Doing a "sweep" of all your levels

Given that AI FTP detection has given me a pretty realistic number, is there some reason I shouldn’t take a week or two to do a breakthrough workout of ever level?
If I do one an it’s not that hard, that’s where my level should start at, anyway.
And if I can’t handle one, I can just knock the intensity down and AT will do it’s magic.
And I still get the benefit of doing more volume (with proper recovery in between of course).

I don’t see the point potentially spending months doing workouts that are too easy, which is what could happen with TrainNow or a training plan.

There isn’t much downside in trying, at least. That’s roughly what I’ve done at times partly because I prefer workouts towards the middle of the PL distribution (at least for sweetspot) than the ones at the bottom.

Personally I wouldn’t bother with doing it for each level. I could care less about my tempo, sprint, or AC PLs.

I would only do it for the levels you’re focused on at the moment in your plan. For example, there’s not much point in doing breakthrough workouts to maximize your Sprint PL if you’re not doing Sprint workouts in your plan, and you’ll just spend the following weeks watching it drop because you’re not feeding the Sprint number.


That’s not a good idea. I would only attempt that if I knew that TR underestimated my abilities in one area. That happens e. g. with endurance workouts because longer endurance workouts are not part of the vanilla sweet spot plans. So my PL remains very low unless I “overrode” AT here. Another one are sweet spot workouts for me. This is a relative strength of mine, and I sometimes need to raise the floor a little. However, I find I don’t need to do more than that. AT tries to keep me between Easy and Hard, and it is doing a good job so far.

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When I changed from base to build, I had 1 ratings on everything but sweetspot which was a 10. So I just guessed on work outs I thought I could complete in the zones to dial in each zone. I did a 5 threshold workout and failed the final interval, next week the 4 threshold interval was perfect. I dont think I wasted any time on bad workouts by doing this.

It’s not gonna take months. If you mark a few workouts as easy or use alternate workouts to find slightly harder versions if you suspect it’s starting you off too low, it won’t take long at all to get yourself dialed in. I mean the standard sweet spot base plan will start you at 4’s. If you mark consecutive ones as easy, it’s gonna give you a 6 or 7 next week. If you mark that as easy, then your FTP was probably set too low, if you mark that as moderate/hard, then you’re all set and dialed in for the rest of the block. There’s no sense in doing a breakthrough tempo workout while in a sweetspot block, because there are no tempo workouts in SSB, so it won’t adapt anything for you going forward. Same thing with sprint/vo2…etc.

Plus, even if you’re working on the low side of your capabilities for a bit, that doesn’t mean it’s unproductive training. You’re likely still getting plenty of stimulus and improving.


No, if all you did was follow TrainNow, it would take dozens of workouts to get two or three levels up from 1.0 to 5.0, because achievable workouts don’t bump your levels.

Not everyone uses training plans. If you follow a cafeteria approach and any of your levels are way below your capabilities, you are going to waste time doing workouts that are too easy. Also, certain levels affect other levels.

Apologies for being a bit off topic, but this topic reminded me that few people do sprint workouts. I thought that since I was doing level 6.0 anaerobic workouts, I could do a short 25 min level 5.0 sprint workout. I tried Birling -2. OMG, I nearly died. A lot of the sprint workouts seem to be a combination of sprint and threshold or sprint and SS, but I can assure you that true sprint workouts are no joke, lol.


It will adjust faster than you think. It’s not like it’s going to give you a 1, 1.1, 1.2. It will find your level quickly if you mark them easy, and it’s not like 2 or 3 workouts that are easier than you can manage are completely unproductive.

I wouldn’t hesitate to bump individual workouts early on if you feel like they’re obviously too easy, but seeing how hard a workout you can manage in each category feels like a recipe for disaster.

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That’s not correct. All the plans start you at your current level. The only exception is if there is no workouts available for your level that fits the intended style and length. (For instance this often happens when the plan wants you to do 2 hour VO2 max workouts).

If I look up SSBLV1 now the first workout for me is level 8.6.

It’s because TR plans almost never prescribe them, even though you should really be doing at least a little bit of anaerobic and sprint work even during the base and build phase. Though sprint work is really best done on the road, since it’s very technical.

If you’re experienced you probably have a good idea if the FTP is realistic and what you can do at that level. In that case I’d go with your approach, picking workouts you think are doable.

