Enduro Races: Intensity - TSS

I just created a training plan and put some events on my calendar as well. Those events are enduro races and I was asked to select an estimated intensity.
Now I’m having doubts what makes sense for an enduro race:

  • Typically the liasons are more relaxed (I’d say moderate intensity, 4)
  • The special stages can be from hard to all out efforts (8/9/10)

I raced the Trophy of Nations in September and here are some stats:
Moving time: 5h16min
TSS: 136

If I select a 5hr15min event in TR and set it on intensity 4 the suggested TSS is 207.
However, I would not rate the race as a moderate effort only. Probably I’d go for a 6 or 7, and as said before, during special stages even higher.

As you can see, estimated and “real” TSS then doesn`t seem to go together too well.

So I`m looking for some clues regarding:

  • How do you “rate” an enduro race when it comes to TSS?
  • How important is it to get the “planned TSS” right when putting an event on the calendar?

Just treat the planned TSS as a rough guide, it doesn’t need to be exact or that close IMO when it comes to a race.

I would calculate the TSS on two things, the pace I ride the transition stages and the length of the timed sections. For example, if I spent 3 hours of the event just ticking along between the timed section, then that might give me 30 - 50 TSS an hour.
For the timed sections, you could allocate 1 - 1.5 TSS for every minute the stage takes.

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Sounds like there’s no power meter involved here, because that’s a very low number for a 5+ hour mountain bike ride, (or any ride).

As soon as you start estimating TSS with RPE after-the-fact, it’s just the software’s best guess.

If I was estimating a 5+ hour enduro race TSS that number might be in the low 400s. My biggest ride this year was on the mountain bike, 4.5 hours, and a 280 TSS. Yesterday was 2:45 and an almost 200 TSS. Granted I was at more than a 4/10 on the climbs on either of these days, but your numbers are still very low for planning purposes. I would plan on a 7/10 RPE for your events.

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Mid to high 200s sounds about right.

Low 400s would be more like a 5 hour XC race, IMHO.

Maybe I’m under estimating how slow the climbs can be for an enduro?

Really depends on the event. There’s a time limit for liasons at EWS races and I don’t think anyone can go much easier than 4/10 to stay within the limit.

The TSS I mentioned earlier is in fact not a measured TSS but calculated. I’ll try to find someone else who raced this (or similar events) with a power meter and post their numbers if I can find someone.

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Thanks, I’m interested in seeing that!

Here’s an example from the Trophy of Nations race I mentioned earlier:

Unfortunately, Strava doesn’t seem to calculate TSS.
Flo rode with a power meter, so looking at his numbers on Strava: any idea what the TSS should be roughly for such a race?

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I’m not sure how to calculate TSS based on this. Strava uses a max HR metric, relative effort which I’m not really sure how to use. Maybe someone with better experience would know how to get the TSS from that ride since there is actual power data. Only question then becomes how similar of an effort was this to your own?

This might help


Thanks, I’ve not given TSS this much thought before and I’m learning something.

Thanks Dave, quite useful!

On basis of PRE (4h45mins of riding at RPE 4 + 30min of riding at RPE 8) that would mean a TSS of 287,5 for the race I mentioned.

So I’ll probably go for 280-300 for this kind of race (world cup level) and ease it down for “smaller” events.

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Strava’s Training Load is basically their version of TSS. I’m assuming his FTP is set correctly in Strava, if so, you can see his Training Load is 268, so basically his TSS and his FTP is 290 watts.


Thanks everyone, that helped a lot!
I’ll try to keep an eye on TSS during next year’s races and probably post some updates.

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somewhat related: if you are using a trainer with power + hr strap for your workouts to build up to your enduro races and feed those workouts into intervals.icu, the site builds a linear Regression model to calculate the load of activities without a powermeter. Pretty neat.