Fatigue on over threshold efforts

Hi Forum,

I have a couple a couple of questions …
… to put everything in context I have been using trainer road for around 1yr or so. I am currently doing the general build - mid volume. My FTP is around 305w and max power is around 1000w.

Currently I am reasonable fit and feel I can plod along at around 290w for an hour or so. However if I do over threshold efforts I find I quickly fatigue. This is particularly noticeable in crit zwift race or in club rides when there are 1min over threshold efforts on a climb and struggle to keep it above 375w and then feel exhausted when I then go back into sub threshold. It feels like everyone else I am racing can “comfortable” increase power to 500w and then have quick recovery. Over an hours race these efforts are cumulative and struggle to keep steady state just below threshold (at the end of the race). The lack of power on the climbs and poor recovery is frustrating (and losing be positions in the race). However I know that if I am fresh I can easily keep 1min at 500w and have a max 5s power of 1000w. What am I doing wrong in the program or what sort of program would the forum suggest to increase power in over threshold effort with the ability to quickly recover.

On a unrelated note when I have 2hr of Z2 training do you get the same benefits of splitting the session into 2x1hr blocks rather than 1x2hr block?

any advice and insights would be great



From what I understand, you won’t be race ready until the speciality phase.


Was your FTP set on the turbo trainer? Did you use a powermeter?

Plodding around to me suggests minimal effort. Is this done outside? How intense is that effort? Are you using a powermeter? Is that powermeter the same as the one indoors?

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On this, I would say no. In fact these session will be a really good marker for your aerobic base, by monitoring how much your HR “drifts” in the second hour. That’s when the good work is being done, when you need to keep pushing out that steady power as your muscles slowly fatigue.

As for the Zwift races, are you sure it isn’t a case of power to weight? Is it partly that other riders actually need to push out less power to get up the climbs?

Secondly, is 305 your ramp test FTP? If so then your actual FTP (i.e. the power you can hold for sustained efforts) is moderately likely to be lower. And in which case that 290 watts is closer to threshold than you think - so no wonder you don’t have much left in the tank when they hammer it over the climb.

So overall I wouldn’t overthink it. General Build is a good program and I don’t think there’s a change in emphasis that’s going to radically alter your performance in these races.

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I think TR plans are awesome for building a big engine. I do find though that I need a little extra bit of specific practice/training on the type of really hard, racing efforts you’re describing. Never sure how much of this is mental vs physical vs technical. Probably a bit of all 3. Mentally learning how to really dig in and suffer when it’s not a structured workout and you don’t have a nice bit of 40% recovery coming up in 30, 29, 28 seconds. Technically learning how to conserve even a bit of energy by being a little smoother, getting a bit more aero, better group positioning, etc. And physically just adapting to cope with spiking power over and over again. I find the TR “race winner” workouts where you start an interval with high power and then settle in at something like threshold are somewhat helpful, but really the best preparation is just incorporating the types of rides you’re already doing into your training every now and then.

If the climbs are short then one effective strategy if the group is big enough is simply making sure you’re near the front approaching the climb and then dropping back through the group on the climb. Even putting out ~20 fewer watts on a climb is a big help if repeated over and over again during a race.

Of course the other possibility is that the people you’re racing and training with simply have fewer kg and/or more watts than you! It’s always relative.


First, dont compare yourself to other racers (i say this while I do it all the time…so take it with a grain of salt). That other racer might have 15 years of experience and hitting 400w ftp.
Second 375 is 125% FTP. Good luck keeping that power for more than 5 or 6 minutes at the time. Its super hard.

There are specific workouts to help gain more shorter power gains.
I am a tri athlete so I dont have to deal with that… :slight_smile:

Over threshold efforts are quickly fatiguing. That’s what threshold means.


I use a power meter both indoor and outdoor…
… plodding around is maybe the wrong label it is more a solid threshold effort (I am a rower who is a cyclist so very happy being at threshold for a long time). So my HR is maybe 165/170 (max hr is at below 180) at 290w for 1hr so fairly intense but very happy :slight_smile:

Indeed :slight_smile: you are complete correct but still want to improve these efforts!

During a TR ramp test?

yes, I used my power meter on the turbo trainer doing a ramp test. This gave me an FTP of around 305w which sounds reasonable.

yehh I agree - 375w at 125% FTP is hard for 5mins but I can do it, but I could probable do 350w…
… in fact the race becomes more equally if there aren’t hard short sprints since I can grind out high threshold output for a long time. Its the 1min short sharp efforts that really kill me.

What specific workouts would you recommend for shorter power gains.

Great advice - thanks … I agree its much easier for workout in TR where you have nice recovery but that doesn’t really happen in the race (well not to the riders!). Will look at the “race winners” - I guess in the end it just a matter of time and practicing hard short efforts but balancing that out with recovery

Join the club! Above threshold is just hard. Maybe lower the intensity a bit for those. But not for your sweetspot and endurance .
I missed out general build, and went straight into MTB marathon MV. Bad decision. Now I’ve gone to general build MV and finding the vo2 sessions hard. I realise during my training and racing career I never trained so precisely , and then only with HR and perceived effort.
If you have been the same, or are new to training with power, it will take a while to adapt.
The big difference is, when using HR, and RPE you THINK you are working consistently hard for ,say 2 minutes. But you are not. The power meter doesn’t lie. :exploding_head:

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