Productive vs Stretch

I’m pretty new to TR and have been using the Train Now feature, but I’ve recently started noticing something that is a bit odd to me. If I select a 30 min workout it’s telling me the “Climbing” workout is “Stretch” (47 TSS), but if I select 60min the climbing workout is “Productive” (66 TSS) - How is a shorter workout with a smaller TSS value “Stretch” and the longer one “Productive” - is it because it has longer rest intervals or something?

I can’t swear these exact values are correct, but this sheds some like on the dividing lines between TR’s Difficulty Level assignments:

  • Achievable = 1.0 to current PL
  • Productive = 0.1 to 1.0 higher than current PL
  • Stretch = 1.1 to 2.5 higher than current PL
  • Breakthrough = 2.6 to 4.5 higher than current PL

More work, less rest. If you rode at Threshold for 30 minutes that would be 50TSS, so 47TSS is a pretty hard workout. Whereas 66TSS in an hour is going to proportionately have a lot more recovery and/or the work is at lower intensity.


TR’s workout levels are far superior to TSS in letting you know what kind of fun you’re in for.


The PL’s are good and I like them, but I still reference TSS & IF specifically when I look at Alternates or manually selected workouts.

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TSS in itself doesn’t tell you how hard a workout was.

PL does a better job of acting as a “one stop shop” data point, but it still falls short at times.

All the others (Duration, TSS, IF and even KJ) need at least 2 or more together to give a decent look at a workout for comparison. And those still miss on stuff like interval durations and counts that can make a real difference in the workouts at times (which PL does cover).



@mcneese.chad’s descriptors are fantastic here. Only thing I’ll add is that I tend to trust PL more than anything else to tell me how likely I am to be able to complete the workout, particularly if swapping something adaptive training served up in my plan for an alternate of a different duration or if I know I need something harder or easier.

If last week’s threshold was 3.2 and I rated it ‘very hard,’ so this week it’s giving me threshold 3.4 then I expect that to be ‘hard.’ If I need to swap for a longer or shorter version of my threshold session then all I’m really looking at is type of intervals and PLs to decide which one to pick. If there’s some ‘life’ reason that I think I’m going to either be significantly stronger or weaker than adaptive training expects me to be today, then again all I’m going to look at is interval type and PL when I swap up or down.

TSS, IF, and kJ are more helpful for me to understand how to fuel and how exhausted I’m going to feel after I finish it (and in the days to come).