How Do You Rate Endurance Rides?

I’ve been wondering quite a lot recently, especially with the imminent release of WLV2, how are people rating their outdoor rides?

Specifically I mean, rides in the 4-6hr+ range, performed outside, with some periods of hard, or very steady pedaling.

I am anticipating/always consider that these are almost all going to be “endurance” as primary PL.

I can never decide whether I should rate a ride “hard” where I did segments that were generally hard, or moderate based on the fact that I was not limited in my ability to continue. For example, yesterday’s ride was 4hr that ended up 0.83. I rode reasonably steady, but there were for sure periods that were “hard”, but there were also periods of “easy” and I could have happily carried on if I didn’t need to get back to my family.

It seems like this is going to be a bit of a catch for mixed effort rides in general for WLV2.

If 0.83 was your intensity factor, then this was no endurance ride. This is deep into tempo territory, and could be detrimental to your training.


Sure, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make. As you say, perhaps riding at 0.83 for 4hrs without deviation would be a “moderate” tempo ride.

In this case it was a ride with a lot of climbs at 90% plus and a lot of time spent at upper endurance. The primary benefit would be endurance.

This isn’t really a question of how to ride my endurance rides. I do a wide variety of intensities on my outdoor rides, all of which are enhancing my “endurance” over anything else.

I’m more curious how survey responses are being approached by other TR users for their long mixed intensity rides. So, say I look up an endurance 9.5 on TR and associate that with my ride and call it easy, what if there were some hills where efforts were well and truly hard. i.e. that portion to real focus, but overall the ride didn’t and by the time I reach 6hr my legs and mind have forgotten the spikey bits from earlier.

This will be more of an issue when WLV2 starts giving multiple PL’s for an outdoor ride. For example the ride yesterday might be a 1.5 VO2, and a 3.5 SS, and a 2.0 Thresh.

1 Like

You wrote that the endurance bits were easy and some of the climbs at sweet spot hard.

So I think the difficulty stems from the fact that it doesn’t seem clear to you whether this was an endurance ride, a tempo ride or a sweet spot ride. Mixing endurance with sweet spot is something you can do during structured training, but it has a purpose. E. g. you can go on a long endurance ride and add one 10–15-minute sweet spot effort per hour. Or you could do a 3–4-hour endurance ride strictly in Z2 and then do a 60–90-minute sweet spot workout (probably at an intensity you’d find easy when fresh).

There is still a specific purpose to these kinds of workouts, and that is to teach your body to riding in a partially depleted state. The first format could be race prep for a longer road race with 15ish-minute climbs peppered in. But I’d classify neither as “endurance workouts”, at least not in the power zone sense. My feeling is that you would want to do these kinds of efforts later in the season. They are not a replacement of either an endurance ride or a sweet spot workout.


I rate rides like this moderate. Mostly easy, some hard bits, glad to be done at the end… Not easy, not super hard, moderate it is


I’d agree with this. Unless you came back fresh as a daisy or absolutely flogged, you wouldn’t want AT messing with your PLs, and Moderate is the best way to achieve that, I reckon.


Why associate it with a workout if your ride was not like a workout?

I see progression levels as progressing through workouts. Whereas TSS and FTP handle how much work you did.

This post from TR is useful:


I think here is some confusion about the difficulty rating. It is not how hard or easy the workout intensity was but how hard or easy it was to complete. IF already determined the overall intensity.

For the OP case, could you have done another hour with a couple more hard effects? That would make it easy. Could’ve done another half an hour and but feel power might have started to fade on one more hard effort would be moderate. Struggled maintaining power on the last hard effort you did would make it hard. Crawled up the last climb at 50rpm would be all out. If you you are just going with the endurance ride thing and discounting the hard efforts, I’d rate the ride based on how much HR decoupling happened or how much longer you could have ridden. I haven’t ridden more than 1:30 in a few months so 4 hours would be hard or very hard for me now at true endurance pace.


Here is yet another perspective how to look at ratings: it is not just about whether completed workout was easy/hard but more about guiding AT which next workout to give you:

  • “easy”: give me harder workout next time
  • “very hard”: give me easier workout next time

And everything in between.

