Failed both weekend workouts HARD. What happened?

take the GU blocks after warmup. I suspect the blood sugar spike timing is bad, you are getting hypoglycemic. The thing to avoid is to spike blood sugar and get an insulin response, as the muscle cells do not pull in sugar, yet.

I’ve just had exactly the same problem with Carpathian Peak +2 this morning.

Although I may have buried myself a bit too hard - by the end of the first interval my HR was over 190. The highest I’ve ever seen on the turbo is 195 in an FTP test, and the highest I’ve ever seen was 200 running up a steep incline a few years ago. So hitting 192 doesn’t seem ideal…

Like you I tried dropping the intensity (for my first time ever) by 5%, and like you I still bailed about 1 minute into the second interval!

What’s caused my failure? Well, too many variables sadly.

  1. I’ve been doing Stronglifts 5x5 alongside SSBMVII, but my last workout was on Tuesday, so I’m not sure how significant that factor is

  2. I put my back out last night, and had a bad night’s sleep where it woke me up every time I rolled over

  3. This is only my second workout (Jepson was fine) since I switched my Neo 1 for my wife’s Neo 2 a couple of days ago, under the suspicion that the N2 underreads in comparison. So my recent FTP test of 282W is maybe 10Ws or more out. TBH it feels much the same to me, having tried them both back to back for a few minutes, but hard to tell when we’re talking a few watts here or there.

What to do? Ideally a new FTP test, but I know after today’s effort I’d have to have tomorrow off and not test until Sunday at the earliest, maybe Monday even…

I think I’ll plug on for now and see how I get on with Juneau -1 tomorrow, and then see how Darwin affects me next week…

You’re going to have to make your profile public so that we can see the ride file. Right now it’s set to private.

Whoops, right you are! Done.

Just on the first pass, I’d say that a combination of the new trainer, the horrible night’s sleep, and the back injury are all possible contributing factors. If jepson felt like a threshold workout and not like an over-under or over-over workout then I would suspect that the two trainers read pretty similar. You say that jepson was fine, and its a pretty similar workout, so I would chalk it up to the injury and bad nights sleep. I would be very sensitive to how you feel during Juneau -1, and if it starts to feel significantly harder than it should then stop and maybe ride some more at an endurance pace. You still have 2 tough weeks to go in the plan and it would be better to take an easy weekend and recover than to bury yourself and just keep digging a deeper hole.

If you are failing the similiar workouts to ones that you completed previously there are only a couple explanations (unless there are shrieking/grinding noises from your bike or trainer)

  1. You are less fit than you were two weeks ago (not likely).
  2. You have a short term issue (under fueling, under recovering, getting sick) (Likely)

I am new to TR but not to training. I would back off the intensity to where you KNOW you can do it and then start methodically ramping it up again. There are few negative consequences for undertraining but substantial negative consequence for over training. More is not better it is just more to recover from.

Many coaches have said that the problem with most training it that the easy days are too hard and that makes the hard days too easy (you arent fresh enough to go hard enough). This is likely your problem. Volume, intensity, and a calorie deficit for weight loss all work against each other. They all can’t be successfully chased at the same time for very long

It certainly felt hard, especially the last interval (obvs), but certainly not undoable.

I’ve indicated 3 training blocks in red. The third is the middle of a current training block. These are weekly TSS totals, which steadily climb until a rest week. You should see this. What does your weekly, monthly TSS chart look like when you were having problems?

Apologies for jumping in, but I’m seeing what I recognise from experience here - only looking at the workouts on the ‘new’ trainer, so not sure what’s going on before but unless your max heart rate is 200+ I’d say you need to retest and get a different (lower) ftp for all these workouts. If it’s not just that the trainer reads lower, you might just be good at testing. I’ve had similar in the past where SSB is hard but doable, build is virtually impossible and you can forget about speciality!

