New HV Sustained Power build plan - not seeing much sustained power, not sure I am trusting this

I’m starting my build phase next week and was going to do sustained power build. I 've done it in the past and find it to be good preparation for long endurance stuff (leadville is my A race in Aug.).

I’m looking at the new plan and it looks dramatically easier. Instead of building to 7-9 minute intervals over threshold (the old plan), it looks like the longest intervals over threshold are are 5 minutes. Besides the interval length, the entire plan looks dramatically easier.

I’m wondering what is driving the dramatic changes to these plans? Is this a pre-cursor for adaptive training so they can start with an “easy” baseline and then adjust up from there dynamically if a person is hitting their marks? I won’t be using adaptive training for leadville, so I’m wondering if the new plan is a good move.

As much as I hate long v02 max work and like the idea of training being easier, I’ve responded well to the old plan. Maybe I’d respond even better to the new plan, but I’m programed to think most v02 max work should be right on the edge with a failed workout here and there. Maybe that not the right outlook.

For what it’s worth, I don’t follow the standard plans as they are laid out, but I use the tues/thurs/Sat workouts as the basis for my training. I’ll pick 2 of the 3 workouts from Tues/Thurs/Sat and do those on Tues/Thurs. Then my Saturday is always a 5+ hour long ride with some decent Z2 work, but some intensity mixed in. I find that 2 really high quality 90-120 minute structured sessions per week plus 1 long ride is my recipe for consistent gains and then I’ll just add more volume as I can (but making sure I don’t jeopardize the quality of my core workouts).

Any insights are welcome. If I could understand why the plans were chanced so dramatically, maybe I could better trust them. I haven’t been keeping up with the podcasts lately, so maybe this was explained there. My assumption was that they are probably “base level” easy plans on which adaptive can adjust up (when it’s available), but that’s just a guess on my part. If that’s the case, I think I’d be better off picking my own workouts or trying to recreate the old plan by looking at my workout history.


This was discussed quite a bit in the updated plans announcement thread.

There are some key points to take:

  1. They adjusted the rate of progression and smoothed it out. This is a great thing.

  2. They adjusted the starting difficulty down by quite a bit. My guess here is that it is because people are often working with over estimated FTP, and so failure rates were high starting out. But this is just my speculation.

  3. Best suggestion I have is to cycle through TrainNow to mine your current progression levels based on recent workouts. Do like 10-15 cycles and get the range. Use these to guide the selection of your workouts. Probably wouldn’t pick at the top of the range for a high-volume plan, unless you are confident the workouts TrainNow are giving you are too easy. I suppose an alternative here is to pick a train now workout that fits the same duration and zone as the plan is calling for, and adjust from here easier or harder depending on how you are feeling.

AT did indeed automatically give me harder workouts for SPBHV. Though it was still more conservative than I think was needed. An easy fix was to pick some harder workouts and it adapted everything downstream accordingly. I’m getting VO2 work and threshold work in the 6-7 range.

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I don’t know that this is correct. If you are “right on the edge,” then you are inherently at the top of that training stimulus zone, and that isn’t the place you want to be. From my understanding, it is advantageous to be seek out the minimum required power to get the training stimulus. For instance, instead of being “right at the edge” for VO2 max efforts, drop down 10 watts and do more time at that intensity or do another couple of intervals.

In addition, if you are “right at the edge,” it is far less likely that a rider will get a great recovery and response. I haven’t listened to any expert anywhere say that pushing to the edge routinely is a good idea. Nearly universally, the opinion is that hard efforts are required but pushing over the line will be more destructive than constructive.

100% admit that everyone is different, but I think it is a bit of a dated view to go all-out on every workout and push everything to the edge or until failure frequently. I formerly had an identical view, but over the last 6 months I have dropped down the intensity just a couple of percentage points, and it has made a huge difference in the amount of work I’m able to complete over a training block. I think it probably came from a background of just exercising to stay in shape without structure, where it is probably OK to push things routinely due to the lower amount of overall work being done. Dropping these last couple of percentage points isn’t giving up any gains, but it is improving my ability to slam-dunk the next workout, which is improving consistency.


Thanks, I guess i need to dig into some of these new features, but I thought AT isnt’ out yet. I haven’t tried “train now”, is that available to everyone yet and does it look at past workout to pick the next one I’m asking for?

Correct, it is not freely released at this point. But the predominant expectation is that TR set the new plans as a “lower foundation” plan that is firmly intended to be better optimized using AT once it is accessible to all.

This seems to be part of a staged release, where we get some aspects at different times, not all at once. Good or bad, we have new plans with no AT for all at this time. Even without AT, Jonathan has stated that they feel the new plans are “better” for a number of reasons.

Yup, TrainNow is accessible to all right now.

Yeah, I am certainly open to the idea that maybe v02 max stuff shouldn’t be so hard. I actually like the idea of backing off. I’ve always gotten a good bump after 3 weeks of v02max work, but maybe the bump would be better if I back off just a bit. But, I’m generally handling the workouts and I don’t plan to do more than 2 of those long hard sessions per week and I’m pretty careful about being properly fueled and rested for those 2 sessions. I’m 52, so adding a 3rd day of structured v02max work (or high threshold) isn’t sustainable for me. For an 8 week block, my target has always been to nail the tues/thurs workouts as much as possible while pushing close to the edge, which means I might come up a little short on 2-3 workouts over the course of 8 weeks. Maybe I’d be better of comfortably completing everything, but it does seem counterintuitive. Also, maybe the plan isnt’ as easy as it looks on paper and it won’t be as comfortable as I think.

Trainer road is estimating your progression levels based on workouts you do, and TrainNow uses that to select “achievable/productive” workouts for you.

