Sweetspot vs Threshold Progression Levels in the Software

From a software and also physiological perspective, how is it possible that the estimates for SS vs Threshold in the context of the below image are so vastly different? Given SS is to contribute to Threshold, I would have thought this would not be so polarised. Thoughts?

The progression levels are tightly binned based on category of a workout. You almost entirely get credit in progression level in zones you ride in. If you don’t ride any threshold and do all sweet spot, you will get exactly what you have.

It makes it so you are practically guaranteed not to fail a threshold workout when you start doing them, even if you raise your FTP input.

A snapshot of comprehensive fitness is encoded into every ride we do. Decoding that is not an easy task. I hope this issue is somewhat resolved once categorizing unstructured workouts is online.


Mate also mentioned on a podcast that basically levels influence up but not down. So if you had a 10 threshold you would likely be higher in SS but not the other way. This may change in the future as they get more detail.

I would just Just pick a threshold that you are confident you can knock out and rate appropriately. Also what plan are you following? I don’t really understand why you would take on all that SS without any threshold workouts unless I t is very goal specific. If it is, don’t worry about your threshold level!

1 Like

This is a good point - it is safer to estimate fitness going to lower intensity power ranges rather than up. So what you can do at threshold is an easier predictor of what you can do at SS rather than SS to threshold.

It can be a shock to the system going to higher intensities.

This exact thing happens in SSB HV. At least when I did it on the standard plans pre-AT. It never went out of SS range for 12 weeks.

1 Like

Fair enough, thanks for the education! I’m a low volume athlete so need the higher intensity to bump the needle I guess!!


Thanks for the responses.

I’m on a bespoke plan which coincidentally does not include much SS, rather, tempo with sprints were in fact labelled as SS.

I very often do VO2 and high intensities. Here you can see the full profile. It feels like, from a software perspective, not doing pure threshold is harming these Levels to a degree.

I’m surprised it’s worked out this way as when my SS level progressed, future SS workouts started adapting and becoming Threshold. I ended up binning the plan as I was being asked to do 3 threshold sessions a week.

If anything looks amiss, its always good practice to just check in with the team at support@trainerroad.com so they can take a look at the full scope of your workouts, history, plan, etc., and make sure you’re getting ‘credit’ for the work you’re doing and receiving adaptations accordingly!


They aren’t real energy systems, and they are kinda doing themselves a disservice by blurring these lines. It doesn’t represent physiology.


It’s just a best guess from the system at what you can do. Unless you do workouts in each bin you won’t have representative PLs.

You likely have an idea of what you can do looking at some standard workouts (2x20, 4 or 5 x 10, 5x8). Pick a level 4 or 5 threshold and see how it goes. If it is very hard, pick an easier one next time. If it is hard, leave it as is. The system will update accordingly.

If you approach the problem from trying to serve a vast spectrum in the user base in terms of goals and experience, what TR has evolved into is a pretty darn good approach. It’s not perfect for everyone. The more you understand, the clearer that is. At the same time, the easier to adjust it to your purposes. So it doesn’t really matter then if it isn’t turnkey for the more experienced. It’s better to be turnkey for the not experienced, so they can become experienced users.

1 Like

To me, the biggest problem with the Workout / Progression Levels across the varies power levels is the lack of any type of “map”. This is probably more easily done for threshold and down (e.g., Sweet Spot, Tempo, etc.).

It should be possible to say that if you can complete a Sweet Spot level X (e.g., 7.4), then you should be able to do a specific Tempo level. E.g., if I can complete 3x25 @ 90% Sweet Spot workout, then I can probably do 3x30 @80% or maybe 3x35 @ 80% tempo workout. So it should be possible to create a “map” from Threshold → Sweet Spot, Sweet Spot → Tempo, etc.

That would help people who’ve been primarily doing workouts in 1 power range pick an appropriate workout in another power range.


So just to clarify - my main questions were regarding the software’s binning of the zones. I understand from a physiological perspective these lines are not clear but I was curious as to how this may be calculated.

I 100% know what I can do, and frankly threshold is a weakness of mine. I was more interested in how though the trickledown effect is calculated.

In any case, levels resolved by slapping in a tasty workout this morning :wink:




Threshold workouts are just plain hard. I’d rather diesel sub threshold or do hard, short efforts with lots of rest. It takes a lot of mental fortitude, practice, and system development to get good at threshold efforts.

That’s part of my beef with calling ramp results or (insert any assessment method here) FTP. We can forget that FTP stands for FUNCTIONAL Threshold Power. If you can’t ride at what you think is your FTP, there is nothing functional about it and it simply isn’t your FTP. Doesn’t mean you can’t use those tests to get a decent guess at that threshold zone though - which has a much wider range and room for error.

Related to SS vs Threshold vs VO2, for me at least SS is a dull discomfort I can hold off from building through proper fueling. VO2 is an exponentially increasing discomfort that I can suffer through for a little bit. When I do a lot of V.O2, threshold can throw me off cause it mimics that build in discomfort like a VO2 effort after like 5-10 minutes, but if I can stay mentally strong and haven’t gone out too hard, the discomfort levels off and just kind of sits at a painful, but don’t need to slow down level. I gotta work through not mentally projecting the pain out on threshold and just get kinda meditative. Takes practice.


:100: :+1:


If you’re using custom workouts, especially custom workouts with sprints in, expect PLs to be off. There is a known issue with custom workout level estimations.

thanks! :slight_smile: