Patterns in difficulty of progression levels?

So, I know that you can’t compare your progression levels from one zone to another. As TR says in their blog “Workout Levels between workouts of different Zones cannot be compared. For example, a Threshold Level 4.0 and an Endurance 4.0 are not going to have the same RPE.”

However, at this point I would think some patterns are showing up that could help you know how you are doing. For example, I have a theory that threshold is harder to climb than Vo2 Max and sweetspot. because threshold is between those two zones, you would think that if you are at higher progression levels in those areas, than you should be at a similar level of ability at Threshold. This has been my situation for a while now. I’m currently at a 7.8 on sweet spot, a 6.3 for Vo2 Max, but only a 4.9 on theshold. Is this consistent with other riders, or am I having a weird problem performing at threshold that doesn’t affect my performance at sweet spot or vo2 max?

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This is pretty consistent with my experience. However, you should be able to push those a bit higher before increasing FTP and resetting. Sweet Spot 8+, VO2 7+ and Threshold 5.5+ is generally the benchmark that I have been using.

yeah, I’ve been using auto FTP tests, and just went up a bit, which dropped these some. at one point I had sweetspot as high as 9.7 before the auto-detect changed things!

threshold is the only real zone out of those three…physiologically. Not the other way around. Use your performance on threshold sessions to guage real fitness. Your SS workouts may actually be threshold workouts especially if your TiZ isn’t particularly long on those workouts.


That matches my experience anyhow. I assume b/c threshold is a relatively narrow range and if your FTP isn’t on the nose than you’re really either doing sweet spot or low level VO2 work.

Duration also plays a role for me at least. I’ve found stuff like wright peak (relatively) easy while getting punched in the face by some shorter SS workouts. Same with threshold to a lesser extent.

Once you get into the 9s with sweet spot workouts, it is time to reassess your FTP. Under normal circumstances you want to be in the 4-7 range for PLs. E. g. the 8.7+ sweet spot workouts include time at up to 150 % of FTP to induce fatigue and minimal breaks.

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Yeah, I’m trying to just trust the system, reassessing whenever the ramp test pops up in the schedule. When i got to 9.7, i’d recently had a ramp test with no improvement in ftp, but of course i kept ticking up through the levels.

Think of the system as a scaffold with sensible defaults, not as a straight jacket.

If you are up to PL 9.7 in sweet spot I’d retest. I usually like to schedule extraordinary ramp tests on the weekend before my Sunday endurance ride (I replace Sunday workouts with endurance workouts).