Failing 90 min Threshold workouts

I’ve seen some older posts on this, but would like to put the question out there again. Lately my low volume, rolling road race plan has been scheduling “Pavilion” type workouts for my Saturdays. I like doing longer ones on the weekend as I have more time. I’ve had no problem with 90 min over / under ones, sweetspot ones or similar. But these are just like, no chance! First set, died! Second set reduce 3%, died! third set reduce another 2% died!
Am I just not adapted to these? They say “productive”, but feel like they should be “stretch”. I feel like if I was totally rested, like had some rest days leading up to them, slept like a rock, fueled like I had a race coming. I might be able to complete one.
But these are Saturdays, so I do Thursday 1hr TR, and Friday 4 mile easy run, then these Saturday.
Should I reschedule them, replace them, turn them down or what?
Luckily I’m done with these, since they are only week 8-10. But will be good to know for next year, when I’ll do this plan again. I do also remember doing this same type workout on Zwift and failing, so is it just me? Who nails these? anyone?
Thanks team!


Last week

Two weeks ago
I swapped week 9 for a group team ride, phew!

When I first started with TR I struggled on 90mins ERG workouts. I think because phycology I had been doing sub 1h non workouts under my previous coach. Given time I have adapted but I prefer to run things in resistance mode now.

How was your FTP ascertained? Unless you’re massively fatigued, I’d guess your actual threshold is maybe 20 watts lower, based on these workouts.


I’ve been using TR since 2019 so I’m pretty adapted to ERG. I don’t have any problems with other 90min workouts. I’ve seen others saying ERG makes these too hard. Maybe next time I’ll try just resistance mode. Thanks for the tip.

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I use AI detection and I usually accept adaptations. I also don’t fail other workouts, just these specific ones. So I don’t think my FTP is off.

I haven’t done this style of workout since last year, but I did fail in the same way. First set was fine, second a slight struggle, but then I had completely blown up for the final two. I remember thinking that the PL score for these workouts seemed too low because the higher supra-threshold portions add a lot of difficulty.

Some thoughts I have… which I’ll probably use if the same thing happens to me this year:

  • Since the system categorises workout as a given zone (eg: Threshold for these), any of these mixed-style workouts are harder to score in a pure fashion and I find the scores a bit less “trustworthy”. In this case I think how it feels for you may depend on your current VO2 score as well.
  • In my case last year and in your cases, it really seems like repeatability becomes the issue. If this is a weakness and you think you need it for your style of riding, it probably is worth pushing on with these and seeing if that improves over time? If not, maybe forget what the plan is trying to achieve and substitute these for another style of threshold workout of a similar score.
  • If your current VO2 PL means the VO2 workouts you’re being served don’t have you doing repeated intervals of the same length as those in these mixed threshold workouts, then maybe focus on improving your VO2 PLs for awhile instead.
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Yes, these are a one off. I complete 99% of other workouts, but for these, I have no chance. VO2 is my strong side though as I’m mostly a crit / cx style rider. I love over / unders and 30/30’s. I’d really love to know why I fail these. Here is my current progression levels. Don’t know if this helps.

Those are both pretty tough workouts, especially with the above threshold segments, then settling back at threshold.
Your “FTP” could be slightly inflated/dragged up by your stronger VO2 and Anaerobic abilities. Seeing a 1.7 SS and 1.0 Tempo is certainly lower than I’d want to see before I started trying to tackle 5.0 Threshold workouts… I’d start with some 4.0 or 5.0 sweet spot workouts of the same duration, and similar structure, but with just a bit less intensity. Or simply try one of the failed workouts, but lower the percentage by 5% and I bet you nail it.


Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. For me the first set of thresholds is the hardest. After that the rest is easier. Now endurance is what I hate. Maybe because I ride in the hills outside instead of flatland. Just pick a substitute of lower intensity until you develop enough to tackle the harder ones.

Good points. I think the low volume plans throw you into higher levels, since there is less time training. Like Chad always says, you need enough load to make your body improve. I was expecting the Low volume rolling road race plan would start with endurance and sweetspot, but it was almost immediately into threshold and VO2.
I’m thinking I might be overdoing it with having these on my third workout day in a row. So you’re probably right, I should either move it, or the previous workout, so I’m more rested. Or lower intensity 5% right off the bat. I can always raise it back up if I’m feeling good midway.
Thanks for pointing that out.

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Is your VO2 PL of 5.3 mostly based on doing 30/30s or are there 1-2+ minute intervals in there too?

In my case I had been doing lots of 30/30s but those longer 1 and 2 minute segments in the mixed-threshold workouts blew me up a bit. I think if I’d stuck with it for a few weeks more it could have come good, but my plan moved on and I haven’t really come back to this style of workout since.

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I feel you. I haven’t failed a workout in 12 months of TR. As soon as I saw Jacks +4 I knew it would take a miracle for me to complete. Lasted 3 sets. Then dropped 5% then another 5% on the remaining. It’s rated 5.9. The previous week I did a 5.7.l no problems. AT has assigned a 4.4 for next week after my survey response. Surprised at how big a drop they went.


It’s a good mix of 30sec up to 3 min. The difference I think is that these don’t give you any rest between. It’s like 3 min at this max, 20 sec off, then 4 min at this max. Oh man, makes me tired just typing that. LOL

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Oh man, yes I’ve done similar ones, but more of a break between each, no problem. Those look really close together…

2 min. I mean c’mon!

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I did these as part of General Build. But I did them outdoors and managed to get through them though I marked them all ‘very hard’. The progression was Pavillion to Heng Shan to Robion.

I remember finding the longer repeats (4 minutes just above threshold) much more difficult than the shorter, higher-intensity repeats (minute at 122% or 2 minutes at 112%). I thought my muscular endurance was limiting me.

I suspect that if I hadn’t been outdoors (in the freezing-cold weather which kept me from overheating), I might not have completed them as intended. Plus, it’s easier to ‘cheat’ the power outdoors without realizing I’m doing it; not sure how good my compliance was.

They’re tough; I suspect they’re supposed to push you hard. Some of the repeats will suit you more than others; they give you a clue about what you need to work on.


I felt exactly the same way. I can do anything for a minute :sweat_smile: But those 3-4min ones, oh my!

I’m fine with all of that. Give me 10+ min intervals at 105% and I’m questioning my life existence.


This post may belong in the unpopular opinions thread, but if you can’t do a threshold level 6.0 or higher on a pretty good day, your ftp is set to high.

It took me a long to come to this realization myself, and I personally know that it’s psychologically really hard to make this adjustment. AI FTP detection is great for tracking changes to ftp, but I think it still is trying to predict your performance on a ramp test using the 75% of the highest 1min power. This is an overestimate for most in my opinion.