TR and Average Power Workouts

I was wondering why the “resting phase” of many scheduled workouts are at such a low power level. I understand the need to have breaks in workouts. I also understand that TR workouts can very taxing. I’m just wondering why an average workout week using TR isn’t also addressing average power? Doesn’t raising average power help with increasing your ftp?

If you take a look at similar workouts with a higher PL, one of the factors that changes is rest/recovery power level. A low PL VO2 may do 120/50% intervals, but as it steps up in difficulty, it may end up at 125/70% (random numbers since I didn’t actually dig into workouts).

The simple answer is probably “yes, raising average power helps with increasing your ftp, but too much will cause fatigue and burnout and TR’s algorithm is set to both increase ftp but also be sustainable”.

Hey @Hlyon!

This is a great question, that I’m sure a lot of people have.

Each workout in your plan is designed with a specific purpose and goal in mind. All the workouts fit together to achieve the broader goal of your Training Plan: Get faster.

Rest intervals are included in workouts where there are hard intervals with target powers that are intentionally designed so that you spend a specific amount of time in specific zones.

These harder intervals are very effective at moving the needle in progressing your fitness. The rest intervals are designed and included to allow you to hit these intervals. Any other benefits from rest intervals are secondary to this primary goal.

On the other hand, riding with a relatively higher average power for extended durations improves Aerobic Endurance- one component of fitness that can contribute to getting faster. Improving your Aerobic Endurance is the primary goal of other workouts in your Training Plan that don’t include true rest intervals.

With all of that said, your main concern should be in achieving the primary goal of each Workout.

Foremostly, make sure you are hitting the target power in your harder intervals. Depending on where your strengths lie, you may be able to increase the intensity of rest intervals slightly and still achieve the target power of the harder intervals.

If that is the case, feel free to do so. But know that other workouts will take care of improving other aspects of performance so ensure you’re achieving the primary goal of the workout (hitting the target power for each interval).

I think we can all be guilty of trying to maximise and achieve everything all at once. But the most effective Training plans are the ones that are intentionally designed to address specific aspects of performance in specific ways so that no stone is left unturned.

I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions :+1:

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No. And yes. :slightly_smiling_face:

No: the whole point of interval training is to hit specific physiological systems. So 6 × 3 @ 120% with easy riding wrapped around it might have the same average power as a shortish endurance ride, but the two rides will affect you rather differently. The easy riding around the intervals enables you to go harder during those intervals to get the adaptations you’re after.

Yes: in the long haul, average power goes up in step with FTP. That’s why you retest and recalibrate.

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Lowering your average power and doing a lot more hours is a lot more effective at raising ftp, raising vo2max, and making you faster. There is a reason why the dedicated, elite, and pros do a lot of low-intensity riding. Where the debate starts is what if you only have 6 hours/week? Or worse, only 3 hours/week?

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