Does the inability to complete optional off plan workouts indicate that my ftp is wrong?

Hello, been on a mid volume criterium plan and have been using the AI FTP to detect my FTP every month because ramp tests and threshold workouts are not my forte. I had a wild goal of making all my Progression Levels above 5 raising them from around 2 and succeeded until I tried a threshold one and wasn’t able to complete it. It was a workout on a unplanned workout day that was completely optional. I posted on reddit about failing the third TR workout during a week where I had 3 races also got dropped off the last one of the week and somebody chimed in and said my FTP was invalid and I’m a troll if I don’t agree. It’s funny because threshold workouts are not the type of work I would see in a bike race unless I wanted to work hard after being dropped off the back.

VO2Max, Anaerobic and Sprint workouts are the types that keep me in races. The crit plan in it’s specialty phases just alternates between VO2Max, Anaerobic and Endurance workouts so the other stuff I have to upgrade on my extra time. The FTP for the past few months has been from 290 to 300 to 309 to 312. I noted that pushing for higher PLs caused greater FTP increases so this month every workout has been a push for a breakthrough effort. If it means anything I’m 6’6", and 190 pounds. As of today my PLs are 5.5, 5, 5, 1.6, 5.3, 8.6, 7.2.

First of all, it sounds like you are doing too much intensity. One or two high intensity rides a week is much easier to sustain and plenty of intensity. If you are racing, those races should count as high intensity rides and you should replace workouts with races while you are racing. So part of your issue could be that you are just cooked and need to ease off the throttle.

Second, the PL for each type of workout are not on the same scale, so a goal to have all of them at 5, is not really logical. A Threshold workout at level 5 is MUCH harder than a VO2 or Sweetspot workout at level 5. I personally don’t know why TR didn’t calibrate the PLs, but they’ve made it clear that was not their intention. In my opinion, a level 5 Threshold workout is hard. Very hard. I’d say it’s at the level where you may actually have an FTP increase and most will probably not progress to level 6 in Threshold without increasing their FTP and resetting their PLs.

To your buddy, lots of people will fuss about FTP and try to criticize what you are doing. I would say, your Trainerroad FTP is NOT likely your FTP. And regardless, it doesn’t matter if it is or it isn’t. It’s best if it’s close, but the point of the Trainerroad FTP is to set your workout ranges and nothing else. It should not be considered your hour power or compared with others. It’s a target for yourself. And your buddy needs to pound sand.

Last thing I’ll say is, I’m not sure it’s really realistic to ignore Threshold even if your races aren’t so much threshold. Your threshold does determine your other zones. You can definitely increase your FTP riding endurance, but there is nothing quite like pedalling at threshold and increasing your time to exhaustion when you have to.


Hard agree. After nearly 20 weeks of build and base I’ve got VO2 and sweetspot above 6, but threshold is just below 5 (and that was 3 × 12 at exactly FTP) and that’s not because I’ve been rating stuff above ‘Hard’ either.

1 Like

When you are racing it might be best to stop focusing on progression levels. The really fast guys around here pretty much drop structure and do a couple races a week - a mid-week practice and a weekend race or two. Think about the big picture, not what TR workouts you can do to push metrics that lose meaning when you are actively racing.


I guess my point is threshold isn’t part of the training plan. Most people who are sticking to this program have a 1 by their threshold levels. My failed workout was a Carter +3, 6.4 on the difficulty scale that would take my PL from a 2 at the time, on a day I should have been resting as I had a double race weekend. It’s now down to 1.6 but today I have found Whiteleaf +4 as something more approachable as it has breaks instead of solid efforts. Just can’t do it during my work lunch break due to it being twice the duration. But yea literally did a crit last tuesday night and my average power was 177w sitting in the pack and getting a safe mid pack finish. So basically zone 1 until the last 10 minutes of the 50 minute race. Having the ability to hold my 312w ftp for the duration of the race would have just made the race faster but probably not yielded a better result, as most guys would just sit on my massive 6’6" draft. It was also in 90 degree heat so probably not the day to push a towards a greyout when you still have to bike another 13 miles through brooklyn traffic to get home.

