Going higher than target on anaerobic workouts

Looking a couple of days ahead in my training plan I see stuff like norraguard coming up:

I know that with certain workout types you don’t want to push past the target because it gets you out of the particular training zone and you’re not actually doing what the workout is meant to achieve. With anaerobic workouts though, is there a top end?

The description says these should basically be all out efforts, but looking at the power targets for each of the efforts I know they’re too low for it to be all out for me for that short of a duration.

I know that the efforts will add up over time and the latter ones will be way harder to hit the targets on, but should I be holding back to hit the targets on these or should I go all out for them all? More pointedly, for anaerobic workouts it’s ok to go past the target as long as you can at least hit at least the target power for every effort, right? Trying to make sure I think about it and approach the workout correctly.

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Put the trainer in resistance mode and do the efforts as high as you can, as long as you can hit all the targets repeatedly.


you should try and go max, don’t be bound by the percentages. I did this one yesterday, and my efforts were above the generally max 150% that is indicated for anaerobic intervals.


Ideally, you’re finding a power level where you’ll be able to complete all of those intervals but the later ones are REALLY hard to complete at that power level. It’s OK – better, even – if your power is fading somewhat at the end of intervals.


If you go harder than prescribed, you screw up the programming of your training plan. Each workout is designed with a particular load in mind- a load that you can recover from before the next workout. When you ‘go all out’, you accumulate more fatigue than intended and will carry that into your future workouts, reducing their quality and/or effectiveness.

Think big picture.

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:arrow_double_up: This is one of the reasons I finally started doing a Master plan. I’m no longer on an almost daily knife’s edge to complete the next high intensity workout.

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Generally speaking, agreed! Don’t overdo any one day, don’t be a hero.

That being said, in this workout the description is literally telling the OP these should be max, or very close to max, efforts. The question is about how best to follow those instructions.


To my understanding, there are two kinds of anaerobic workouts with different goals:

  1. all out sprints: discharge your battery as fast as possible with plenty of time to recharge
  2. repeated attacks: recharge your battery as fast as possible to go again very soon

Norragard is 2nd type of workout, i.e. go high but focus on recovering quickly before next burst and try not to increase recovery duration.

If you are anaerobically inclined rider, this can be easy workout indeed, even if your PL has decayed to 1.0. I know from past experience that for me first challenging workout PL is around 7+, so I initially ignore AT suggestions, do breakthrough alternative (such as Belknap or Black Kaweah +1) for quick PL boost and only then let AT guide further.


I’m a very anaerobically inclined rider. This workout as is, 15-75 second burst of 125-140% ftp with that much rest would be super easy and borderline useless as is (in my opinion, for myself to progress). That’s why I was considering this in the scheme of a comprehensive training plan as a reason to adhere to the specified wattages. That is, you’re just trying to get some small doses of high wattage. A 75 second burst at 140% is hard, but I imagine as duration increases, percent of ftp decreases in this one.

I hear what you all are saying, but I’m still a big proponent of ‘sticking to the plan’ when it comes to workouts. Or at least don’t fault TR (your plan creator) when your next AIftp isn’t any better! lol


There is no need to go over the targets, but at the same time no worries if you do.

Have a look at what TR says about developing anaerobic capabilities:

Particularly about the variety of zones in some of these workouts.

IMO, a workout like this should be within 5% of all out. That might mean the first couple intervals are paced just a little to not blow up, but by the last 1/3 you should be going as hard as you can.

Unless you’re decently untrained, submaximal intervals won’t do a ton to increase your anaerobic capabilities.

Edit: In my view the power targets as a % FTP are just there to give you a general idea. 1 min power is extremely loosely correlated with FTP so the targets might be spot on for you or they could be way way off. For example, if I were to do this workout at the targets I would barely be breathing that heavy since the 1:15 intervals at 128% is like my 7-8min power. While for others it might be a pretty hard workout.

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After reading this discussion, I’m inclined to agree with @KWcycling (and my thanks to @svens since that post is probably exactly the kind of advice the OP needs). Best to stick to the power targets, ride the workout as is, then use the post-ride survey to influence the response by Adaptive Training.

UNLESS the OP already knows that this workout is easy-peasy and not enough of a challenge, in which case TR offers easy ways to select a workout with a higher PL that will provide a more appropriate challenge… but likely if OP did know that already, they wouldn’t be asking this question!

I get the point, but when the workout has a fixed interval intensity, but the instructions say “go all out”, I think it’s hard to know which of those two guidelines to follow, which is where the original question comes from. I think you could argue that both of those are “sticking to the plan”, but would produce very different outcomes.


If this was the first such workout I’d done, I’d be tempted to take advantage of the fact that there are two sets by doing the first according to the power targets stated and then doing the second by embracing the spirit of Zone 4 in my bespoke 4 Zone model:

Hammering :blush:

Set 1 will give you a rough idea of what it feels like to work at the power currently assigned. Set 2 will give you a better idea of what you’re capable of and give you data and insight into exactly which stretch or breakthrough workout to choose next time. It should also leave your legs absolutely dead. Hopefully, just as you finish the last effort, not the first or second. :smile:



Anything above a threshold workout and I’m going all out, regardless of targets and descriptions.

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Yeah, this is def where my question came from. The workout says go all out but from my experience with previous anaerobic workouts I know this isn’t really going to tax me at an all out level, but at the same time I def understand that the targets are there for a reason.

I would add that even though I’m doing the criterium plan my main races are all velodrome races, so they’re shorter than crits and much more anaerobic. There is no track focused training plan, so I also wonder if with these anaerobic ones if the suggested targets make sense if I was doing mainly crits vs track races. Like in a crit I’m never going to do a three lap sprint or a 9 lap keirin, but those are def super spikey races that I’m 100% trying to prep for.


I would substitute a workout that is classified as a strech. Then you can still classify it as easy in the survey. I suspect if AI is actually somewhat intelligent it should have you at reasonable intensities fairly quickly.

For me, this is the biggest confounding variable. If a human coach gave me this workout I would do it all-out, then they would know how to adjust from there. But the AI will take your survey instructions relative to the prescribed workout. So if you exceed the power targets by 100W and then rate it ‘all out’ it will think the WO as prescribed was ‘all out’.

IMO, the power targets for a workout like this are there for 2 reasons:

  1. To give less experienced riders a general idea of what they should be doing.
  2. Because TR is built for indoor riding on a trainer and the trainer has to have a power target to set it’s resistance to (for ERG mode).

Maybe someone from TR can give better insight into what they recommend. But maybe the best thing to do is to do this workout as prescribed, rate it ‘easy’, then the AT adjust from there. Or you sub in a harder workout, do that as prescribed, and let AT adjust. But this might not be the time to just go balls to the wall and ignore the power since you want AT to know what’s going on.

But at the same time, don’t let AT hold you back too much. It doesn’t know you and is constrained by the workouts it has programmed into it. So if you’re an outlier then you might never get a good workout for you. TR is there to provide a framework and it’s then up to you to adjust it to best fit your goals and physiology.