Failed workouts

Hey guys,

I’m new to indoor riding as used to commute (200miles) a week for over a decade but recently changed jobs so now work from home. My base level fitness is pretty good but the miles I was doing were just junk miles in terms of I wasn’t getting any better. I joined TR and started the mid volume sweetspot base plan. I really struggled with over and unders and then week 3 I felt as strong as an ox. I got really drunk and next day had to bail early on a workout and then on the next one as well (then realised for the second workout it should have been a rest day ). Question is this…is this normal or should I be able to sail through the plan? I’m now in week 5 and doing Geiger later on today ! Feedback appreciated. Regards Terry

You definitely shouldn’t be able to sail through the plan! If your FTP is set correctly the hardest sessions (generally over-unders in SSB) should be just about managable.

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Sometimes if fitness improves enough the later weeks will start to get less difficult. I don’t think they ever get easy. On the other hand, it’s probably at least as common that as fatigue builds up through the later weeks, that things stay nice and hard. This is compounded a bit by the workouts having a natural progressions, so even if your fitness improves a bit, the workouts are harder also.

I like to keep in mind that we don’t get faster while training, you get faster while recovering. That recovery week built into plans can go a long way towards giving yourself time to recover and make the improvements that you earned during the previous weeks.

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Hey Terry! I’ve been around cycling a long time but, new to training on a trainer as well. I’ve noticed a few things:

  • While a watt is a watt, how your body generates a watt is a touch different on the trainer compared to riding on the flats outside. Due to the lack of inertia (if on a dumb trainer at least) you will most likely have to apply power coming over the top of the stroke a little earlier and maybe keep force on the pedal a little later. Effectively your riding up a steep hill all the time.

  • So far I’ve noticed that TR keeps you towards the top of zones. Especially for VO2max workouts. Meaning, they may have you target 120% FTP and you can only reasonably handle 115%. They have variants of each workout so look for the minus versions which may bring the intensity and duration down a touch.

  • Cooling. Don’t underestimate how much whole body cooling doesn’t happen indoors. Get a second fan and position it so that it blows up through your legs and body.

  • It’s ok to rest. Maybe your physiology, age etc…means you need a rest day when the plan calls for the mother of all mothers workout. Listen to your body.


I am an ex power lifter and there is a high amount of correlation between the workouts and the way you progress. You push sets to failure, then come back after a day of rest and can push right through it and progress to new highs.

Some do feel very hard. Often time this is due to the fact that that specific power may be harder for you to hold. e.g. sometime 500 watt intervals can be much easier than a longer 340 watt.

Things I have learned:
-Do not let the feeling of the first interval or first half of the workout dictate how the rest of the workout may go. This is not how it works for me at least Things do not always feel as hard deeper in the workout.
-Just because you fail the 3rd interval doesn’t mean you should bail on 4-10 and wont complete them successfully.
-Some workouts that look hard are easy and vice versa.
-sometimes you just need rest, but you should probably know this going in.


I did Baird +2 this morning (which is in the gen’l build low volume plan) and, after doing Joe Devel +1 on Tuesday, I did pretty poorly. Just too tired to do all the work. And I took yesterday off! Oh well, doing most of my workouts at 5am (waking up at 4.45a) makes it all the harder. I just keeping muddling through doing the best that I can, nailing some workouts and struggling in others. It’ll all come good in the end!

Thanks guys…really helpful…I’m purposely not training with a fan as well as it’s odd cold here in my garage…I love dripping like a tap as know it’s working wonders. If it happens again then I will look to reduce my FTP from 280 to 260 or so…I find TR is really helping my pedal stroke and cadence which I never used to think about ! What a great training app and group !

Instead of altering your FTP, why not try a 5% reduction in intensity. You should still get the desired benefits from the workout and you might even be able to bump the intensity back up if you recover sufficiently.


I would try some of the harder workouts with a fan before I tried reducing intensity or your Ramp Test derived FTP setting…

Workout “Quality” is the last thing you want to sacrifice.

I also do some workouts without a fan as well, basically everything Sweet Spot and under (although 12min+ Sweet Spot workouts the fan comes out for sure).

But for me at least, as soon as things turn up from there, ESPECIALLY V02max work;

The fan will be the difference between suffering hard/ potentially failing/ barely hitting target power and what I would call ‘hard, but do-able’.

Fan = Highly Recommended :smiley:

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To add, get a wireless outlet control for your fan if needed. I know it can be too cold to start with it on in a cold room. But you will quickly overcome that and get hot.

You need air moving over the body to gain evaporative cooling. So, warm up with no fan, then turn it on when you get into the main interval set.

Contrary to popular belief, that excessive sweat is not a good sign on it’s own. It means you body is hot and trying to cool itself. Deny that (by not using a fan) and your body will react by restricting what it can do.

Essentially, it moves to reduce your power to protect itself. You then lose out on maximum stress on the body that is meant to lead to an adaptive response during recovery.

So, you actually limit your potential gains by running too hot.

Again, get and use a fan for best return on your training time and effort.


Thanks everyone, awesome responses. Recovery week this week then 1st week of second 6 week block starts with a ramp test next week…will deffo use a fan from then onwards ! Had no idea a fan or not having a fan would make such a difference but it does make sense now.

Was burning up after 20 mins or so but I do sweat just looking at postcards

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It might be interesting for you to keep a list of three to four things to see if you can find the reason why you are nailing some workouts and having problems with others:

  • Type of workout
  • Hours of sleep before
  • The food you ate the day/night before (and timing of it)

You might see a pattern which you might not realize is there and is having an effect on your training.
By taking action on it you might be able to get through workouts better and getting more satisfaction in return for doing them.


Really solid advice! Thanks!
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