Substituting a workout based on its IF and TSS numbers

Am I understanding this correctly? Will my body get the exact same stimulus if I would to choose to substitute a given workout (which includes a number of intervals and rest periods) with just a steady state ride at the same IF for the same amount of time?

Example: can I substitute a workout like say Antelope +5 with just a 2h steady state ride at constant 80% of my FTP?

Will my body get the exact same stimulus, or the variability of the workout is what makes it more important?

EDIT: OK let me just add that I would only try to do this for sweatspot or steady state workouts. High intensity stuff obviously would throw this approach out the window as the entire point of HI stuff is to stress you to the max and not just to ride at an average number

It wouldn’t work for your example. Ant +5 is 70min @ SS — 88-94%, so doing 2hr @ 80% is not hitting the same adaptations as the interval workout, even if it is giving you the same TSS/IF.

You could do a 1x60min SS ride for similar effect.

The doughnut is right, BUT there are a bunch of optional substitutions that the TR plans suggest when there’s a long sweet-spot workout on weekends. In that context, the sweet-spot workout is a time-crunched shortcut to aerobic base-building, and if you have time and it fits your goals/events, a longer endurance ride is a better fit for that purpose. Usually the substitutions match the TSS and drop the IF. For example, here’s the weekly tip when Antelope (90 minutes) shows up in SSBMVI:

Once again, if you’d rather go easier but longer on Sunday, Boarstone [two hours] is a good choice or take a look at Warren +1 [2:15] if you’d like to include a trio of sprints early in your workout.

and here’s the first week of GBMV with Antelope +5:

But if you want things even gentler (but longer), replace Antelope with Boarstone +3 [two hours] or gentler (and longer) still, Town Hill [2:45].

(Boarstone +3 isn’t actually longer, but it’s steady-state tempo instead of sweet-spot intervals.)

tl;dr: If you’re making a substitution, keep in mind the stimulus you’re going for. Are you trying to build muscular endurance? Zone 2 won’t be a good substitute. Base-building? Long and slow for days.



Antelope +5 is 7x10 with 5 min breaks. That’s a lot of breaks for 70 minutes of SS work, which might help depending on the workouts preceding it (or current fitness). Here we is the way I look at… Sweet spot targets high aerobic and muscular endurance. Personally I have swapped out sweet spot workouts for longer tempo at low rpm (50-60rpm) and was happy with perceived result. But I’m self-coaching and learning as I go, so take it with a grain of salt.

Maybe…maybe not.
TR places that workout 3x in SSBHV2 which suggests they think it’s a fairly substantial workout for working aerobic and muscle endurance, and to “improve your ability to sustain power in an aerodynamic position”.

Guess it all depends on your goals.

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you forgot that part. It depends on a lot of things.

Yes and no is the answer, your will get the same tss points but your body will not get the same adaption as required. Tss is not all there is to fitness just because someone has a the highest ctl does not actually mean they would have the best fitness in a race or real world situation. Let’s say someone has a ctl of 100 and all there training is zone 2 long and steady, where rider 2 is only at 75 still a decent fitness level but has been doing more varied training like 1 minute efforts, sweatspot, tempo, sweatspot straight into a threshold effort so a more rounded training and has being stressing all the physiologic systems. The person with the lower ctl would actually do much better in the real world if they had to bridge a gap in a race or had to do a vo2 effort even though they both have the same ftp

Ok to clarify, I’ll again use Antelope +5 as an example. When I finished it my nominal power ended up being exactly 0.80IF as planned in the workout. So it got me thinking could I just ride for the same amount of time with that power and would I get the same adaptations.

Alternatively, if the workout has 70 minutes of SS work at 88-94% / IF (when you do the math you end up with 70 minutes of SS work at an average of 90,57 %/IF) could I just do a 70 minute ride at a steady 90,57% and get exactly the same physical stimulus?

Sometimes I’m not in the mood for intervals. or want to do a coffee ride with mates but don’t want to torment them with my intervals. So alternatively I thought I can do a single pull at the front with that one average and both do a social ride and have the planned workout out of the way.

As noted earlier, this doesn’t count for vo2 work or harder threshold work. But sweet-spot work? Could it work in these ‘low’ ranges?

Yeah auto-correct did its thing :smiley: But then again if you would to have a look at my mat underneath my trainer ‘sweat spot’ is actually a real thing :joy: :joy: :joy:

No, with long, steady ride you will get a lot better stimulus and more benefits :slight_smile: as every zone has a range and you are in the particular zone - the longer is better. Of course, steady 30 min SS is worse than 70 min in intervals but 70 min in intervals are worse than 70 min in one go :slight_smile:

Dude I thought it was on purpose!

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I wouldn’t worry about training stimulus other than recovery if you’re doing a coffee ride…

No. You’d get (probably) substantially more “stimulus” due to the continuous nature of the ride.

1x70min @ 90% > 7x10min @ 90%.