Failing 90 min Threshold workouts

I think you’re right. I’m thinking it’s this type of workout that’s just too hard for some of us. I know I can do one, if I’m well rested and 100% into it. But if I’m even the slightest bit off, there is no way.

I hate broad generalizations, so my apologies

When speaking of sustained threshold efforts, you may be right. But the way workout levels in threshold are calculated is much broader than those types of efforts

Take these two for example

Same PL, but definitely not the same challenge. One would be significantly easier than the other for me, but maybe another would be significantly easier for someone else


Exactly. I could do that first one. But would die from dehydration from crying doing that second one.

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I get it - I was just lazy explaining sorry :joy:

My point was that alarm bells would not ring for me if I was failing a level 6 marked as productive (so I’d have a threshold progression of level of maybe 5.8 at that point?)

I would not necessarily worry that my FTP was set incorrectly. Failing a level 6 workout gives plenty of wiggle room to adaptive training to adjust the level down.

In my experience a fresh FTP increase knocks my threshold progression down to nearer level 4.

So by that logic I would only worry that something was wrong if I was unable to complete level 4 workouts - at that point I’d maybe think about lowering my FTP.


Me too

It depends on your main event. The first one is a XCO course, the second is a road race in a mountainous area.
The first one is training you to “number of repeats” the other is to “bear the suffer as long as possible”. If we turn back to the original post, you should chose the second one.

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There is of course some variability in the threshold zone when it comes to workout levels, which is why I tempered the level down to 6.0, while I don’t bump my ftp until I’m into the 7s. A standard 3x20 FTP workout is a 7.3. This is much harder than a 6.0 (roughly like doing a 6.0 workout bumped 3%) If you can’t do a 3x20 on a good day, what is your FTP? A 2x20 at FTP is a 5.9 for reference.

Generally, I find the workout levels remarkably accurate within zone, with a few exceptions. One area where there could be some personalization improvement to the WLs is the time factor. For me, the increase in intensity or shorter workouts with the same WL overcomes the shorter duration, and thus longer workouts of the same WL are normally easier for me. Clearly, based on this thread, it’s the opposite for others.

Also, remember that the threshold zone WLs are calibrated significantly differently. Threshold workouts at a level 5 are much more difficult than SS level 5s AND they are much more difficult than… wait for it… V02 level 5s. Play around with the workout creator to find some proof. Run a few similar workouts with intervals at 105% and 106% (the first will display a threshold WL, and the second, a V02). The calculated WL spikes about 2-2.5 full levels for the V02 one.


The issue I take with your opinion is that it underestimates the variability of stimulus that excursions above FTP have in different rider’s performance, recovery, etc.

Everything you say makes sense.

I think the only reason I’m pushing back is that I don’t think that not being able to complete a level 6 workout - such as a 2x20 - means that an athletes FTP is set to high within trainerroad. I think adaptive training can cope with that.

Now if you are arguing that the same means that the FTP in trainerroad is higher than the athletes “real” FTP - i.e. a number that would predict a 40-60min effort - then I’d agree with that.

I think (and I think you might have alluded to this yourself earlier?) that this stems from the number in trainerroad being more skewed towards ramp test results and can be inflated for athletes with a bias towards VO2max.

None of this explains why the athlete above has been served up consecutive workouts that they have not been able to complete though.


2 × 20 at 98% to 100% of threshold (as typified by Gray + 5) is my go-to test of whether my FTP is realistic (as in is it a good proxy for my power at MLSS)

If an athlete really can’t perform that workout at an RPE of, say, btwn 7 and 9, then their FTP likely isn’t a good proxy for their power at MLSS, or it is but they REALLY need to work on extending their TTE/increasing their muscular endurance.

Their FTP number may still be useful for setting power zones and calibrating some or all of their workouts, but that’s a subtly different thing …


I think you can get a really fair picture of a good day-in-day-out FTP estimate by simply measuring your own internal anxiety about conducting a workout. In fact I’d go so far as to say this is probably this most accurate measure you are gonna get!

