Failing my workouts, following AI FTP detection


Started TR in December with a manual FTP at 274w. Been following a low volume training plan with adapative training and taken the AI FTP detection recommendations and are now at 288w FTP. Been really amazed by this, but are now struggling in my build phase towards my “A” event which is in June.

Last many workouts I’ve rated my workouts as “very hard” and last 2 workouts I’ve failed completely. First one was last Friday with my “first” kind of hard Threshold training: Robion: Log In to TrainerRoad

Went to the forum here afterwards and read several posts stating others also have problems with this workout and especially Threshold work when they use AI FTP detection. So I thought “ok”, lets give this another shot.

Today was VO2Max workout: Log In to TrainerRoad. after first 2 mins I quickly adjusted to 97% FTP, and than even further to 95% and in the end I quitted. Also too intense for me, and now I really start to wonder if this AI FTP is too optimistic? Any of you have hit the same experience after about 3 months or startup?

Another explanation can be that it’s correct with “Robion” workout is just supposed to be evil and today I perhaps wasn’t fully recovered from a ride outside 2 days ago: Log In to TrainerRoad

Background: been cycling for 10 years, about 3-5 hours per week. Been “semi structured” on zwift before TR trying to do VO2Max, Anaerobic and Threshold session (race) every week. My Zone 2 training is almost always saved for another day as I’m very time constrained.

Would love to hear your thoughts as failing workouts usually is not me and I really hate it and feel it’s demotivating.


Your account is set to private so the links don’t currently work. You don’t mention what volume plan you are on; recovery could be an issue if you’re only doing multiple intense rides every week.

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Ahh Sorry about that, hope links are working now? I’m following low volume rolling road race plan and if I have time I try an extra ride outside per week

Yup, they’re working now - I just had a quick look. I’m not seeing much by way of recovery weeks and three hard workouts + outdoor rides may just be too much for you right now. You could try switching to a master’s plan which would remove one of the intense rides and/or put a greater focus on recovery.

Also, are you fuelling adequately for the amount of work you’re doing?


Yeah it looks like maybe the week of the 18th was supposed to be a recovery week, but that Monday you did twice the time and a higher IF than the prescribed recovery ride, then the next day a big 2 hour .73 IF ride with sprints instead of the recovery ride, then a big outside ride that weekend instead of the recovery ride. I wouldn’t call that a recovery week, and that fatigue will spill over to other weeks. Though, RLGL is supposed to help mitigate this.


I think the comments above that you may not be taking enough recovery time are probably true, but one other thing is that sometimes if you’re naturally good at short power things like sprints or even 30/30’s, sometimes the FTP detectors (not just TR’s) estimate too high. I personally don’t like the detectors and find that while they swell my ego, they usually predict a good bit higher than what I can achieve in a 30-40 minute threshold interval.


I didn’t look at your history, but make sure you have some rest and are eating right. Also do a longer FTP test (20+ min.)



You (and NateP and Pbase) are correct that I might have been failing hard on my “recovery weeks”. On a “low volume plan” I have kinda just had a “do as I want week” instead if I felt fresh, but maybe that was a mistake I had to learn? I find it really hard to believe in those week when you are time crunched? Anyways, think I’ll try to take them a bit more serious now, if that is what could cause me to fail the real workouts now.

I’ve been considering switching to Masters plan but do think I’m recovered each time when I’m only riding 3-4 times per week. 46yo but young by mind… :slight_smile:

So… so far more recovery and then perhaps a “real” 20 min ftp test as suggested so far. Thanks a lot for your feedback. I also think the “sprints” like 15 or 30/30s are a lot easier than 60s/2m efforts. Perhaps it’s because of external power meter and “latency” in hitting the numbers en ERG mode that makes the short bursts easier.

I used to fail workouts on the low volume plan as well. I made the mistake of thinking “it’s only three days a week” I should be able to do that and whatever else I want too." That thinking had stalled my progress for years.


Everyone is quick to bring up fatigue, or over-estimated ftp, however another possible explanation is that TR Low Volume Build workouts can be very difficult and maybe you don’t have enough (aerobic) conditioning to do them at 100%. Are these some of your first hard threshold / vo2max workouts? When doing spin classes, and with TR, I was doing 4-5 hours/week average on the bike and hard vo2max workouts were impossible unless I turned it down intensity to something like 94% intensity. Simply riding my bike more, around 7 hours/week, and I was able to crush those same vo2max intervals.


