TR workouts - Good for flats/rolling but not for climbs?

First things first, I’ve finished the SSLV1 & 2 just a couple weeks ago. I used VW as my power source. I went outside expecting that somehow I get a bit faster which I noticed at flat and rolling courses. Had lots of PR’s. Apparently, as what stated on my title, I struggled at climbs both long and short. So it got me thinking if anyone here who has similar situation?

I think more information would help in this case:

  • Has this been over multiple rides that you typically do? Or just one? Group? Solo efforts?

  • Are these long and short climbs typical for you and you know them really well? i.e. benchmark local climbs that you have done many times and know how you typically would ride them.

  • How has the SSLV1&2 plans compare to previous years of offseason training? What gains have you seen in your FTP tests throughout these plans?

  • How about equipment changes? Bike fit changes?

  • And lastly, by struggled, how much of a margin are you slower than previous attempts at these climbs?

As purely a paper exercise, let’s assume that your ability to tackle long and short climbs was the product of your FTP, exclusively. Techincally, gains in FTP from Sweet Spot Base are icing on the cake, not the cake itself. With a low volume plan, I don’t imagine you’d see FTP gains of any more than 1-2%, depending on your fitness level and experience with structured training. FTP improvements are more likely to be cultivated in the Build Phase. So, my take on it, with all assumptions possible, is that you didn’t respond as much as you’d have hoped from a low volume plan.

But like above, think about all the other variables and see if there’s a way of quantifying your “struggle” so you can identify where there may be a gap.

@paulignacio Do you have a power meter on your outdoor bike?

If so, have you used TR analytics or a 3rd party app, such as Training Peaks Premium to analyze your power data from your flat/rolling effort vs the climbing efforts? If so, any differences?

Unless you have some personal weakness in climbing you should be able to achieve similar results. For me, for example, sustained power would be higher on the climbs due to the ability to use the terrain for resistance.

Note: Short climbs, similar to sprints on flats, require VO2Max and/or neuromuscular efforts. Those will be trained during the Build Phase.

I personally don’t have a power meter to be used outside. am just relying to my RPE.

Aha, thank you for this. I really thought I pace quite wrong and thought that I’m still at my threshold whenever there’s a sudden ramp.

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I approximately do 3 to 4 rides per week. Solo.

Yes, starred them in strava segments. I mostly do my workouts at those climbs.


About 20-30 seconds higher.

Ah I see, I actually feel disappointed after finishing SS Base. I only increased like 2%. But then the awkward thing is, at SSBLV2, I managed to finish majority of the threshold workouts at 5%. I just started build phase just this day.

RPE can be very useful for a lot of things, particularly in comparing RPE vs actual power production during post workout analysis. However, I have found that both for myself and other athletes that we underestimate how hard we work at the beginning of a climb and overestimate it later in a climb (similar for the beginning and end of a workout). The only true gauge for work effort is power. So if you can afford one, I’d recommend it.

Similar to flats, short hills can be done at threshold by holding back (e.g. not sprinting on flats; not putting in an all out effort on a short climb). My differentiation from long climbs (e.g. 20mins), is that by definition you can’t go anaerobic and sustain it where is you can on flat sprints and short hills. This is one of the reasons why power meters for outdoor riding is a game changer - allowing you to properly pace over all terrains.