Rest Intervals are WAY Too Low

I have a long-winded complaint, and then a question… bare with me:

So I took a couple of months off from cycling and wanted to get back on bike starting Jan 1. I figured I’d give myself a little kick in the pants and ride for a minimum of 15-20 minutes for 15 days straight. I also figured it would be a good time to try out TrainerRoad and the AI adaptations.

I’m 8 days in and so far (basically never less than below 30 minutes :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:), the 3 Planned workouts that have been chosen for me have been 1 hour, 1.5 hours, 1 hour. And I can tell you right now, I will not be sitting on the trainer for more than an hour. It bores me to death and I have a young son, so my time is limited when I’m able to train. I’ll ride on the road for 4 hours, but on the trainer? It’s not happening.

My FTP on Zwift was 260 watts, but I wanted to really dial it back for this new year so I allowed TR to calculate my FTP at 176 watts, which is fine … it’s basically low Z2 training.

The primary concern that I have is the rest periods during these workout, which have literally been set to 72 watts … so for example, the workout that I was scheduled to do today had me warming up for essentially 30 minutes at 72 watts. I can tell you right now, it wasn’t happening so I bumped my Difficulty up 150% and that still wasn’t really enough. The working intervals were set at just under FTP (162 watts) and just over FTP (182 watts) … and then I had four 5 minute rest intervals at 72 watts again, and the workout ended with 20 minutes at 72 watts!

I don’t know about any of you, but peddling at 72 watts for essentially an hour is excruciating and could even cause injury. I’m basically spinning out at that wattage …

Question: is there not a way to construct a plan that never has workouts longer than an hour, and a minimum rest interval wattage of, say… 125 watts (75% FTP or so)? I know that’s super specific, but there’s just no way that I’m going to continue with these plans if I’m being forced to ride for so long at such low wattages.

I understand that some might say “increase your FTP and your rest intervals will increase” but riding at 176 w for a decent duration is actually great low Z2 training for me at this point and it’s sustainable. And to be clear, I have ZERO issues with the working intervals … they’re great. It’s specifically these rest intervals that are completely ridiculous.

Thanks for your patience.

If you want to ride at zone 2, set your ftp correctly and do an endurance workout. You cannot put a totally wrong ftp and then complain the power zones are too low


Chris, it’s not totally wrong. I literally said “I allowed TR to calculate my FTP” and t’s actually been quite good during the working intervals. Do you seriously think that 182 watts down to 72 watts is not a massive leap? Because it is.

Just turn off Erg and ride at whatever wattage you want. That’s actually going to be a lot more effective than intentionally setting your ftp 30% too low and trying to game the system.


Game the system? How exactly is that “gaming the system”? I’m not trying to cheat myself from progress, quite the opposite.

Again, I’m not referring to “Train Now” workouts … those can be configured to whatever. I’m talking about using a Plan. The options for configuring a Plan for your Calendar seem super limited.

Sounds like you would benefit from an “onboarding call” with a TR expert. I did this when I first signed up and they really got me started right with a plan set to my goal. If you go to your calendar and then click “support” you’ll see an option to schedule an onboarding call.


Great suggestion. I didn’t know they supplied onboarding. Thank you for taking the time to actually read what I wrote and suggest something useful, instead of accusing me of “gaming the system” :rofl:

1 Like

Which workout did you do that had you ride at 40% for a half hour, that doesn’t sound right. But it’s also what you get for deflating your FTP. If you know what you want, then save some money, use Trainer Day and make a workout that is just Z2.

Trainerroad’s bread and butter is their training plans, AI tools, adaptations, and progression levels. What you’re doing isn’t going to take advantage of that. Why would you do a threshold over-under if you want to do a Z2 ride? You end up the the problem you’re having, you’re fudging the numbers to make the threshold intensity feel like Z2, so it’s no wonder the rest of the workout isn’t tailored for you.

If you want to use TR, I would do a low volume base plan, then if TR prescribes anything over an hour you can replace it with an hour long workout of the same style (aka endurance, sweet spot, etc). If you want to do more than 3 days per week, you can do 'Train Now" and TR will recommend some workouts for you, and you can filter by duration.


What workouts showed up in your TR calendar that led to the AI detection of 176 watts? I don’t see a drop from 260-176 in a couple months being completely valid. I Would assume that the AI FTP detection doesn’t have the requisite training history in order to obtain an accurate estimation. 72 watts is approx. 41% of the detected FTP which is a legitimate recovery wattage in between intervals according to almost every TR workout I have done.

In my opinion (not that it means much) I think you should set the FTP to your Zwift detected FTP and select endurance workouts if that’s what you want to do. As you complete more workouts on TR the AI FTP will have more information to use and therefore be able to estimate your FTP with higher accuracy.

1 Like

You are going to need to cite the workout…I can’t think of a single 1 hour TR workout that has you warming up for 30 min.

Actually, I can’t think of a single TR workout period that has a 30 min warmup.

ETA - I often find the rest intervals too low, but I simply bump up my wattage to get me to low Z2. But that only applies to long recovery intervals…i.e. more than 2 minutes. Beyond that, I let TR control the recoveries as prescribed.

1 Like

I let TR calculate my FTP with the Ramp Test. That’s what it came back with … I admit, it seemed low but again, the working intervals were fine. I just think that the minimum wattage should be able to be configured. I also imported 5 years of riding data from multiple sources for TR to utilize.

Mono. It’s an hour and half workout, with a 28 minute warm up before getting into the working intervals…

Mono is an 8 minute warmup with 20 minutes of z2 before and after the intervals.


Sorry, you didn’t specify that it was from a ramp test. I can see a couple situations here. Potentially an invalid ramp test that led to an arbitrarily low FTP, or a misunderstanding of Z2. There is no way 176 watts is Z2 for you if your FTP is 176 watts.

I am not trying to be demeaning or anything in this response, so please don’t take it that way.

1 Like

I was suspicious of the results initially as well. And what I mean by Z2, is my previous Z2 when my FTP was 260 watts. Sorry for the confusion.

But I digress… the issue is still that these insanely low wattages are percentage based and what I was initially asking was whether it was possible to set a minimum wattage.

Agreed with @gally24 …no where in Mono is there 30 min at 40% FTP. After an 8 min warmup with FTP % up to 85%, it is 20 min at 65%.

But if you are not going to sit on the trainer for more than an hour, why are you loading 90’ workouts?


That’s why I asked @Power13

Yes you can set time requirements each day/workout in plan builder. And you can change the wattage manually during the workout with the intensity buttons.

1 Like

The minimum is 3 days a week for 3.5 hours.

Did you not push yourself to failure in the ramp test? It kind of sounds that way. As others have indicated, use your Zwift FTP, or better yet, back it off by 10 or 20 watts since you’ve been off the bike a couple of months. The system will not work to your satisfaction when given an unrealistic FTP.

1 Like