The caveats are it can still be too low if you haven’t been doing any of what you consider hard - all out workouts in the catalog in a zone of interest that it selects from (endurance, sweet spot, threshold, VO2, anaerobic). But it gives you some insights into what workout levels would be appropriate compared to those in the static plans.

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Your approach seems pretty sound to me. I think the VO2 should be hard to very hard to finish if you are targeting two a week. And you can tell if you are making progress now by comparing the workout levels you are doing.

A sanity check is, as I think you’ve stated, you are extending time in VO2 zone from 1-8 min, or increasing power at a given time.

I’m eyeballing the old plans:

  • old Sus Power Build part 1 Tue/Thu/Sat: vo2/vo2/threshold
  • old Sus Power Build part 2 Tue/Thu/Sat: vo2/supra-threshold/threshold

details click below

screenshots here

Part 1:

and Part 2:

those are roughly the same from a power zone point of view:

  • new Sus Power Build Tue/Thu/Sat: vo2/vo2/threshold

with the week 5-7 supra-thresholds being replaced by vo2.

From a training load (TSS) point-of-view there is a drop.

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The zone labels seem a bit generous at times for lower level workouts. And the levels on the schedule has dropped substantially.

I think we are in general agreement here, but pulling back from the “edge” doesn’t mean making it easier or comfortable. It should still basically feel like death but just barely completable. Decreasing the watts but just 1% or 2% for these efforts can make all the difference IME and still lead to gains.

I think this may be a point of contention for a lot of amateurs. We all want it to be so hard all the time that it is hard to imagine getting the same, if not more, benefit from backing off a bit. When we look at these wide zones, it is hard for us to imagine that we would get a similar benefit from being anywhere in that zone, but that is what pros and multiple coaches on the podcast keep telling us. I believe Chad has mentioned several times going back years that similar physiologic results will come from backing down a little bit from the upper edge of the zone, but it is helpful to push the limits for mental toughness and pain tolerance, which I agree with 100%.

We are on same page regarding how difficult it should be day to day.

What I mean by generous is some workouts don’t even get in zone, or are barely in the power zone they are labeled as.

Thanks for sharing. Is there a way to get to the old plans (besides the screen shot)? I may just pick and chose and re-create these.

I guess they are the same general power system, but the differences are not subtle. They seem pretty dramatic. Compare week 3 tues/thurs -

Old plan:
Dade +5 is 9 x 2.5’ @ 120% - 113TSS
Elephants + 5 is 6 x 7’ @ 105% - 108% - 144 TSS

New plan:
Laureate is 6 x 2’ and 3 x 2.5’ @ 109-110% - 95 TSS
Elferkofel is 8 x 4.5’ intervals where you alternate between 110% and 88% - 121 TSS

Those new week 3 workouts are not a little easier, they are night and day easier.
Laureate is not only shorter intervals than Dade, but the different between 110% and 120% is huge.
Elferkofel is much shorter intervals with similar peak power, but you only have to hold peak in 20" spurts with 88% rest between each surge.

I fully appreciate that backing off 1-2% is a good strategy if it makes the difference between completing a workout and failing, but this isn’t 1-2%. Even based on TSS it’s like a 10% reduction and that doesn’t really tell the whole story here. 2’ intervals at 110% are very, very different than 2.5’ intervals at 120% (much more so than the TSS difference indicates). At least for me.

After reviewing this more, I’ll just say it - these plans look stupid easy and I don’t think they are good plans if you are looking to maximize fitness. Maybe part of that is my convoluted way of only picking a couple key workouts per week and doing my own variations the rest of the week, but it just seems really off. I’m back to assuming that these new plans might be designed to be the bare minimum starting point for adaptive training and the system is going to replace workouts with harder options if you are completing them easily. I just can’t believe these workouts are going to create the same adaptations that the prior plan would create. I want to believe it and I love the idea of not suffering through long and hard v02max intervals, but I just can’t buy it.


AFAIK its those screenshots or whatever you can dig up from your calendar.

If you listen to last weeks podcast, they did the analysis on how people were using the plans and determined that these starting levels and ramp rates would lead to better intended completion and consistency for the vast majority of users.

I hear everything you are saying - you’ve learned how to set targets and progress through the previous plans and now you are starting over with how to do that. And I agree, it is hard to figure out how if you are not even within 1 point of your fitness level by the end of a block, then it is hard to fathom how that will lead to any gains (assuming similar volume).

You can either try to adapt the new plans, resurrect the old plans from your calendar, or increase the targets on the new plans (effectively increasing your estimated FTP, or taking a ramp test if you tend to do well on those relative to demonstrable threshold power).

Hmm I don’t follow, do you mean that the IF doesn’t match the energy system? I.e. the IF is 0.72 but it is all anaerobic? I think the new labels and power zone classification system fixes a lot of that

Example: I did a sweetspot 4.2 level workout today. It was 2 hours long. Out of that two hours two separate 9 minute segments were at 82%. The rest was below that.

I wouldn’t classify that as sweet spot at all, especially not that high of a level.

I’ve seen other similar things like that as well, but don’t recall exactly the workouts.


I see what you mean, I’m assuming it’s Eyre +3? Looks like the text description says it is Tempo, but then it is a Sweet Spot workout? Who knows :man_shrugging:

Thanks, I’ll definitely take what I can get. Those screen shots are going to save me a good bit of time digging through old calendar stuff (which will still be missing some stuff). If you have screen shots available for HV General build, I’d love to have those also. I’m wishing I had known all these changes were coming, I would have grabbed a bunch of screen shots for plans I like. Thanks. again.

sadly that is only build plan I have, the other two HV builds are empty pdfs and I didn’t manually do screenshots.

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