Otherwise it’s probably less painful to go the standard route and just follow what you’re given. If you rate workouts as easy/hard etc you’ll be good in a few days, not months as you claim. Plus you have the feeling of accomplished workouts vs failed.

I don’t know about your trainnow but mine gives mostly productive workouts and would push the PL. Not achievable ones.

Use the AI and progression levels as a tool not a limiter :grin:

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I did not have the same experience some of you are talking about when PLs first came out. I’m on a different plan right now, so I don’t know if things have changed, but I did not experience the “just do one or two prescribed workouts, mark them easy, and it will catch up quickly” thing. I had to do a few Stretch or Breakthrough workouts in some zones. I get the point people are trying to make, but when your VO2 level is set at 1.5 and you need to get it to 7, that did not happen quickly by doing the prescribed workouts and marking them easy.


Yeah - I had been marking my VO2 short/shorts easy so it gave me a Stretch one yesterday - seems about right now.

To be fair, you may already know your PL in one area is low - e.g., my Threshold PL has dropped to 3.3 because I keep missing my long threshold weekend workout in SSBLV2 - but I have been doing a lot of non-TR threshold work (Tuesday’s ZRL race had a 19 min threshold interval at the end of it for example…) so I am confident I could go back to PL 4.5 or so (where I was before) no problem.

But that’s based on my experience of doing the same workouts a few weeks ago and what I’ve done since, I don’t think I would start a new plan with a new FTP and start replacing everything with Stretch and Breakthrough out of the gate.

They have, the relationships between the levels and with FTP have changed quite a bit since it first came out.

In your example though I think if I did a PL 1.0 and it was crazy easy I would probably still use an alternate to get something that looks more reasonable for the next one… That’s not exactly the same as what OP is suggesting and picking Stretch/Breakthrough workouts till you find your level though.

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Right, that’s a case where I’d say bump it way up if one area is obviously way too low. Like for me I had a series of anaerobic workouts coming up without ever having done a TR anaerobic workout. But even on an hour long “easy” outdoor ride I’d do far more than the level 1 workouts had, so even conservatively I knew I could just do a workout a few levels up without risking anything.

That still doesn’t mean it’s wise to attempt a sweep of every category to see how hard you can handle it.

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Like entering a race series, cool! But…

Agree that breakthrough performances are super motivating. For this same reason maybe don’t use all your goals up in one fortnight? If you do your sweep it’ll likely be a long wait before you see any more breakthroughs.

is required, really, if you want to get anywhere near as good as you can be. Only you know what motivates you, but sprinkling your breakthrough goal efforts across the months might give regular reasons to keep tapping away at the ‘achievable’ workload, week in week out, and keep you in the long game.

But if you’re a patient person and the sweep is going to motivate you to keep training for the next X months then smash it :fist_right:
Let us know how it goes

I’ve switched over to TrainNow this year, and I’ve found that as long as I have a day of not cycling between workouts, it generally recommends Productive instead of Achievable workouts. To get from 1.0 to 5.0 across 2-3 levels could take 8-12 workouts over 2-3 weeks. And those easier workouts are still productive, giving you time in zone and consistency that are strong predictors of future performance. A PL 2 sweet spot workout isn’t going to be as productive as 3x20s, but it’s still productive, and the TR argument is that after an FTP increase, you’re better served by maximizing consistency than maximizing the value of any individual session.

Also, while progression levels give you some idea of where you are, keep in mind that (for example) those 3x20 sweet spot workouts are extremely productive every time you do them (and recover from them), even without changing your FTP or shifting progression levels. Any workout that is hard enough (in the context of all your workouts) to disrupt homeostasis and trigger super-compensation is productive.

On the other hand, absolutely look at the workouts recommended, and adjust to taste. Some of the lowest PL workouts are boring, so I’ve been doing a bit more “Stretch” or “Breakthrough” workouts since my AI-predicted FTP bump just to keep it interesting.

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That wasn’t really my point. My assumption was that the levels probably start out too low for most experienced cyclists, so you immediately get your baseline up as high as possible and proceed from there. Frankly, experienced cyclists should not be doing workouts below a level four or so, assuming their FTP is accurate. I don’t think you even get to traditional workouts (e.g. 2X20, 5X5) until level seven or so?