Tough build phase experience?

Just wanted to see if anyone else has experienced a really tough build phase. I just finished mine, in which 4 of the 8 workouts, I had to adjust the intensity nearing the end. I was able to push through, but during two of the 90 min thresholds, I had to lower the power by 5%-10%, and during two of the anaerobic workouts, I had to do the same, and had to back pedal through about 1 effort.

I marked these ones as very hard, but AT has been giving me the old “atta boy” for finishing and has been giving me credit for finishing, and my levels have been going up.

Crazily enough, even though these have been extremely difficult, I have been feeling stronger, and did better on the harder versions of the threshold and anaerobic workouts this week (holding out for longer before dropping the power slightly right at the end)

I guess, is this normal? Has anyone experienced this and performed better on their next ramp test? I start up my second base phase after my recovery week is over next week.

Thanks in advance friends!

Based on this is sounds like it’s going well. Getting stronger is the goal but I do wonder when you say you’re dropping intensity 5-10% on some workouts. Do you mean the interval calls for 108% and you’re riding 98-103%?

1 Like

Generally not, it’ll be like 150% dropped to 130-140%. Basically I would still be in my zones, but just lower versions of it. Or 112% to 108% and 99% to 94%. I sometimes recover and bring the power back up too.

1 Like

Yes, myself and a friend find Build to be really tough, even with AT working.
I’m experimenting with shorter plans containing more Base than Build to see if that makes a difference.

1 Like

Just getting started with AT myself, but shouldn’t these workouts have been marked as all out?

The way I have understood it is that very hard is when you make it through without any adjustment, but couldn’t have managed another set/interval.

1 Like

From what I understand, the ratings are subjective. This is the first time I’ve ever marked anything as “Very Hard”. It then asks me, “What about it made it so hard?”.

I generally answer that they are Easy, Moderate or Hard. All out to me would be my soul leaving my body in difficulty.

Build should be hard, but if it’s soul crushing then it’s probably a bit too hard to be sustainable. You might consider if your FTP is 5-10% over-estimated since you are lowering the power by that amount to get through. If it is over-estimated by that amount, you may get stronger initially, but very likely could lead to bit of a crash coming up here soon since it’s easy to get over your head working above your real FTP. It would be best to avoid that because that could set you back several weeks, maybe longer. I would consider reducing my FTP, not increasing it.

1 Like

Yeah it’s gone through my head. I finished my base phase at my current FTP, and when I did my ramp test, it went up. I did my first build phase, completed every workout perfectly except for one…just hit a fatigue wall and bailed. My ramp test showed that my power went down. By a bunch, so I redid the test the next day (at the new number), and it went back to where I was when I did my base phase.

This month has been really difficult, but I think it’s more along the lines of I need work in Threshold. My VO2 has been spot on. So I don’t think it’s been soul crushing. I’ve got my recovery week now, and then a new ramp test, I’ll see what it has to say.

The ratings are not subjective in what the different rating levels entail. All out is TrainerRoads name for a certain perceived effort. And if you constantly use very hard to describe an effort level that TrainerRoad intends to be described as all out you will get exactly the results that you are getting.

I’m not saying that this is the explanation for your issues, but it might be.

1 Like

A common reason for FTP to be overestimated is because people tend to be more capable at VO2 relative to other zones at that point. That doesn’t mean your FTP is correct. It means that threshold may crush you. The ramp test rewards VO2-biased folks so if that is your current situation, I would definitely consider reducing the FTP. You can always just do harder VO2 workouts at a lower FTP, but if threshold is technically VO2, then you can only do that for so long.

1 Like

“This workout was extremely difficult. It pushed me well beyond my abilities and took a massive amount of energy and focus to complete”.

vs. “This workout was very difficult to complete”

I’ve experienced all out before…and I just don’t see it with those workouts. They were very difficult, don’t get me wrong. But it’s not like I was sobbing, falling off of my bike, throwing up etc etc etc.

In your first post you wrote: “I marked these ones as very hard, but AT has been giving me the old “atta boy” for finishing and has been giving me credit for finishing, and my levels have been going up.” This reads to me as you are a bit surprised that AT keeps progressing you, and I would suggest to take a step back an re-evaluate if you indeed have the correct understanding of what very hard and all out means.

If I’m to be completely honest with you I would rate workouts like this: Very hard - all out - had to dial it down 5-10% - failed. In my mind you can’t say that an all out workout should feel worse if you have dialed down the intensity. It might have felt the way you expect all out to fell if you had been able to finish it at prescribed wattage?

1 Like

Definitely something to consider for sure.

That sounds like a perfectly acceptable thing to do. If a person was analyzing those workouts they would probably mark that as successful and just keep in mind that maybe 112% is too high and say “as long as you keep it above 106% then you’re fine”. You have to remember that even with AT, TR is still basically giving you a stock plan that should be ‘close enough’ and it might require some adjustments or fiddling to make perfect. Especially with intervals over ~110% FTP as FTP doesn’t correlate as well for those sorts of efforts (i.e. one person’s VO2s are done at 120% while another’s is at 110% and they are both correct).

1 Like

This makes me think that you were still fatigued for your second test. TR build phases can be very intense and can require some serious rest afterward. Don’t be afraid to really ratchet down your recovery week as it will be a bigger hit to your fitness long term if you are still too fatigued as opposed to too recovered.

EDIT: you could also be a bit stale for that test. Taking a ramp test as the first workout after a rest week is pretty rough. So maybe consider a short opener workout the day before so that you can wake up your body before the test. Just make sure you’re actually recovered

1 Like

I was surprised, because I’ve had some bad days while using the program. I would get off of the trainer early and not finish, I would say, “Training fatigue, nutrition” etc. It would then readjust and not send me up in level.

I think this is were in lies the subjective nature. I’m not going to label a workout all-out unless I truly feel all out. I think back to races, or a time that I finished a run, and I literally lost my peripheral vision because of how hard I was going at the end.

I definitely understand where you are coming from, but it’s hard to explain, like “Hey I just spent 36 minutes at threshold and VO2, sure I’m breathing hard, and I’m working, oh hey my legs are starting to slow down. I have like 4 minutes left.” Now for the anaerobic efforts? Hey you might be on to something haha.

edit: To add, I’ve been really focusing on the mental game aspect

That is a fantastic idea, I’ve been doing them as the first workouts and it always feels like a giant shock to the system.

1 Like

Maybe in the future consider using the “all out” tab if you have to drop the intensity to complete the workout. As maybe the workout that you actually did wasn’t all out but the prescribed workout would have been. Because then AT will know that what it is telling you may be too difficult.

1 Like

Okay, I just updated yesterdays workout, and edited my survey response to “ALL OUT” “TOO INTENSE”. It’s still giving me credit for the completion, and increased my level.