Overs/Unders - 120/80%?

Personally, I like the TR Over/Unders. I feel that they’ve set me up nicely for breakaway efforts.

In my experience, I need to be able to perform at close to threshold for an extended period of time. If there are 3-4 people in the break, you’re getting a minute, maybe two to recover. If that breakaway is really moving, you’re not going to be recovering at 80% of threshold. You’re going to be at or close to threshold. You need to be able to mentally and physically recover whilst working hard and then go again.

When your turn comes to sit on the front, you’re not ramping things up by 20%+ effort. Your smooth. That’s why I feel that the 5-8% increase in effort is good representation.


Last year i did 2x20 with 30s over and 3min under around 95%. But How long did i have to do the overs?

I’ll answer with a few of questions. What were you hoping to achieve with the workout?

Does this effort reflect how you ride/race? Does it reflect how you’d ‘like’ to ride/race?

I do efforts that replicate my real world experience. If I’m getting shelled out the back of a breakaway after 10 minutes, I know that I have to increase my mental and physical ability to endure. Start with one minute Overs, move on to two minutes, reduce the duration of the Under and finally extend the whole interval out from 10 to 20 minutes.

This isn’t done because TR or a coach ‘tells’ me to do it. I do it because I’ve learned that it’s the bare minimum for surviving in a break and it’s a weakness of mine.

Agree with to some extent, but providing everyone is of a similar ability, I’d be doing a lot less than 95% if the guy in the front is doing 105%. 120/80 seems to be more reflective of a breakaway situation when you think about it.


Just do whatever works for you. Every type of o/u has the same principle and works the same way. If you are not sure why not doing different types and rotating them through the week? This is all details that do not matter in grand scheme of things.


What are the intended adaptations in this case? I’ve heard O/Us to be good for both lactate clearing and for raising FTP. I can see the 80%/120% efforts being good for lactate clearance, but what about raising FTP?

When you Cat up, you do tend to find that the physical and mental ability of the riders varies wildly.

I race E/1/2 in the UK and as a Cat 2, I can promise you that I’m working at 95+ FTP if I want to throw my hat in the ring with the E/1s.

This is why I try to stress that it’s specific to the riding you find yourself doing :+1:

And what is FTP other than the point where your lactate production is balanced with clearance? Hence if you better utilise lactate then your FTP is higher (of course then is the case of vo2 max that have to be included)

And some reading about details of recovery:

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I never thought of it in this context, but you’re exactly right. In a rolling paceline, if the difference between the being the second wheel, and your time in the wind is 20% more effort, you’re gonna annoy a whole bunch of folks. 10% maybe. 20%, no.

Good insight.

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Yeah this is a good point, you wouldn’t ramp it up by 20%. But in the same respect you still wouldn’t be pushing 95% sat on the wheels if they’re not pushing hard. I know from experience if I’m sat on a wheel doing 300 watts, then I’m doing a lot less than 95%, let alone 3rd wheel.

I was under the (possibly mistaken) assumption that these 95 to 105% threshold over unders were created by TR simply to push your FTP up.

Then I, Sir, wish with all my heart, that I had your power and stamina!! :exploding_head:

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actually that’s exactly the point; you can crush two birds with one stone working the overs into vo2max power, but only working the vo2max physiological side of things via the slow component (great article from a running coach if you google that). so you can get a ton of time working on lactate clearance and vo2max without going in the box with traditional vo2max workouts.

we most likely won’t clear as much at 95%, but moreso in the 70-85% range, so you aren’t really optimizing the clearance aspect, which is usually the #1 reason to do over unders.

tolerating lactate doesn’t change much physiology, but learning to shuttle more effectively does.


hey, thanks for sharing that. we’re pretty basic to our approach, and hopefully explain “why” we are prescribing a workout and not just “this is the best, do it”. good luck with the training!


this opens a whole can of worms, but riding at your threshold doesn’t push it up as much as other ways of doing things. riding more endurance (so we clear lactate more efficiently) and riding above threshold, to push that aerobic envelope (mentally and physically) up!

I mistakenly road around FTP for years. My training and racing has skyrocketed in the past 5 years from doing less FTP intervals.

great example, 10 minute effort, don’t ride it at 100% ever. push 105-108%! that, with whatever endurance volume your life allows, will make you so much faster.

good luck!


If you’re racing against elite cats then I suspect you do and some more! :grin::muscle:

Disagree on this one.
If I’m rolling at 450w on the front it’s still probably around 300w on the wheel. If behind more riders, then it’s definitely less than 300w.
Without trying to be harsh, maybe focusing on being able to sit tight in the draft and riding steady in the wheel should be a priority when not in the race season? Riding rollers probably a good start, and just thinking about it and focusing on it for endurance rides.


Your aerodynamic profile cuts a 150w draft for the rider behind you? Tell me more.

Strong crosswinds, 6+ people echeloning, and I can see some pretty jumpy power while holding a steady and slowly increasing pace.

Not really. Flood with lactate requiring more large motor unit engagement to get to the higher power, then sustain power after that work. I find it more closely emulates race stimulus as well. I don’t pedal much at 105/95, but many races are between sweet spot and higher power surges.

I actually set these up as 5min MMP/Sweet spot (over/under), that works out to somewhere between 115-120% and 90%. Progression is adding time to the overs as well as the unders, effectively reducing the ratio of over to under while still ensuring clearance. I start at :30/2:00.

But working up at that higher power is certainly a side benefit, it’s just not my personal intent to maximize time at a “VO2MAX power”.