People who are used to pushing themselves can grind through a lot, but it’s not necessarily a good thing. I get the feeling that most of the ‘Sweet Spot’ you’re doing is threshold. For instance, you described Juneau as hard, with an average heart rate of 171 on the final interval and a max of 180 - that suggests threshold to me. Similarly, most people on the ‘past rides’ of Jepson are getting an average heart rate in the final interval that’s 15-20 beats lower than yours.

It’s definitely possible (as I know from 2-3 seasons of unfortunate experience!) to continue as is, but I’d suggest retesting ASAP (as you’re on a new device) and maybe finding a test that finds your weakness (in case you’re just good at one of the tests) as doing threshold instead of sweet spot is one level of bad (and doesn’t get the adaptations the plan is looking for) but doing the next level up - vo2 instead of threshold - is a whole world of hurt!

Of course I may be wrong and it’s a bad day/week, but just looking at the trends it looks awfully familiar to me. Hope it helps someone anyway!

I think you’re right, and have been thinking the same myself. My highest HR in the last few years was 200 running for a Strava CR up a steep hill. Most I ever get on the trainer is 195.

Given that I’m 39 this is a tad higher than the average, but by no means crazy.

If you were to look at the workouts I did on the previous trainer you’d find that my HR was always quite high on those as well, albeit maybe not quite as high.

I think I’m going to tough it out for the rest of SSB2 and then see what I get in the SPB ramp test. I might just make a manual adjustment of -10W or similar until then?

I definitely test high though, I’m sure of that.

If I CAN tough it out… Should I? It’s it beneficial to be working at a harder level, or would I see better improvements by throttling back?

So I’m glad you dug this thread up and I’m glad you asked that question as it’s one I have too. My ramp test results have been down from where I was in February as I wasn’t focused on training all summer. But stubborn as I am I didn’t want to turn it down. I’ve been able to do most of my workouts at 100% but not all of them. Failed one outright a few weeks back and more recently half way through I had to turn one down 10%…which is about how much my FTP has dropped. Just re-tested again at the start of Traditional Base III and again my FTP was lower than last February but this time I accepted the number.

My partner on the other hand has been doing SSB not traditional base and she’s being bull headed…won’t lower her FTP even though she also assessed lower. So the question is: does working harder than your FTP would set you typically hurt? Or could it actually help?

We have both been frustrated with the drop in FTP and the goal is to get back there. I’ve tried to tell her that she should be training based on her current test and not judging her worth by that FTP number.

If I were one of the forum experts I’d pull up a link to the podcast clip where they discussed this very thing, but essentially the point was if your FTP is too high everything is one zone off - tempo is sweet spot, sweet spot is threshold, threshold is VO2 and so on. You can generally tough out SSB as it’s sweet spot with only short VO2 intervals, but the whole time you’re meant to be doing ‘sweet spot’ and building an aerobic base you’re either working way too hard for no greater gain or you’re actually training the wrong energy system. You then get to Feb/March and start failing every workout…at which point you have to wonder if having a vanity FTP for the last 6 months because you didn’t want to lose progress was worth it :wink:

I generally have just given up in the past and started the outdoor riding season, but I think i’d have made much more progress keeping up productive training at least 2x a week - but that too high FTP giving me impossible workouts gave me trainer PTSD by then!

PS: didn’t realise this was an old thread, it was just at the top of the list and looked interesting!

Cool topic. Ijust started my 4th offseason with TR. My humble experience is getting to the right FTP, even if lower, is WAY more productive than toughing sessions out. As I get to know how certain workouts are supposed to feel, it helps me gauge the accuracy of my FTP. I only test now about 1-2x a year, and each time I am within 1-2 watts of my guestimate based on how I feel. Last offseason was my best yet, in terms of gains and how I felt. Consistency is also probably as or more important as getting FTP right. Lastly, try to think of it as a long game. While I have not had massive gains (much attributed to my inconsistency), over the 3 years, my offseason FTP starting point has been nudging up. 2016 was about 170, 2017 was 180, 2018 was 185, and 2019 is 190.

