Do PLs rely too much on duration?

After spending 6 months focusing on VO2/Anaerobic and Tempo/Endurance riding (and seeing a 15% increase in FTP) I started a new plan for a fall event that includes way more SS and Threshold workouts. Finding 1 hour variations with PLs of 4-5s to be HARDER than longer SS/threshold workouts with much higher PLs. The shorter workouts have higher intensity and shorter breaks. For instance Venado -2 was brutally hard @ 9 x 5 min at 94% with only 30 sec - 1 min breaks.

However, just a month prior I did a 9.1 PL SS workout and marked as moderate - 3 hours, with 5 x 20 minute high tempo to threshold ramp ups/downs. Recoveries were longer but at endurance not recovery intensity. But lower intensity, longer duration.

Finding it strange/discouraging that these lower PLs with shorter times are so much more soul crushing. I have WEEKS of these coming up and it is hard to get psyched about it, even if on AT.

Two questions -

  1. What does it say about me as a rider? Should I be looking at these as training my weakness (I have always found these to be hard)?

  2. Could AT be over-weighting duration in assigning PLs?

I think, based off observations only, that it is calculated off total work, and TiZ. Looking at that 9.1 workout you’ve posted. That’s quite an easy SS, especially for 9.1. it’s got a lot of “work” done due to the duration, but it’d probably be equivalent to the amount of work done in a shorter more intense session. I don’t think that it’s incorrectly weighting long sessions, but it does make it a bit of a shock to try squeeze the same, or similar, into less time.

You can only achieve so much within 1-hour without increasing the intensity.


Looking at those two workouts, they are quite different in intensity.
Venado-2 has 45 minutes at 94% of FTP.

Eddy McKenney seems to have about 8 minutes at or above 94% of FTP - only the 2 high peaks of each set go above 95% of FTP. So while this is classified as a SS workout the actual TiZ of SS is likely going to be less than 15 minutes.

To me, this is more of Eddy not really being a SS workout that is the issue.


For that particular example workout “Eddy McKenney” I think the issue is with the classification as it ranges from tempo up to dipping the toes into threshold and back again. As another example the +1 variant with slightly higher peaks “only” get a WL of 3.1 for Threshold.

Venado is easier to put in the SS bucket as all intervals are “flat” and within one training zone

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Workout Levels consider a number of factors when scoring a workout. We’ve found workout levels to be quite true to experience for most athletes, even for workouts of different durations.

We all have our own strengths and weaknesses, so you may find one style of workout to be more difficult than another. Don’t hesitate to use the Alternates feature to select a slightly easier workout if you need to!