Muscular Endurance and TTE from Threshold Efforts

Just wrapped up my season with TrainerRoad (SSB1, SSB2, Sustained Build 1&2, Climbing Speciality, Sustained Build 1&2, Climbing Speciality – all LV + endurance rides to bring it to 9-12 hrs/week). It would seem like (a) my sprint and anaerobic power have gone up considerably despite doing close to 0 efforts/training for that zone, and (b) my TTE has been poor despite a substantial increase in ~20 min power. I was replacing most of the sweet spot sessions with longer endurance blocks (~4-5 hours at around 60-70% FTP, with >= 90% time spent in that endurance zone, and minimal breaks), and I was doing longer threshold efforts as part of the build phase (4 * 15, 3 * 20, and such). I wonder if that is not enough to build out TTE/muscular endurance, because on the recent 1-hour effort I tried, I sustained only 88% of my TR FTP (at which I was able to do level 6.5 threshold workouts)? I realize that the conditions around that 1-hour effort weren’t ideal (weather, etc.), but I still can’t comprehend such a drop in power after what seemed like a couple of good tapering weeks leading into it.

Attaching my power curve from strava, it dips hard after the 20min mark. I wonder if I should start including some of those long 2 * 30, 1 * 60, 1 * 90 sweet spot sessions in the next season.

What was your pacing plan for your hour attempt? What was your actual power breakdown in the first, second and final 20 minutes?

There are a lot of different ways of getting to 88%.

Absolutely yes if your goal is extending tte. It seems like almost everyone benefits from these types of intervals, assuming FTP is validated well prior. Read @kurt.braeckel most recent post in the SS progression thread. Nails all the key points

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A. Nothing special about an hour - Hour power does not equal FTP (Coggan himself has said that multiple timese). Can be anywhere between 30-80 minutes - it’s a state that work above it the lactate can’t be processed and increases exponentially.

B. How did you arrive at this FTP number? Ai FTP detection? Ramp test? 20 minute test? For some people those tests are really accurate - for others they might be off which could be a factor. For me AiFTP is about 5% too high and I can tell becaus I can’t sustain that power anywhere close to 20-30 minutes.

C. Validate your FTP with RPE. It should feel hard but doable (at the beginning and during the interval, at the end can get higher) - and not like you are going to flame out any point to soon - but a sustainable amount of power.

If you were doing 3x20 at whatever FTP you were using it is probably set fairly accurately - but those breaks between 20 minute efforts were helpful. Doesn’t mean you can get rid of the breaks and then do 60 minutes at that power.

If you want to build it out past 20 minutes, the next time you work on threshold try some longer blocks that push that time out further. Don’t need to do it at 100% FTP, but can do it at 95% FTP - or even doing sweet spot for longer periods of time should have the same outcome. So try some 1x25, 1x30, etc… if extending TTE in that fashion is what you are after. But if you could do 3x20 I would say your training number is pretty close to your threshold and maybe you just need to be more rested and better fueled to do a longer threshold block past 20 minutes.

Don’t forget about the mental toughness of doing longer blocks at threshold. *That to me is almost more challenging than the physical nature. This is also a skill

Sorry for the rambliness.

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The “hardest” stretch was 96% FTP for 15 minutes, about 10 min into the race. The first 30 min were about 92% FTP, then I kind of started cramping (cold weather and such), and power started going down. It was a climb and I was at 3500ft at the end, but that shouldn’t matter much.

Will take a look, thanks!

Thanks, that is a helpful discussion.

I kind of see that 30-60 minute range for FTP coming into play now. As for how I measured that number, I did a ramp test at the start of the season. That, combined with how I felt on the bike, gave me ballpark numbers of improvement after every training block (I never did a FTP test after that first one, and just used these estimates to manually increase it - which seemed fine; I was focusing on TiZ, and I was under the impression that a level 6+ threshold workout done well would be a good indicator of my FTP. Of course, those 3 * 20 seesions were more like at 95%, 97%, 99% instead of all at 100%.

