Struggling with supra FTP and Threshold rides

I’ve recently achieved a new FTP, and while I cope well with SS, and long intervals just below FTP, I just can’t seem to maintain the power for more than 3 minutes when above FTP.
Today i did Washington + 4 and had to drop the intensity a little.
I’m doing speciality MTB marathon mid volume. I have completed SSB 1&2.
My training background hasn’t included much indoor training , and I have not trained with power for 10 years. Mainly RPE and HR.
Also my above threshold intervals have only lasted 3 minutes at most, and I’d do 6-8 at most. I would usually back off before it really hurt ,but you can’t do that with power.
I always complete the intervals , even if I have to back pedal a few times, and i drop the intensity a bit.
I’m wondering if, being a diesel, I will always be plagued with no top end, or will it suddenly get better!! Ha Ha!

The mostly likely cause is… your SST sessions are really low threshold, and your threshold is above. This really shows up above threshold, the fatigue produced above threshold is exponential, the inverse is true below threshold, which is why most can get away with a slight too high FTP but not above threshold.

Solution: lower your FTP down a few watts and see how you go, still struggle drop a few more. In a few weeks if you complete the sessions your fitness improvements and you might outrun the progression of the plan, so then you might be able to tweak your FTP up a few watts.


Thanks, yes that had occurred to me. I think dropping the FTP a little will help.
I guess i can just raise the intensity when it comes to doing the SS and lower intensities.

While it doesn’t sound like your situation here this is always helpful as well:

Personally, I find I usually need to try harder. YMMV.

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Sounds like you jumped straight from SSB to Specialty? That would be the issue if so, you skipped Build phase which is where work above threshold is introduced and built on. Specialty would be really hard without that Build progression


Those 3 min above-threshold intervals are just super, super hard. They’re supposed to be. And without a build phase where you introduce those over time, it would be even more difficult. See how you go after several weeks of the high intensity, short work.

Yeah, jumping straight into 3+ minute intervals with no build in between sounds pretty brutal.
I remember it taking a few sessions for me to be able to hit all the intervals at the prescribed intensity though. They’re pretty high-level discomfort (especially if you’re not inclined towards that sort of work) and I think being mentally prepared is half the battle.

So you are completing 6x3=18 to 8x3=24 minutes of above threshold intervals … that sounds pretty darn good. Maybe you are being too hard on yourself?

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Washington +4 is 5x7-minute and Lydiagold did fine:


If you struggle over threshold then maybe focus on fewer intervals? :man_shrugging: If not mistaken 4x8-min at max sustainable effort are a new classic (“Seiler intervals” IIIRC).


My experience just finishing sustained power build. I absolutely had to bury myself to do those intervals. They were next level hard. I am absolutely wrecked this recovery week. Funny thing it’s the fatigue has crept up a few days after the final ride.

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Don’t sweat it too much, the Washingtons are hard workouts. They’re listed among the workouts where I begin making up excuses three days in advance. Jokes aside, suprathreshold varies from rider to rider and it appears you did really well.

Also if you’re new to structured training and just went through SSB you might carry more fatigue than you think - I often tone down the recovery weeks even more and sometimes take an extra recovery week between blocks, because the prescribed recovery is not enough for me to shed the accumulated fatigue.

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A few people are noting that skipping Build is just asking for things to be harder, which is true, but also Sustained Power Build starts with 5x6@108% in Week 1, because Coach Chad is a :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: sadist:

Suprathreshold is just hard, it’s always hard, it doesn’t matter how you’ve prepared, if your zones are correct it’s hard.

@Lydiagould keep at it! The intervals will always be hard, but your mental game will improve as you do more of it, and that will let your body do more work. The longer the intervals get over threshold, the more the training is about mind over matter (at least in my limited experience, heh). Also borrow Amber’s your physiology’s not that specific mantra and don’t worry about knocking the intensity down, because seven minutes of 102% isn’t going to give you a drastically different stimulus than seven minutes of 105%,


My thoughts too.
Now thinking to change to Build plan, after the race on Sunday.
Then do the cx plan or mtb xco speciality.
I fear I will always struggle with anything top end, because that is non existent in me.
Not because I haven’t trained at sprinting.
My Garmin has power readings up to zone 9, and today i sprinted as hard as i could and only got to zone 7 .
It is interesting what you discover when you start training with TR!

I’m always hard on myself :rofl: Today I did Wright Peak-6. It felt comfortable, and I now seem to be quite good at upper end of Sweetspot, so it proves there has been some improvement, as I couldn’t have completed it 5 months ago when I started SSB1.
My total lack of top end bothers me, but maybe that will take a lot more work to improve.
No, Nate ,I’m not going to drink Tart cherry juice :rofl: :rofl: :joy: :nauseated_face: :face_vomiting:

it will get better! And depending how much above threshold you’re going, you’re jumping into vo2max work which WILL STING. there’s no way around it. But, the gains are big.

Keep after it!

How has your sleep and recovery been over the last while?

I find it impossible to complete harder threshold/VO2 work if I’m not getting proper sleep in. After a few weeks of terrible sleep, due mostly to high humidity here, I’m finally getting through these workouts.

Have you considered a custom VO2 focused build? If you have a race coming up now might not be the best time, but maybe something for the winter after running through base again.

Historically I have not done much supra-threshold work and my first pass through SusPB gave me a whooping. Especially the second half with the 2.5-3min @120% FTP and 7+min @105 FTP intervals. I was not used to that kind of work, underestimated the recovery needs, and I would not consider above threshold work a strength.

Right now I’m running a custom VO2 focused build where Tuesdays are progressively longer intervals @120% FTP and Thursdays are progressively longer intervals @105% FTP. Tuesday started with 30s intervals, then 60s -> 90s -> 2m -> 2.5m -> 3m. Thursday started with 7x4m, 8x4m, 5x5m -> 5x6m -> 5x7m -> 5x8m -> 5x9m. Mon/Wed/Fri are easyish so that I am fresh to really smash the important Tues/Thurs workouts hard.

I appreciate the huge workout library in TR. Even if I’m doing a custom plan it has not been difficult to find existing workouts that are what I’m looking for.

I’m sure you’re right.
I think I sleep better than most people my age , because I take lots of excersise and have a physical job.
Giving up alcohol has helped but I hat getting up in the morning and am a miserable old git if I cant have my breakfast in bed and ease myself into the day :sleeping:

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