Now, beside that, looked through endurance/tempo workouts in TR catalogue. There is no long workout with IF ~0.83. Was it your own workout and you follow your own plan? Then it actually even does not matter how you rated it, AT would not adjust your plan anyway. Also, as far as I know, those ratings are not considered when AI FTP calculates your next FTP. TrainNow suggestions still might use this information, though but I am not sure about that.


What’s WLV2 folks :+1:

I rate “true” (lol) endurance rides as one of the best things that happened to me.


Indeed too few riders do true endurance rides and miss out on the benefits

1 Like

Workout Levels V2

When V2 is launched its supposed to have the ability to analyse non trainer road indoor workouts (outside, Zwift, RGT etc) with a goal of adjusting your training plan accurately. I believe it’s in private Beta at the moment.


Cheers buddy :+1:. Cool :sunglasses:

1 Like

If you do an actual ‘un-enhanced’ endurance ride I’d score the ride on difficulty based on how I felt at the end of the ride. After 2, 3 or 4 hours of constant pedaling at a consistent endurance pace, nice and easy, it starts to no longer be easy. So I’d judge my 1 - 5 rating at the end by how hard it was to keep pedaling at my Zone 2 pace.

Now, I like to do unstructured rides as much as anyone else. And if I’m just throwing the kitchen sink in, as you are above on your un-structured rides, it’s really more of a sweet spot or threshold workout. And then I’d just judge it in accordance with a sweet spot effort ride. You’ll notice when you look at longer sweet spot or threshold workouts in the TR library there are plenty that have intervals mixed in and then an endurance block to follow. But you won’t see endurance workouts with sweet spot or threshold intervals.

When I am at a lower volume I like to do the ‘whatever I want to do rides’ because I don’t think it matters. They add a lot of fatigue but I’m not riding too much. But when I get my volume up, to be productive in my other workouts, I like to stick to the plan and just stay in the endurance zone. I end up riding alone a lot doing this because my buddies who don’t do structured workouts can’t keep it steady without doing ‘An Effort’. But I do eventually get to a point where I can keep riding when they’re getting fatigued.


Just tossing it out there that TrainingPeaks considers an IF of .83 within the realm of endurance-paced training rides.

You can find their scale at the bottom of the article.

I had a look at the scale, and I don’t think it is accurate. In what world is a 0.6 <= IF <= 0.75 ride a recovery ride? That makes no sense.

I think most coaches would prescribe IFs somewhere in the 60s for an outdoor endurance rides, a little higher if you do it indoors (trading duration for intensity).

I think ultimately it does depend on the athlete. The description of an endurance ride from a coaching company I worked with is as follows:

"Endurance Miles are workouts that encompass time at intensity in both your Endurance and Tempo Zones. Endurance Miles are moderate paced rides that stress the aerobic energy system to build fitness through extended training volume.

Intensity Ranges:
RPE: 5-7
Heart Rate: 69-94% of THR
Power: 63-87% of FTP
Cadence: 80-95 RPM"

So a very big range and more similar to what TrainerRoad advises. But notably it allows some time at tempo. Maybe this is what TrainingPeaks was going for as well? Personally I find an IF of .72+ is creating fatigue I feel day to day. But, 2-3 hours at .62-.68 can leave me feeling refreshed the next day.

But, notably, if you’re using TrainerRoad and following one of their plans you should of course follow their guidance and zones.

1 Like

TR’s endurance workouts are almost exclusively in Z2. (Some will have short dips into tempo, but AFAIK the IF is <= 0.75 for all of them.) I thought that was universal and not just a TR thing for the reasons you give, fatigue. Still, can’t argue that (to my surprise) there are reputable sources who see it otherwise.

I still don’t know whether I would classify tempo rides as endurance rides, though. My experience is the same as you, it is much better for me to keep my intensity low, otherwise I get fatigued.

I’d include tempo workouts for specificity later on, ditto for workouts similar to the one the OP did where you mix Z2 and sweet spot to simulate a longer race with some climbs.

Same here. I’d rather have a 3–4 hour ride at slightly lower intensity rather than a shorter ride at higher intensity.

:open_mouth: Their athletes must have really understated FTP’s.

Usually a TR Endurance workout keeps me below an IF of 0.68 I think.

1 Like