well when i am tired from some previous workouts. I lower the intensity if needed to get through it. Keep on it and you will see gains.

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Haha, that was me last night, half way through a 4 x 10 minute threshold workout and the door of the shed opened to… “Daddy, can I play on my tablet, please?” :joy:

It sounds like your FTP and your over-under pain is about right though! I usually have to dial an OU workout back a few percent to survive it, also VO2 Max workouts the same. Best to get though them, don’t quit, as long as you get through and they are VERY hard then you’re doing it right and making gains!

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You don’t have to choose a cadence and stick with it the whole workout, you can use all three options. For my last O/U workout (which came 2 days after a 23 watt FTP increase) I did higher cadence first round (95+ avg) and mid range slightly lower for my second round. My last round was pure survival and I tried to start high but ended up with a low cadence with lots of standing (50s rpm). It was the only way I could finish the workout without lowering the intensity or quitting, which is what I really wanted to do. I mentally quit about 20 times, but just kept lying to myself to make it 1 more minute.

Look at my white cadence line, it got crazy in the latter half.


EDIT: this was the first time, outside of a sprint, that I had a working power goal at or above 300 watts. That was a huge mental barrier and I didn’t think I could do it. Kinda had a break through workout.


The offspring had her go on my tablet before I started working out. She was supposed to be doing her homework but came in and gave an excuse to avoid it. I was in between yelling at her and catching my breath.

I was hope I can finish it without dialling back the intensity since it’s the second last session for this phase.


That’s exactly it. Mentally dissociate by sending your mind somewhere else via music, videos etc, and if (when!) the suffering periodically seeps through reinterpret the ‘pain’ as a positive, treating it as evidence of the good work you’re doing.

Repeatedly doing this over time can help desensitize you to those unpleasant feelings and really build mental resilience/tenacity.


This may be a mental barrier. The progression of the O/Us in that phase start a little easier meaning overall you are under threshold and end with the last set averaging above threshold. Such as McAdie earlier in the SSB phase versus McAdie +1 later on.

It’s usually over halfway to three quarters of the way in an interval set or workout where your legs need your mental strength to keep pushing. It’s far enough in that you’re fatigued but not far enough that you see the light at the end of the tunnel. Try telling yourself it’s the last interval even though it’s not to see if you can get through it.

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I was listening to music and using the bpm for my cadence. Except I am too cheap to subscribe to Spotify and the ads messed up my groove. Lol


I agree. I need to htfu more. Over/Understand always get me stressed on the day of the session because the past sessions have not been good. A bit like self fulfilling prophecy.

I don’t like the ramp up over/under… I often switched them out to the straight jump up version that’s close to the demand of the current workout.

Maybe if I have an ERG trainer it wouldnt be so bad. But either way it’s gonna suck!

I’d say it’s working then! They are hard and rewarding. Personally I’d say focus on the under and make sure you hit that target. If the over is over ftp by +1 , or at least over the under by a 5+ watts you are doing good work and keeps logging.

For me the last over of every set is terrible and I want to quit. The last set is survival at all costs.

This is also a workout that needs fuel IMO. I feed this workout starting the night before and have a gel on hand at all times during.

Same. I am in the process of getting a new trainer with ERG. It is quite a bit of faff to use a standard trainer sometimes.

I can hit the target over power at my ftp or a few watts more but it feels impossible to do it at the session’s original target power for the whole duration.

I probably didn’t improve or gain enough during my SSBMV1 to hit the target power. A friend suggested that i have overtrained myself but i doubt it.

Just a matter of mind over matter.

Hey rog…I didn’t see it in any of the replies, but O/Us consist of two parts (no, not the obvious ones):

i) muscular endurance and ii) lactate clearing.

You have to decide which one is causing you the problems.

I am guessing that your O/U limiter is muscular endurance, just from what you said:

Just keep doing the workouts, you’ll get stronger. Perhaps try alternate versions of the O/U workouts you’re scheduled to do – shorter interval lengths, longer rest intervals, etc. – until you can complete a full set. Or continue to dial down the power but dial it down less and less. It’ll come around.

If, by chance, your limiter is lactate clearing…start doing a lot more endurance rides…and don’t stop doing the O/Us!

Good luck!


thanks for the tips! i think for me, it depends on how i want to ride it. if i ride at a slower cadence, my legs give way by the third overs. If i spin at a higher cadence, i will struggle with unders.

i forgot to mention that i am using a dumb trainer so i have to decide between shifting gears or use my cadence to hit the over/unders.

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I was super excited about the under/overs I did today! I find myself struggling with I need to go right at or above threshold. On Thursday I bombed out of a workout that was 5x8 at 102%. Like last year I couldn’t do that workout when it was scheduled at 105%. Not sure why, failed it several times. But this year with a lot of really solid training, completing SSB HV 1&2 I figured I would be able to get it done, but I sucked…was really disappointed.

Today I was scheduled for Palisade and was really nervous about this thinking I was going to suck it up again. So I thought maybe I should drop it 3%. Felt really good halfway through so I decided to do the overs at the scheduled 105% but kept the unders at 92%. Did that the rest of the workout and crushed it!!!

Super jacked about completing this! In fact I’m excited to try the 5x8 at 102% next week to try and shake the monkey off my back. One of the things I think I might have figured out was not taking enough fuel in throughout the day and during the workout. Last podcast really helped with that!