SSBII Kicking my butt follow up

Just wanted to chip in and say … I feel your pain!

That is awful advice

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I’m triathlete too and like you said: I crush O/U & thresholds but find VO2 max are crushing me. Given ftp ramp test is a vo2 max , how do you approach it and schedule it?

So if I don’t go to the extreme of ignoring HR, how should I best utilize it during the session? I do recognize that it can fluctuate with temperature, time of day, sleep etc.

Yeah I agree. I don’t think regular training should be that hard mentally. I don’t want to feel stressed out on a regular basis, I think I train much better when I’m having fun. The odd hard workout is fine, and there’s racing, but otherwise I’d rather do a little bit less in one session and be eager to get back on the bike the next day.

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To answer the question, one needs to know what your goals are for the workout. There is tons of information to be had from all available data, but only insofar as how applicable it is for what you are trying to do. If you are maxing out HR, your FTP is clearly wrong for this type of workout, or the interval durations are too long. Beyond that, if you are just trying to complete the TR plan, you will get good data on your fitness, whether it’s an off day, etc… There are many, many things beyond that, but that’s the starting point as far as it relates to TR plans.

Dennis, don’t listen to those guys that are telling you that it’s a mental problem. If your heart rate is spiking so high then it means you are working too hard. If it’s sweet spot intervals that are the problem then FTP is probably wrong.

As previously mentioned, you may be a more anaerobic person which gives you an FTP that is too high based on a short ramp test. Here is a test you can do - put your trainer into erg mode and set the wattage to your FTP. Technically you should be able to ride for hour. See how far you get… Maybe a 20 minute test or longer would be a better predictor of your true FTP.

Another option would be to limit intensity by HR. In the Steven Neal episode of the FLO podcast, he limits his athlete’s SST intervals to 83% of max HR. He does this because he doesn’t want athletes doing SST intervals at a threshold or VO2max heart rate. He finds as his athletes get aerobically fitter they can push higher and higher watts while staying under 83%.


Personally, I think that your HR tells you more about the state of your body than your power output. HR is a measure of the total load your body is under, including temperature, illness, and life stress. If it goes too high, it says that something else is stressing you, so it might be an idea to dial the training back as to not make it worse. Similarly, if you can’t get your HR up to normal levels, you’re likely fatigued in some way, and I’d also dial it back. This all depends on you knowing your normal HR response though, and being able to judge if what you see is normal or odd.

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Your FTP may be overestimated. Knock it down 5% and the workouts will be more manageable. You’ll get nearly all of the benefit without destroying yourself.


That’s a big TSS jump. That, plus moving to SSB2 may be too much to quick. I found myself in this situation last winter. My FTP jump wasn’t near as big as yours and I found that going to a new phase with a higher FTP can be tricky. If it were me I would probably split the FTP difference and see how the workouts go and gradually work yourself into the 253 FTP… My 2 cents

I feel as this for us who have very strong aerobic engines, I think the ramp test is relitively accurate in terms of trainerroad planning. I find my threshold efforts challanging and my set ftp makes O/U rides basically barely doable but doable, so I feel they are accurate if that’s what you are worried about. I may lower my anaerobic rides down or… Just avoid them entirely :sweat_smile: as for scheduling, I would either do them at the end of a block or have a rest/semi rest day leading into it like I would for any tougher workout coming up. With that said I don’t put too much thought into the numbers that come out and I know my ftp (or at least TR ftp) pretty well so I do not dwell on the results. I also think you can just train through the test and do not fear the test. I fear about the last 4 mins of the test but it’s just a tough 4mins, and I typically do a super easy 30-45min ride following the ramp test becuase 25 mins isn’t enough to get my marbles going

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Do a different test is my advice. Either 2x20 or something like this: Kolie Moore's FTP test protocol

I’ve found myself and many others can get great vanity numbers from a ramp test after a rest week, I now prefer a longer test (preferably when not fresh) for a number I can actually train off.