Robion doesn’t even begin to set off my training anxiety. Looks like a workout I’d expect to vote “moderate”.

But that’s because my VO2 PL is 8.5 and rising, and my training AiFTP is not a good match for my W@TTE40ishmins.

2x20@95? medium to hard - ok cool
2x20 @ 98 hard - gonna have to psych myself up for this
2x20@100 - I’m gonna pre-caffeine and pre-carb load and have bottles well prepared, expecting very hard

Likely I know what that means - my MLSS is around 95-98% of my current AiFTP.

Try this test on yourself.


Running isn’t a rest day.

0.88 and 0.91 IF workouts are not easy, nor are they moderate. :hot_face:

Reasons can be many fold but I would check my hardware set up, my mood and other stressors.

For your next threshold session - I would;

  1. Schedule it for another day, Sunday or Monday
  2. Select an alternate 1hr, PL 3.8
  3. Drink energy on the bike
  4. Do not drink alcohol the night before
  5. Add another fan
  6. Watch a Paris-Nice replay

Focus on getting back on track as all your other training is good. :+1:

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I agree with you too. You can get a LOT faster training with an FTP that is a little too high. That’s exactly what I did. In fact, it might even be beneficial to keep the FTP a bit high when you are new to training with rapidly increasing fitness. This keeps the intensity up even if you’ve surpassed the old ftp during a block without having to constantly retest/reevaluate.

However, when fitness starts to plateau, and for more experienced riders, I think it’s critically important to be conservative with ftp setting. One thing that it does is keep the easy days easy. There are plenty of super hard WL workouts for the hard days.

I have zero desire to do a 2x20 :laughing::sweat_smile::grimacing::face_vomiting:

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What about a 2*20@60%? Great fun.

Just start adding percentage points.

When you start to feel queasy, drop 5% and that’s your FTP.

Who needs AiFTP, you have BrainFTP.

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Funny how different we all are - I would need to fuel adequately for Gray +5 but wouldn’t have anxiety over it whereas these VO2/Threshold hybrid workouts would really tax me and require rest ahead of time

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As someone new to structured training, this thread has done a good job of reassuring me of my experience with Threshold workouts. I’m glad it is not just me.

At PL4.7-4.8, I find 60-90 min threshold sessions mentally very challenging in combination with discomfort in my legs. My HR peaks are comfortably in Z4, so I haven’t gone as far as backing off my FTP yet.

But when TR asks why a workout was challenging for answering ‘Hard’ on the survey, it makes me think I could be overstretching.

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I would posit youre easy run Friday could be whats doing you in for these. Depending what your Thursday workout is the run friday even if its easy could be taxing your muscles more than you realize, since it will be working them differently than cycling. Not allowing enough recovery for you to complete the ride saturday. What is your normal run schedule and pace are you running between your first TR workouts of the week as well. Might make sense to look at adjusting your rest day to give a recovery day before the long threshold work Saturday.

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By overstretching…do you mean underreporting difficulty? This I think has been a chrinic issue with me, and I’m hoping is the explanation for my continued difficulty with workouts. Chads little poster has been helpful…I’m distilling it down even further to the most relevant defining characteristics.

All Out = Did not finish/cheated to get through it…whether that is taking breaks, backpedaling, motor doping, whaver

Very Hard = Could not do another interval

Hard = Could do ONLY 1 more interval

Moderate = Could do multiple more intervals

Those things aren’t really subjective or open to interpretation, or the individuals definitions of things. Sure there is some guesswork involved as to belief in future performance, but these are hard starting points for that.


Running the day before definitely has something to do with it I think. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to reschedule. I might move my run to Monday.
My runs are not hard usually, 4 miles 8:30 to 9 min miles. But still taxing. I only run once a week, to get a little variation.
Thanks for your input :v: