Struggling with 90min over/ unders

Why am I struggling with the 90 min workouts? Specifically the last 2 workouts of SSBLVI - the over/ under workouts Warlow and Palisade.

I re-joined TR start of this year after a few years away. I had also had 2 or 3 months off the bike altogether so was starting in a relative untrained state.

Back in Jan I first tested around 150 FTP, at the beginning of this latest round of SSBLVI it had grown to 205. I know LVI is fairly easy going, and with this new FTP I had no problem with completing all of the workouts apart from the 2 90min over/ unders which I had to knock down intensity during ride.

Since Jan I completed SSBLV1 (although replaced the 90min sessions with 1hr sessions), completed SSBVII (this time doing the 90min sessions) without any issues - although had to ramp up intensity as I don’t think the ramp test worked for me (was finding sessions far too easy). These 2 plans were followed by the time crunched 45 which again were completed although they were tough after using 8 min test.

Going into LVII I once again gave the Ramp Test a try, but tested poorly* so put that down to not getting on with that particular test and a bit of stress as dad is poorly in hospital.

*finished 1 step below my previous FTP, HR was about 5 beats lower than last time round when I gave up - think I could have made the next minute if was mentally in right place.

I was just going to ride with my previous FTP because it seemed right, until the over/ unders. And having some 90min threshold workouts coming up - one being Palisade - I’m dreading them.

Do I just need to man up, accept I still don’t have the engine for 90mins, or do I need to reduce FTP in line with test despite me being pretty sure the RT doesn’t work for me AND being able to complete all other non over/ under sessions in SSBLVI?

All input/ advice welcome as I can’t remember coming stuck like this last time using TR, although I much fitter back then.


I bet with you that at least 50% of the people will struggle with a 90 min over /under.
Talking about capacity then it differs to person to person.
90min is massive, so starting with lesser time will make sense. Make sure you’re re carbed up too.


Interested to see the responses, I fell apart last week with Pallisade on round 3 and had to drop warlow to 95% for the final 2 rounds.

I’m also getting killed by erg mode. I find my cadence is sitting about 10rpm lower than when on the road or using resistance/gear mode. It just grinds down over time and I don’t seem to be able to maintain the 90/95rpm I can hold on the road.

Try riding in a different gear combo re the cadence, that sometimes helps people with lower cadence, I’m sure chad will step in with the link (i couldnt find it on a search)

In terms of struggling at round 3, this sounds like a bit of fuelling issue.
Eat plenty, there’s a blog article about it.
I mean, i’m halfway through my second interval and doubting if i can make it to the end! but every recovery valley, i shove some carbs in my face and just make it, lots of people find similar.
The difference is almost imperceptible, you dont feel any different, but somehow feeding well during means you cant just about hang on!!


maybe try replacing the McAdie/Palisades/Warlow progression with the Ramp style O/U like Avalanche Spire, Fang Mountain, and Carpathian Peak.


That’s exactly where I struggled. Last 2 rounds of Warlow and during round 3 of Palisade.

I can’t change the gearing for erg as I run a atom - and you can only run Trainerroad in erg mode with an atom.

I’ve had to get creative to work around it, but I have found when running in gears/resistance mode I can hold some intervals easier or Atleast with a higher cadence.

+1 on the feeding. I use to fall apart on the third and fourth over/under sets… now I take on some calories between those efforts and while I may not always crush them, I can usually make a respectable effort. fuel the ride.

These workouts are HARD, but should be doable if your FTP is set correctly and you aren’t carrying any abnormal fatigue. And even though they are hard, you have harder workouts coming in SSBII and Build, so it would pay to get this sorted to avoid any further frustration on those, which include Palisade (again), Mary Austin, Leconte, and then the over unders in build that are an hour, Carpathian Peak, Fang Mountain and Avalanche Spire.

I echo the fueling part. You definitely need to treat these like a big ride and eat enough carbs in advance to be ready and then take on some calories during the ride.

You might reconsider your FTP, perhaps drop the workout a couple of % and see if it’s more manageable.

And don’t underestimate the life stress. It’s a big factor, particularly on longer workouts as your ability to focus long enough to manage the RPE may be impaired.


If you take a look at the SSBLV1 plan, you’ll see that all the workouts before Warlow and Palisade have a lower intensity factor. This means that they should be possible to complete, even if your FTP is set a little high. With a correctly set FTP they should feel like a good workout but not leave you gasping.

So it’s still possible your FTP is currently a little high. And if there’s one type of workout that’s guaranteed to find out an optimistic FTP, it’s the over-unders. So I’d tend towards knocking a few watts off your FTP before tackling them, even if you don’t go all the way down to your latest test result.

They are hard. I think it takes a few years of structured training to get the endurance and muscular endurance to complete a 90 min o/u workout.

It’s ok to do 60-75 min version until they are manageable.

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Cheers for all the input, much appreciated.

In a typically manly fashion…I’m going to stick with my FTP and try fuelling better. The thinking behind this, I did adjust diet over this time with low carb days added in on non training days and managed to drop a couple of kilos. Also examining the other sessions my HR/ perceived effort over similar IF rides in this plan were completed fine - just the over/ under I struggled with.

I’ve got a couple of weeks till Palisade comes up, so will see how I get on. If I need to adjust FTP I can tweak after tacking that.


I had a similar struggle on my over unders last week on Tunemah. I had the previous week completed Reinstein so I am confident my FTP is correct, although it was hard. I suspect it was a busier than usual week, a little bit of stress, some fatigue and inadequate fueling that made last week’s o/u harder. I would definitely try to do that workout in the slot during the week when you are likely to be the most fresh.

I know people have mentioned reducing to one of the shorter time variants. I personally tried that, but I found it even harder, as the intervals remain pretty much the same, but the rest between intervals, although a lower intensity are significantly shorter. I found it made me fatigue more on the final interval as there was not as much time to carb load during the rests.

Stay hydrated and eat some gels during the ride. This is probably the easiest thing to incorporate into your rides, since you can prepare your ride fuel before you start the workout.

For instance on Saturday I did Junction -1, really tough. I drank 3 bottles, 2 of which had mix and 2 gels. I took a total of 130g of carbs in and looking back, I bet I could have gotten another gel in there.

Regarding the ramp test. If you really think you gave up early, you can keep the old FTP. You can consider lowering the target power in a given workout and see if that helps.

Because of the way you phrased some things though, I’d drop the FTP a few watts and smash a few workouts to get your confidence back and get the dread to go away. You’re dealing with a lot of stress with your father being in the hospital.

I just thought of this thread as I did Palisade… and had to fail it just after the hour mark. I probably should have just gone back to last weeks o/u workout that I struggled through rather than moving on to the next one, as they only get harder, I think that is what I will do next week.

I think I was well fueled, but in my case I just struggle with the overall volume as the weeks go on in the plans, especially with the plans designed to have the rest week after 5 weeks of work. At 40, I think the accumulative fatigue starts to build on me and I seem to get on better with 3 weeks of work followed by a rest week.

I guess as others have said, it just takes time to get used to the longer intervals from a muscular endurance point of view.

Just thought I’d give an update.

In the end I did drop my FTP by 5 watts - from 205 to 200 - and have changed my eating habits making sure to take on more carbs throughout my workout days (I train in the evenings) and using sports drink on the 90 mins sessions.

Palisade was completed on Friday without any issues, was tough but never in danger of needing to drop intensity or failing, so the changes have certainly helped.

Thanks for all the input.


Carbs for the Win!

If something like this happens again, one thing I noticed is that you said you were doing low carb cycling on your non-training days. This is something that you might be able to get away with on a LV plan but as you add more and more volume you may find that you have to eat more on your ‘rest’ days. Your body is using these days to refuel and rebuild and low carb can impact that. I know it’s a juggling act between weight and performance when it comes to eating but just something to keep in mind.

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