Make-up TSS after Failed Workout

Well it finally happened. I failed this morning’s Kaiser +2 workout in my final week of intensity under the Short Power Build mid-volume plan. Things pretty much came unglued after the third VO2 max interval and I ended up yielding just 78 out of 106 planned TSS after trying to cobble together a few more of the intervals. Could be any number of reasons for this, including back-to-back nights of poor sleep quality. I did fuel pretty well yesterday, so I don’t think that was the issue.

It just so happens that there is a 28 TSS workout called “20 Minute Indoor Cycling Training | Hill Sprints on the Passo Campolongo” that I could try and knock out after work to hit my target of 106 TSS today. It includes low-end sweet spot and 5x20sec at 150%.

Should I consider doing this or take the hint from my body that today isn’t the day? Or, could I do the 28 TSS tonight via Recovery or Endurance intensity and not activate those fibers that got so torched this morning?

I’d take the hint and move on.


Not all TSS is created equally and so just by making up the TSS through another workout will not provide the same TSS goal of Kaiser +2. I would move on to the next workout and not worry about it.

Normally I’d just move on, and not worry about the extra TSS. It won’t make that much difference at all. If you still feel like you want to ride after the workout, add some endurance riding in for 20-60 minutes or so.

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My feeling is that if you’re never “failing” (it’s not a fail btw) workouts than your FTP is too low and you’re not challenging yourself enough. There will be days that life stresses and fatigue mount to a point that you just can’t nail the workout. We are not pros so we don’t have the luxury of perfect recovery and nutrition and even still, there will be times where workouts are cut short or must be adjusted to suite fatigue levels. This is normal and expected so no worries there.

So you’re fatigued to a point where you can’t finish the prescribed workout and your solution is to add more TSS? Why, to meet some TSS goal? Your body needs rest. Workouts break you down and rest builds you back stronger. So allow your body to build you back stronger without instead stunting the recovery with more stress.


Don’t worry about it, just recover and prepare for the next workout.

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Kaiser +2 has got to be one of the most “failed” workouts. It’s hard. In the 3 times I’ve done it, I’ve never finished it flawlessly. So don’t beat yourself up over it.

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So I had a little dig into your workouts and found a couple of things.

First, you did a ramp test back in April, before going on holiday, and then starting the second half of Short Power Build after that. However during this 3 week period you change your FTP from 265 to 270 and then again to 272, without any obvious reason why.
Unless you’re completing really difficult workouts with ease, the best practice is to keep your FTP the same throughout the 3 weeks loading up the training stress, take the rest week, then see the number go up after. It doesn’t surprise me you’re failing a hard workout like Kaiser +2 at the end of 3 weeks of tough workouts when you’ve pushed your FTP up 7.

Secondly, you tend to fall apart when your heart rate reaches 165-166. That’s not a criticism, just an observation. It happened in the 4th set of intervals in Mitchell, after which you had to reduce the intensity. Similar thing happens in Junction, and same happens in Kaiser +2 just before it goes to pieces.
Suggestion: instead of trying to push through and do every interval no matter what, keep an eye on your heart rate, and if it hits about 164, take a SHORT (5 breaths) backpedal break and then resume the interval. That way you’re much more likely to complete all the intervals and get all that TSS in the bag. If you go too far too soon into the red, that’s when days like today happen.


Thanks for digging into that for me - the fact that I bumped up the FTP without testing did cross my mind. I guess I felt the need to do so after handling the two weeks after my trip so well. But, since I now realize that TR progresses the challenge of the workouts each week - I’ll not make that mistake again. I’m thinking I’ll turn it back down to 265 for the rest of this week and recovery week to make sure I don’t get in a hole before that next FTP assessment.

Another question though, I crushed Dade +1 back on May 15th and spent about 10 minutes above 165 bpm. Any ideas on where that outlier came from? TrainingPeaks says my TSB was 2 that day versus -8 today, so form might have been a factor I guess.

From your notes: “I had a sore throat but did the workout anyway”
Fighting a bit of an infection can raise your overall heart rate, so that’d be my first guess.

Hi Martin,

I thought of something else that might have contributed to me feeling so strong right after my trip. I had done 9 workouts in a hotel gym without a fan and got super hot each time. The outdoor ride I did on the weekend during the trip was about 3 hours in 90-100 degree heat index. I think it is possible that the heat adaptation from the workouts during my trip caused me to come home and feel really strong in my much cooler workout room. So unfortunately, I turned up my FTP at the same time the heat adaptation was probably wearing off and the workout intensity was ramping up.

If this is the case, it is kind of cool to see first hand the degree to which heat adaptation training can help performance.

  • Kevin