Progression Level flaw, oddity or am I misunderstanding something?

I’ll try and keep this brief, but hoping someone can help me understand the following …

For background, I am in base training right now and have been doing a ton of long, tempo work recently. As such, here is what my current PL chart looks like:

For the last two weekends my Saturday ride has been a 2x75 minutes at tempo with only a 5 minute break between intervals … which for me has been between 245w-250w, and they haven’t been overly strenuous. The effort for me has been moderate, as tempo should be. For reference, below is my workout last Saturday:

So my question/comment is: how is it possible that TR thinks I’m only at at 3.7 endurance level? Specifically, TR interprets the workout “Walker” (pasted below) as a “breakthrough” workout for me? Completing Walker calls for me riding at 219W for 2 hours and 15 minutes … given that I just rode 2 hours and 30 minutes at ~250, Walker would be/should be a piece of cake for me. It isn’t a breakthrough. Right?

Can someone explain the logic here?

If you don’t do workouts in that training zone you don’t get credit for it. There are some workouts that have a secondary PL however the Tempo zone is not one of them. It’s about what you’ve done, and apparently you haven’t done any long z2. For endurance it’s less about what you can do.

Don’t worry about the Endurance zone, you probably haven’t done much work staying down to that specific zone. On my current plan I only do Endurance zone work once a month instead in between I’m doing tempo/SS, threshold VO2max work mainly. The net result is that the Endurance zone PL degrades, its not a flaw just the way it is. But because I’m comfortably doing work over it I’m not concerned. If you hover your mouse over the Endurance PL red bar it should tell you its status degraded since or reset after a FTP increase but don’t worry about it :wink:

As others have said, you are training in Tempo, not Z2 Endurance.

If you have the time, you might want to do some longer Z2 Endurance rides (4 - 5 hour) and see how they go. They can be a really important part of building your overall cycling volume and improving base level fitness. A lot of important adaptations are developed during these longer, low intensity rides including increasing mitochondrial density and number. On the trainer these can be a bit mind numbing but if you can get outdoors that would be a great time to do them.

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I think this is a minor flaw in the system, and you’ll probably have to “bro-science” or “know yourself” if you want to find an endurance workout that is actually “productive” as opposed to labeled in the PL system, as “productive.” Hopefully in the near/midterm future the machine learning can adjust the PL levels for lower power ranges (training zones) based on those immediately surrounding them.

I’d like my “endurance” zone to come up (from 1.0) based on a tempo, sweet spot and threshold, as long as that workout has a duration over 60 minutes. How much it comes up from 1.0 is up for debate and could probably be reasonably predicted by data analysis.

Here’s hoping.

Also, if you’re at 10.0 for tempo, it might be time to adjust your estimated FTP a bit. Good quality consistent riding, there.

  • I am betting that value is corrupted by custom workouts. See his pic above with a Tempo 11.0 workout and name that implies it is not a TR native workout.

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We know that custom workouts have a range of correct to wildly inaccurate Levels, and I am betting that is the core issue here.

  • Until TR nails down the Level ratings for custom workouts, they should all be taken with a grain (or massive block) of salt.

This is a direct consequence of creating a system based on workouts instead of riders profiles and a sound model.

Sure, and importantly, it sounds like TR has learned from that and other related issues. Those seem to be shaping their pending “Levels 2.0” from what I have heard. That may handle workouts from a pure “completed power” perspective vs the “planned power” perspective tied to their own workouts.

All that remains to be seen of course, but I think they have a new solution in mind that will handle custom and unstructured type work along with the previously handled TR work.

While this is true comparing with the TR library workouts it looks correct. Worthy of 10 at least.

I wondered how long it would be before someone said time to retest… :rofl: :roll_eyes: It is tempo not threshold… not necessarily time to restest.

  • I hadn’t cross-ref’d, but I’d say that is a good guess, so this is not far off compared to other cases I have seen. Still worth consideration until they address the core issue.

I had the reverse experience with a high endurance level it saying a fairly low level tempo workout (3-4 or so) was a breakthrough / not advised. The intervals that made up the tempo workout were the same as or easier than the ones in a recently completed endurance workout (plus 3 or so hours of slightly easier riding). I didn’t end up doing the workout; it just seemed like an oddity.

The teaching moment is that Workout Difficulty levels and Progression Levels are designed to select workouts, but only within a specific zone.

Unlike your power curve, TR’s PL Zones are independent of each other. Stop trying to think about it logically. At least with the current implementation.

:+1: And its ok to have a system based on Workout Difficulty, and the current system has limitations as noted above.


This seems to be an issue. How to trust a system based on assumptions that are far away from reality?

The current system can be helpful at picking alternate workouts, at least for workouts in power zones that you’ve been completing. And of course it is the basis for Adaptive Training to pick appropriate workouts because the ramp test is not a full assessment, the TR plans are generally focused on progressing a high number of intervals coupled with a lot of repeatability, and different athletes require different ramp rates. You put all that together and a system to help automatically pick appropriate workouts is necessary.

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I think this is the problem, or glitch. I’m not really “worried” that my PL is inaccurately low … I was just trying to understand why TR it would think it was, and/or point out an area for refinement.

But now I think I understand … these zones are physiologically concentric circles that overlap, but it seems like TR is dealing with them like hard-and-fast lines. I.E. 75% = Endurance, 76% = Tempo, or something like that.

These hard lines seem more or less baked into the TR logic. For instance, when a coach prescribes Sweet Spot he/she will generally give a workout range, like “do 3x20 between 265w - 280w … but TR workouts will prescribe in much more specific terms like “3x20 at 88%” - maybe not right or wrong, just noteworthy.

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I think of it as a continuum along the PDC, something like this:

Currently the TR WLs and PLs primarily exist in silos, or hard and fast lines like you said. A limitation to be aware of, and my guess is that it was better to launch Adaptive Training as-is, and evolve over time, rather than to continue waiting until its “more complete” or “moar better” because any product, and software in particular, can suffer from moving the goal posts and seemingly never launch. At some point its good enough to launch, and to solve a class of problems.

The current class of problems being solved is focused on picking the right workout, for workouts being completed in specific zones, within the context of a TR plan. Both for onboarding and ongoing, in order to improve ramp rate and workout consistency. Because ultimately it is about increasing volume, and you don’t want athletes blowing up or taking unexpected recovery.


Yup, I’m currently getting my workouts from a coach and here’s a pretty common occurrence with the workouts that get imported to TR from TP. Ignore the name, it’s a crazy shorthand but it’s essentially warm up, some high cadence drills, 2x30 tempo then 3x1min. TR rates it as a SS level 13.5 (even though there isn’t any SS after the 1 minute during the warmup).

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Just checking in to reiterate that YES, we know Progression Levels for custom workouts aren’t super accurate, and that Levels 2.0 (which accounts for all unstructured rides, added workouts apart from your plan, custom workouts, etc.) will address this by more accurately assigning a workout level to activities like this. Thanks for your patience!


Definitely crazy shorthand