My TrainerRoad retrospective

My first ramp test was a little over three years ago & when I came to TR in what I thought was a pretty fit state. But that first ramp test was not a very big result! A few days later the first threshold workout absolutely crushed me. Not only was my FTP less than what I considered a good number but I couldn’t even hold it for 5 minutes. Here is a picture of my confidence ebbing to zero and my humility going to 8000.

Yesterday evening I wanted to set a 2 hour power record & I recognized that number! Same ‘Threshold’ power number I couldn’t hold for 5 minutes when I started TR.

If you had asked me about my time on TR I would have said it’s been ok but I haven’t exactly knocked it out of the park…but that is a dramatic improvement in any stretch of the imagination. I’m able to hold what was essentially a VO2max effort on day one for 24 TIMES longer. Not bad.


I watched with interest your Gollnick inspired long threshold efforts. How much credit would you attribute to doing that style of workout? I ask because my first year of cycling was 2016, and I used Gollnick style efforts to push my threshold efforts out to 70 minutes by early 2017. At the time my reasoning for doing those longer and longer intervals was replicating Wed night world efforts and long climbing efforts (I wasn’t reading research studies).

Nice progress. I’ve been a weekend warrior + commuter for such a long time and kicking myself for not finding indoor training interesting until this past summer. I am one of those people who had a fluid-based CycleOps back in the 90’s and absolutely hated it. We are lucky to have such great resources now!

Not very reassuring for TR ramp test :wink:
Congrats on the progress. Looking at things this way is always pleasant :slight_smile: My first FTP from 2 years ago is today’s bottom of Z2 so I understand the feeling.


Definitely that is a super effective workout. In terms of closing the (substantial) gap between ramp-test-derived ‘FTP’ and what I could actually hold for an hour the Gollnick workouts were probably 85% of the solution. But also the important thing from the Gollnick paper was just some confirmation…hey, here are a bunch of subjects (including the author) that did a graded exercise test (GXT), tried to pedal for an hour at 70% of peak power, couldn’t do it, but made some changes and eventually were able to do it. That, along with the Coyle/Coggan ‘Determinants of Endurance’ paper sort of convinced me that even among trained individuals the portion of GXT peak power that can be held for ~ an hour varies substantially. Gollnick (and to a lesser extent Seiler) just showed me it was possible to close the gap and gave me a recipe for closing the gap.

Also, that approach is super-cool because you can recommend it without reservation to all your opponents & rest secure in the knowledge that they will all be too timid to attempt the protocol. :smiley: You gotta really want it to do that week after week. It’s a much higher mental hurdle than 30/30s or 4x8.

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Well I used to complain about TR ramp test quite a bit but they have taken some positive steps to resolve ramp test issues. So I don’t want to bust their hump too much while those things are playing out. TR are trying to make things better and observable evidence indicates they are succeeding.


Nothing at all wrong with the ramp test. Overthinking on it on the other hand…

Congrats on the progress. That’s really awesome.

Is there a thread here or elsewhere where Gollnick workouts have been discussed?


You’ll find a short list of “Gollnick” search results to review, here is one:

paper is titled “Effect of Training on Enzyme Activity and Fiber Composition” published 1973.

One way to view that intervention is that it is a simple case of specificity - if you want to be able to ride at a high % of vo2max then do that over and over until you reach the point of diminishing returns.


But this singular goal of increasing time to exhaustion would be much better served by doing VO2 ints too, according to TR coaches… Right? Be able to work at higher %'s of VO2 will increase that and maybe even your VO2 and FTP…

Seiler proposes the opposite of the steady state approach. e.g. Polarized, even for Triatheletes

I’m sure this can vary on an individual basis but for me the answer is a hard ‘no’. I’ve explored TTE on the bike in ways even most avid cyclists have not & for me, beyond a shadow of doubt, the best way to improve TTE at a given intensity is to train at or just a bit below that intensity. I’m not a big proponent of idea like ‘the best way to improve VO2max is to ride lots of Z1’ or ‘the best way to improve TTE at tempo is to ride lots of VO2max’.

I observe that TR plans seem to support the notion that they agree with me! I don’t see a lot of VO2max work in their century plan. I do see a lot of VO2max work in their short track plan. So judging from what TR advise cyclists to do it seems like TR sort of agrees with what I wrote above.

@bochenek if your goal is to ride at threshold or at a material fraction of threshold for longer, I encourage you to give ‘Hour of Power’ workouts a try. I think you’ll like the results but also I understand these types of workouts are mentally daunting. Most riders don’t have the mental toughness to attempt/do an hour at threshold…and maybe that’s part of the reason they work so well. It’s also the reason (in my opinion) that they are not regularly prescribed…athletes won’t do them…and, honestly, unless you really know what a given athlete’s ‘ftp’ is you can’t ask them to do an hour threshold workout anyhow. So it takes more than a willing athlete: whoever has their hand on the tiller has to know how to work the trim tabs.

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I don’t recall TR coaches talking about it on the podcast. Time to exhaustion as a metric was introduced 5+ years ago (IIRC) in WKO and is discussed here:

Coach Tim Cusick wrote that article, with input from Dr Coggan.

There is a good webinar on YouTube - “Building FTP, TTE and Stamina with WKO5” that talks about it. Without listening to the podcast again, the slide on page 20 (download link from YouTube webinar) describes what Brennus wrote:

on the slide it notes pushing TTE out by doing longer upper tempo and lower threshold intervals of 85-94% of FTP. I stumbled on this method of increasing TTE four years ago, after watching a GCN video. It took my TTE (by definition at FTP) out to about 65-70 minutes, as actually field tested outside.

Go visit the Sweet Spot Progression thread to read about others achieving long TTE (at FTP) and stamina / high fatigue resistance (long efforts under ftp). This approach will build metabolic fitness, and you’ll reach a point of diminishing returns (FTP at high % vo2max) when its time to raise the roof and work on vo2max. But working on vo2max is about increasing cardio fitness. Working on TTE is about increasing metabolic fitness.


Quite opposite. Doing vo2 max will bump your FTP usually decreasing tte. And then, like @Brennus said you want to extend your TTE by working under power target. So if you want to extend tte, you will work 97% of your FTP but pushing your TiZ. Doing SST can help but you have to do really long intervals (for example my TTE@90% is roughly 2x my FTP TTE). So vo2 max build your power curve up, extended FTP work pushes it right.

TR usually does not address aspect of TTE, the idea from TR is push your power up, so your TTE at old FTP naturally will be longer. Hence the focus on pushing your power in intervals not length.

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Seiler’s idea of polarised for cycling is doing a lot of z2 and using anything from SST to vo2 max as hard sessions. Even his 4x16 intervals from paper were done under FTP (97%). I recommend to listen to that triathlon show and finding episodes with polarised training. You will see how murky this water is and how many individual interpretations of polarised exist. Basically concensus is - do endurance work and then sprinkle up to 2 hard days when you do anything that you find hard and fits your goals.


So are we saying if you’re a TT guy, your focus is on TTE? If you’re a rollin road racer, crit or mtb guy, do you recommend the same approach?

We want to do both right!?!?


Huh? A lot of sweetspot in a polarized plan???

Apparently we are suppose to ignore the zones Seiler laid out in that Fast Talk podcast? And do sweet spot now, everything is polarized?!

Feels like every Polarized (big P) discussion always comes back to how in reality he ends up going pyramidal