Over Unders - Dealing with a bad day

Ordinarily I don’t mind over unders, but today Reinstein kicked my arse, which resurrected a question I thought about some time ago, and posted on a TR Podcast one time but the guys never got around to answering.


Now my question is, when you know there is no chance of you completing the workout at 100% for the duration, do you,

  • 1 - reduce the overall intensity for the remainder of the workout?
  • 2 - try to do the overs as prescribed for the full period, but lower the intensity on the unders to less than prescribed to aid recovery?
  • 3 - try to do the overs as prescribed but for less time, and have a longer under to aid recovery?
  • 4 - stick with it and blow up?

0 voters

Whilst I appreciate we are all built differently, and it is probably very specific to individuals, but what do other people do?

From what I’ve listen to on the podcasts, and over and under’s so far are one of the hardest workouts. ( it is doing an under after an over that is tough!) if you find that you are taking breaks on later intervals, lower the intensity 5% or so, and complete the workout.

Not sure answer 1 and answer 2 are really much different.

I think you need to keep the overall workout goal in mind. Over-Unders are about getting above and only slightly below Threshold work.

Assuming you have a reasonably accurate FTP, dropping intensity can lead to a real shift in effective loading on our systems and a step away from the intended adaptations.

That’s because we are usually talking about 105% to 95%. Lower that more than a few percent and you aren’t doing O-U any more.

I feel the best change in this case is to simply shorten the intervals. You still push the power into the prescribed zones, but limit the duration to something more manageable.

Completing as much and as many of those full intensity intervals is likely to be more productive vs changing the effective zones via dropping the intensity.


I kind of do a combo. I try to tough it out. If I absolutely am out of it mentally, I will lower it a bit for one interval and then bring it back up. If I still can’t get in the game, I quit the workout, spin it off, and live to fight another day. I’m a huge believer in listening to your body and resting or skipping a workout when you need to. What I don’t want is to get sick and lose multiple days training.

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ALL O/U are bad days! :laughing:

But seriously…timely topic as I just bailed on Palisade after the first interval.

Wasn’t due to it “kicking my butt”, but knee pain…most likely from weight sessions.

As I’m just entering O/Us in the TR plans, I can only fall back on my previous experience with self-created O/U workouts. These were mostly x10min and x20min intervals and I just did as much of each as possible, so #4 is my answer. I didn’t know any better!