What do you think I should do for Mary Austen -1 today Alex? I don’t want to waste the time needed to rest and retest my FTP, especially since I think a large part of the problem is that I test high…

Reduce my FTP by 10W? Start the session and see how I get on and adjust a few % down if I feel it’s needed?

How hard SHOULD Mary Austen -1 be?

I’d personally start at 90% for the first set, maybe 95% for the second if that feels too easy and the HR numbers agree. As they said in yesterday’s podcast it’s better to finish a workout at an easier level than give up after the first set. Let us know how it goes! :+1:

And based on my trainer-max HR of 195ish, what should I be looking for, roughly?


So I did 90%, then 94% and then 97%.

I spent about 25% of all rests either not pedaling or back pedaling.

Max HR in each 21min segment was 166/175/187.

I can hit 195 at the end of a ramp test.

My FTP is currently set to 282W and is rather not restest until the start of SPB in two weeks time.

What should I do for the next couple of weeks?

Thank you for your help, I’m a complete novice when it comes to this sort of stuff.

That sounds good! I’ve gone back and looked at everything you’ve done since the ramp test and TBH it looks like you’re just good at the ramp test - Ebbetts 2 days after the ramp test pushed you pretty hard judging by HR at least, Geiger looks a good 20 beats too high on HR, then you started either missing intervals or taking extra rest on the harder workouts (at least from guessing by looking at the graph).

I’d personally call the effort/HR from the 94% set on Mary Austen about right, so set your FTP at the closest round number to there, 265. I’d then see what happens on the ramp test, if it gives a higher number than the last time it may be just that you’re good at the test - in which case I’d swap Thursday’s workout out for this to give a second opinion:



Certainly when I read the question “Could you hold your supposed FTP for an hour” I just burst into fits of laughter. No, no I couldn’t.

I skipped half of each interval on Clark -1, but not because I couldn’t do them; I definitely could have, but I had a race the following two days, and although it wasn’t an A-race it was my last ever race in my age category… I couldn’t bring myself to skip the workout so compromised by probably doing something pointless instead!

Two days before that I had found Donner too hard… on my knee. My HR was only 180bpm when I started to skip bits of the last interval, but my right knee was playing up.

So the only workout that I’ve actually bailed/shortened because it was too hard was Carpathian Peak; the first interval hit me like a brick wall, and having hit 192bpm at the end of it I had nothing left to give the 2nd one.

I guess part of why my HR is higher than most people’s, is I have a relatively quick spin, typically 95-105 for most efforts. I’d like to strengthen my legs by slowing my spin, but then my right knee starts to play up. I bought some more-supportive insoles a few weeks ago and I think they’ve helped my knee a bit. It was caving inwards before - still does, but to a slightly lesser extent.

It should be noted that I couldn’t complete Darwin a few days ago without doing a few seconds standing every minute - I find it helps with the mental side of it, breaking the larger intervals up, but also with an aching bum and mixing the cadence up without hurting my knee.

Ho hum. Like many other pigheaded riders I’m reluctant to drop down to 94% for the next couple of weeks… Not because of pride but because if I’m completing most of the workouts as-is at the moment, I feel I’m weakening my gains by making them so much easier… Dammit. Maybe I’ll compromise a bit, split the difference somewhat and go 96%, 271W.

Decisions decisions… thank you for your input!

Good info, useful to know the background. I’d still stick to my assessment on Donner, you hit 179 on the first interval - if you check the recent rides most people are in the 150’s to low 160’s on that. Here’s my last attempt at it (note my cadence is higher :smiley: )

I’d still recommend dropping to 94% - as I said, if you’re at/over threshold in base, you’re working harder than needed AND strengthening the wrong energy systems, and it’s a mistake you can afford to make for another month or two until the workouts get actually hard, when you’ll fail the first interval every time (don’t ask how I know that :stuck_out_tongue: )

Another option to ‘prove’ your FTP is try a workout from say halfway into build and see how that goes…something like: . It might only take a workout to realise if you’re on the right or wrong track!

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