It’s not. His heart rate is in his head and is not providing a benefit to his workouts while in the interval. Rather it’s creating another cognitive load to an already struggling mental status. I’ve never looked at my HR during an interval and then decided it was too much/too little, HR is too variable for that.

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This! You need some wins in your workouts and you’re getting beaten up by the TR program, both physically and mentally.

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I really burned out following the plan to the letter a couple years ago. My workouts were not successful and a big downward spiral ensued.

Fast forward a couple years and I’m back in SSBII but now I do the Tues/Wed/Thurs workouts as planned but do endurance miles in the weekend with a bit more hours than prescribed for the planned workouts. I try to keep the TSS the same on the weekend workouts, just longer and lower intensity. This helps me crush the weekday workouts. Hope this helps.


I’ve found it takes a while to get a proper idea for what each workout should feel like. There’s also the point made earlier about the Ramp Test being a VO2 max test so if you are strong/weak on that aspect then it will affect how you perform in workouts that target different power levels. You may have had a good or bad day when you did the test which can have similar results.

After I did the Ramp Test at the start of SSBLV2 I was disappointed that my FTP “only” went up by 1W. A few workouts in and I got the feeling that it should be higher - over/unders felt more like unders/tempo. So I upped it by 8W to 250W (a guess really) and subsequent workouts all felt hard but achievable. Last Wednesday I did Lamarck and the workout notes suggest that your average power over the four intervals is your FTP. That value for me is 252W so my guess wasn’t far out.

That did mean that Mary Austin but Leconte in particular felt tough, not vomit inducing tough but a constant nagging doubt if I could complete any of the interval blocks sort of tough.

This week is the last week of SSBLV2 so it’s just recovery rides. I was mountain biking in some pretty wild weather at the weekend and the climbs all felt very easy - I’d be just off my PB but able to chat at the same time - so the training does work.


I agree with you G650, covering the HR value is an awful idea. HR is a valuable tool for ensuring that one is not going too hard for the workout.

I personally find HR invaluable in a long SS effort, I know that I’m in the right place, if I’m fatigued I know I need to drop my power target if I plan on finishing the interval.


I’m sorry if I missed it but what was your change in FTP going from SSBLV1 to LV2?

If you had a very significant increase you could potentially want to repeat SSBLV1.

Typically you should expect to be able to get through SSB2 with a moderate increase in FTP. For instance I had a 3% increase in FTP and I did not have an issue going from MV1 to MV2.

I have also felt very tired on the last hard week of SSB (week 5/6) and I have pulled the rip cord on that week and just moved up the recovery week. So that I had a 4 weeks and then the recovery week. I believe this to be underutilized in training with such a high intensity base. If your body is fatigued and you’re in need of recovery it’s ok to just skip a week, take the recovery week in and then move onto the next block.

Finally instead of a build phase, you might want to consider doing a traditional base for a month. Then use the plan builder to get you set up for that July event. I really wonder if you would be well served by going through these intensity blocks, going to do some low intensity and then bringing back the intensity as you move onto the summer. I know from personal experience what it’s like to burn out as I did this spectacularly last year.


I went from 224 to 230. Switched it back to 224 manually a couple weeks in. Did the rest of the workouts at 224.

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Going way back to the OP’s original post, I can absolutely relate. First time ever with indoor/structured training: I got through SSB1 great, SSB2…I floundered through the final 2 weeks. Those last sessions got really hard. I pedaled through all of them but really slowed the final 1-2 intervals.

If it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be training though would it? The good thing is I’m learning about my weaknesses and stay aware of them now. I really appreciate the advice given in this thread, it’s very helpful. Especially the mental aspect of knowing when to turn down a few % to still get a “mental win”.

FTP test is next week and I’m really curious as to how that will turn out. Right now with the negative space in my head from the last few rides, I’m not optimistic! Need to work on staying positive :slight_smile: