Reducing intensity at beginning or end of workouts?

I’m currently in week 4 of SSBMV1. It’s mostly been going well, and I’ve seen an improvement in both my physical and mental stamina. Over-unders are definitely the hardest workouts for me, but it appears I’m in good company there. Last Saturday, I did McAdie, which I was terrified of going into it but it ended up being okay for the most part. I managed to get through all four intervals with only one short backpedal in the last interval. This morning, I did Palisade, which I figured would be similar because the length of the intervals were shorter than McAdie, but with the added challenge of the ‘overs’ being 2 minutes instead of 1. I noticed in the workout text for Palisade that Coach Chad advised dialing down the intensity of the first interval by 5-10% if the legs weren’t fully warmed up yet. But I felt pretty good going into the first interval so I kept it at 100%. The first three intervals were good, but I started flagging in the fourth interval, did a couple of backpedals and held on for dear life. I reduced the fifth and last interval to 98% and got through it with another short backpedal after the second ‘over’. So after that long preamble, my question is, should I have reduced the intensity of the first interval? Or was did I make the right call in keeping it at 100% for the first part and only reducing once the fatigue really started to take hold?

Thanks for any advice.

I’m not sure about others, but I do what you did. Historically, on rides where I need to reduce the intensity on the first interval I end up failing the workout. Usually if I don’t feel quite ready I extend the warm-up.

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Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

You might reduce the intensity at the beginning if you know from experience that you struggle with certain intensities, even if your ftp is set correctly.

But from time to time, because of fuelling or sleep or stress, you might struggle towards the end of the workout. Thats not something you can always predict or plan for

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That’s a good point. And hindsight was on my mind when I was dying during that last interval. I am hoping that with more experience, I’ll have a better sense of how to pace my energy expenditure. I might even reduce the intensity in the middle interval to try and keep something in the tank for the end.