Great replies in here already! Recovery days and recovery weeks are key to a successful training plan.

I wanted to suggest trying out a block of training with your updated AI FTP Detection combined with proper rest scheduled in. Your FTP might not be too high – you may just have too much training stress accumulating over time, which prevents you from expressing that higher FTP value when you’re riding.

I think it would be worth seeing how your training goes with more focus on prioritizing recovery. Just because you feel fresh and think that you could bang out some extra riding doesn’t necessarily mean you should if it then has a negative impact on the rest of your workouts.


This article kind of opened my eyes on what happens when the plan is favored too much towards intensity.

While I’m not a fan of how UA makes it seem like a medical condition, I’m also not a fan of saying “sweet spot is the same as base but shorter.” You can’t cheat your way to endurance solely with intensity.

(Aerobic Deficiency | Uphill Athlete)


Thanks, I’ll try this out and respect the recovery more. 1½ week more and I have rest week again.

Today AI FTP noticed my 2 failed workouts and bumped me down from 288 to 282. So maybe you are right that it’s somewhat correct and that I have just been failing on recovery.

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Side note further to comments already made:

What your FTP is set at is almost always irrelevant when it comes to VO2 Max work, so if you’re failing workouts up there and at threshold that also suggests a broader issue than whether your FTP number is good or not.


Thanks Kevshoes,

This really make me think that my Garmin connect is also right about my training load. I’m always maxed out in anaerobic and threshold work but low base is always too low.

However the training plans here on TR and other places always focus on Sweet spot as base compared to Zone 2 if you are time crunched right?

I’m really thinking about if switching to masters plan and only have 2 intense days per week + 2 zone 2 days would be better off for me and give better adaptations. But according to this and I guess many coaches including TR say Sweet spot is better “bang for your buck” ?

And better “fat utilization” with zone 2 training is first beneficial if you have like 10+ hours per week to train?

I’ve never trained much aerobic base - always hit my trainings hard as I was thinking that would be best with my time available. I really think it could be beneficial for me with a larger base, but I find the logic hard to understand that it would help if I train at 5-6 hours pr week and would be forced to leave out higher intensity. But then again I dont think my FTP have increased much the last 5 years so perhaps I need to go for the masters plan road instead :slight_smile:

Yeah, that’s the catch with cycling and low volume plans, they try to make up for lack of time with intensity. I get it, some people just can’t commit to more hours, but it sure makes for more difficult and stressful progression, and it often leads to a mindset where you feel like you always have to go hard and easy days are “bad”.

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The TR plans really all are sweet spot based even as you go up in volume. The problem with the “bang for your buck” idea is that with training you’re not just trying to pile on as much stress as you can possibly handle. Otherwise you’d just hammer yourself with VO2, threshold, or anaerobic intervals every session. Even TR has said on their podcasts, the energy systems from Z1, Z2/base, tempo, SS, threshold, VO2 max exist on a spectrum but I have not found any explanation anywhere of how Sweet Spot (which is essentially threshold) is able to provide the same benefit of base training yet does not have the drawbacks of threshold sessions. Is it really the case that that 88-94% of FTP is a magical intensity range that defies the rules of physiology that applies to the other training intensities? I doubt it. Now I’m not someone who says SS has no purpose or even that it shouldn’t be done in base periods. What I have been questioning, is the usefulness of having a plan that relies so heavily on SS at the expense of a traditional base. I think TR’s insistence that athletes do low volume plans and their development of master’s plans and RLGL are all kind of a tacit acknowledgement that SS is not the cure all some make it out to be.

In your case as a time crunched athlete, yeah, you have a little more wiggle room to amp up the intensity. But I think, if you were able to drop to a master’s plan and add a second Z2 ride, you will see greater gains in the long term since you’d likely be able to stick to that format for longer and you’d still get a good amount of benefits from that added Z2 work. What I found with the “standard” TR plans was that I’d be limping in to the final race of a season just absolutely fried (possibly injured), hating cycling, and needing long periods off to get myself back to a point of being mentally ready to ride again.


And then retracted said statement as they arent “energy systems”… but I get the sentiment… zones… levels


thanks for really great replies.

I think you are right on this one. I’ll give it a go. Switched to masters plan and will try to do my addiotional rides as z2 and will see how things goes for my race in a couple of months.

Thank you so much

if it works I think I might even try the polarized plan for next race. Anyone doing that?


Go masters, nail your hard workouts, add Z2 where you can (and make sure it is actually z2), take your recovery weeks seriously.