I think that’s fine - Threshold is a range - not a finite number. Kolie Moore has mentioned that he thinks about it at a 10 watt range - so doing things 10 watts below threshold is fine - especially if you can push out time in zone.

I worked on this for 2 blocks (with a break in the middle) - getting up to 40 minutes straight at 100% decaying to 99% over 40 minutes. It was really tough but doable. But I needed to be well hydrated, fed, and in the appropriate mindset to complete it. By the 8th week of this I failed 1x45 - but like 5 minutes in. I didn’t think it wasn’t my threshold any more but just the cumulative fatigue of doing 2 threshold workouts plus 3 zone 2 rides every week for two months.

I see, thanks for sharing that.
Yeah, I think there is something about how trained you are, how many miles you’ve had in your legs, etc. that goes into the repeatability of these workouts. I would have thought TR handles this with the initial set of questions that go into the plan builder (like how much experience you have with interval training), but I don’t see the workouts changing based on the answers.
This was just my first season of interval training, and 2nd year of biking, so I can see some aerobic base/repeatability/recovery constraints.

Also my first year of structure. I used plan builder until I got COVID and then decided to make my own workouts after reading a ton and listening to a ton of podcasts about training. But still use the platform/workout builder to make the workouts.

It was a process and a learning experience - just beware pushing threshold out for extended periods of time is really fatiguing - and by the end of the blocks I was really tired - both mentally and physically. The rest weeks are crucial.

I don’t race - and have zero desire to, so for me, it’s all trial and error and fun


Just trying to understand what you did, because that what you wrote is you used TR for 2-4 hours of intervals, but the bulk of your training was endurance. Right? There is a lot to like about endurance when you have 8-12 hours/week. FWIW I’m seeing the same, by doing a lot of endurance riding my entire power curve between 1-second and 5-minutes goes up without much specific training for those short efforts.

However muscular endurance for sustaining longer time at threshold, for me that requires some focused muscular endurance work over 4-6 weeks. I’m lucky to see quick and strong gains, I see the quickest gains after doing low-cadence endurance climbs (or on the flats, just less engaging), along with some longer tempo. Always mixing up cadence.

A good strategy for building more TTE is to “go long” starting at mid to upper tempo, and then going long at lower threshold (sweet spot). Threshold work - I’m good with a couple long efforts a month.

The Sweet Spot Progression thread is an interesting read.

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Yes give it a go and see how you respond. Start with long tempo then progress to long sweetspot. Doing long tempo and sweetspot (1x45, 1x60, 1x75, 1x90) did wonders for my riding in general. I would caution against doing this type of work too frequently and for too many weeks (fatigue). These sessions are more mentally tough compared to breaking up the TIZ as intervals. More than anything for me they taught me to ‘embrace the suck’. Mix it up a little too when you’re getting comfortable with it, i.e. during tempo throw in 30sec VO2 bursts every 5mins.


Yes. TR for 1 VO2 and 1 Threshold interval per week. Rest was 6-8 hrs of mid-Z2.
Thanks for sharing that, makes sense.

Thanks. I think I still have to figure out how these efforts should feel. I could really hard for 60 min, but that might not be in the sweet spot range really.

Ok, that isn’t the same as following a TR LV plan.

Nothing wrong with that - endurance focus and grabbing some progressions from TR LV plans - in fact for myself it is a better approach to achieving higher volumes and doing that sustainably and consistently.

I’m with @rb250660 and my suggestion would be to go long on mid tempo 80-85% range. If doing a restart then 1x30 and progressing out to at least two hours. Don’t get overly focused on doing it without a break, do it freestyle and just keep turning the pedals and power mostly in the 80-85% ftp range. Work different cadences. Push out interval duration as long as reasonable for your event/goals before raising power to ~88-93% sweet spot / lower threshold.

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The Strava graph is showing you your Best Efforts at the time points and not necessarily a reflection of where you are.

Do a 5min full whammy effort and the graph would look different.

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