You can believe what you want, but a well developed FTP (and aerobic base) will more than likely increase your ability to repeat hard efforts in crits.


It also is part of your plan, All base II and build phases have threshold in them, but your specific specialty phase may not. So unless you completed your plan without enough lead time to go through some base and build, it’s part of your plan.

Seeing the workout you failed doesn’t change anything I said earlier. holding your FTP for 45-60 minutes isn’t explicitly specified as “required” for a valid FTP, but like I said, your Trainerroad FTP isn’t your FTP either. And your buddy shouldn’t care what your FTP is. It doesn’t matter.


Then why does the specialty phases not have these elements? I also add them in during the recovery weeks to balance out my plan, hence why my PL are not decayed in favor of Vo2 max and Anaerobic efforts. Basically everything is needed but the plan screws you over by not putting them in. Remember that not doing a parity PL every 2 weeks causes a decay.

I don’t know. My view of the science has been shaped by some prominent non-TR coaches and physiologists.


Is this supposed to be a hard workout? That looks like a beginner threshold workout. The classic threshold workout is 2x20 at FTP.

1 Like

Hard is relative. It probably would be hard if you had done no time at threshold. But the comparison I made is to other types. For example, a comparable VO2Max workout that is a 5.0 is 4sets x 6reps x 1 minute at 120% @ 1:1 work:rest. 3x12 at FTP is a fair amount harder than that.

For reference, 2x20 is a 5.9 Gray

Does it matter? Sometimes it seems chasing PLs is the new chasing CTL.


Id say it matters because its likely an indication that FTP is set incorrectly

From reading some community posts, an accurate FTP doesn’t matter if you train by PLs and adaptive training. I don’t share that opinion, but it is emphasized by athletes on the forum.

1 Like

I mean I’d say that is part of the problem, for example that is 36min at 100% FTP, while an 20 min FTP test is 5 mins+30mins at 105+% FTP, which i would classify as hard to very hard, but not impossible. 3x12 should align more with a moderate type of effort IMO

The issue with never doing threshold efforts - and sustained ones at that is that aside from the lack of experience doing those efforts physically is the lack of experience doing those efforts mentally. For me, doing threshold workouts are challenging mentally more than physically sometimes (I mean obviously they’re hard on my legs as well).

Also, VO2 progression levels don’t make as much sense as Sweet spot or FTP PLs in my opinion because zone 2, sweet spot, and FTP efforts are designed around a specific power level (% of FTP) and VO2 efforts should not be done at % of FTP but all out efforts for a specific time interval.

For example I just did a 6.6 VO2 workout when my PL was at 2 something (was rated “not recommended” and I was able to complete it, But there is no way I could do a 6.6 Threshold level workout coming from a 2.0 PL at threshold. at SS and Threshold you need to slowly increase time in zone to build it up physically and mentally. The last time I did an FTP block I worked up to do doing 2x20 but at the end of the block, would have been too daunting in the first week. It’s like comparing apples to oranges.

My 2 cents

1 Like

Definitely not, which is kinda the point I was making. All other things being equal, Adaptive Training has moved me up the PLs faster in VO2 Max and Sweetspot than it has in Threshold. Maybe this means the PLs are out of whack with each other. Maybe it means I suck at Threshold. Maybe both. :grin:

I rated it moderate, having done it at 0615 on a black coffee and with a bottle of sugary water. I had plenty of carbs yesterday, though, so I wasn’t glycogen-depleted. 3 × 15 would have been within my capabilities today, I reckon. Not sure about 2 × 20. :man_shrugging:t2:

It’s pretty much the first time the plan has served up steady state threshold efforts. Up until now it’s been over/unders. Maybe that’s a reason folk progress more slowly on Threshold - over/unders being something that most people find challenging. I suspect I’ve rated those o/u workouts as Hard as often as I’ve rated them Moderate, whereas VO2 and Sweetspot have almost all been Moderate. That would explain why “progress” has been slower.