How hard should Carson -1 be? FTP setting wrong?

Hi there,

I just finished Carson -2 (slightly modified by adding some Z2 at the end) and while I was riding, I was wondering how hard this workout should be?
At no point did I feel this was hard or even difficult and my HR basically tells the same story. I was almost surprised how “low” my heart rate was, even when doing these sweet spot intervals.

Is this normal or do you think my FTP setting is too low?

Here the ride overview:

As you can see on the right side, my HR never even got into the darker blue area…my max HR is 183 BPM.
These are my HR Zone settings based on a HRmax of 183 and a Threshold HR of 175 BPM (as per Today’s Plan).

I’m looking forward to your thoughts and comments.


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It shouldn’t be very hard. Those are very brief ss intervals, and a .8 IF is pretty reasonable.

Certainly if 90% threshold feels like nothing, then perhaps your ftp is too low, but I wouldn’t view this as evidence of that. Your heart rate was going up through those intervals, so it never got a chance to settle at a number. Looking at my HR data for sweet spot intervals, it goes up slowly for about ten minutes before settling in at that upper aerobic area. I don’t think your heart rate is going to give you any useful information in 3 minute sweet spot intervals.


I’d expect my heart to be doing about 145 for sweetspot like that. (max is 185).

was the workout fairly hard? did you need to concentrate a bit?

I’d say retest your FTP

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actually, it didn’t feel hard. I did all the cadence and climbing drills and it all felt quite smooth…I was surprised.
The last FTP test (I do the 20min test) wasn’t timed perfectly as I was fatigue from an outdoor ride. Maybe that is the root cause. I’m just not sure when/how to squeeze in a FTP test and what workout to not do?
Without the Z2 at the end of the workout I average just under 130 BPM for the workout.

You might have answered your own question there. If you think you could have gone a lot harder and I don’t mean a couple of extra watts, then your zones could be off by quite a bit.

Just perform the test again after a rest day, so perhaps replace a Tuesday workout with the FTP test.


Carson and its variants are among the easier SS workouts. It is my go-to when I am rebuilding my fitness. When I am in decent shape, it is actually too easy for me to use as an effective SS workout.

It sounds like your ftp might be set too low - or you just had a ‘hero’ day.


did this today (Tunemah). Did feel more demanding, but I guess that’s the hole point fo this workout.
Anyways, what do you think - especially looking at the HR?

I’ve never done the -1 version but looking back at my history I have done the standard version and I’ve added a note saying:
“Second workout of the week but on consecutive days. Felt this one towards the end, glad it was only 60 mins. Nice to mix in some slower cadence work although not as much as the text suggested.”
So I’d probably suggest a retest but you might not be drastically off depending on what workouts you’ve had around it.

I did Carson a few weeks ago and I found it manageable. As far as SSB workouts go I thought it was on the easier side. My heart rate was like yours, low, with a slight increase as the workout progressed. Try Palisade if you find it easy, your FTP is clearly too low.

Or try a ramp test to determine your FTP and see what that gives you. It’s less taxing than a 20 minute test that you have to pace you just go until you can’t any more. Plus side is that you can usually do an endurance workout straight after.
There’s no point asking us if we think your FTP is set too low based on your heart rate as we all experience workouts differently.
:grin: Try a ramp test and see what that gives you as an FTP or you can manually adjust what you already have…

If you feel your FTP is wrong then you won’t be getting the intended adaptations and stress from each workout until you figure out what it should be.

FTP is the anchor for your training…

Just my tuppence and feel free to ignore.

Did Carson yesterday and it confirmed what I noticed already on other workouts. As soon as the cadence goes down it feels much easier for me. If I would do the same workout with a cadence around 100, it would be much harder for me. Lower cadence has somehow a recovery effect for me.

Strange that with a threshold HR of 175, your zones put 175 into vo2max. Makes no sense to me.