When is a workout considered a fail?

Is it measured by TSS? NP?

If you completed a workout but had a few backpedals, can that be a failed workout?

When you don’t get on the bike at all. Then it’s a fail. Otherwise you did some good


For me the only failed workout is the one I don’t attempt. Over the last year, I’ve had some workouts where lower the intensity, some where I bail out after 1 interval (or less) and some where I need to back pedal or hit pause in the valleys to extend my break.

Every one of these “fails” means I’ve made more progress than I would have done by sitting on my backside watching TV and drinking beer.

IMO a failed workout is when you think to yourself after that you could have completed it.

Sometimes a hard workout is a stretch workout, and you go into it knowing you probably can’t complete it. That’s ok and normal. Sometimes getting 3 out of 5 intervals feels like a success because that’s all you can do.

Or similarly, if you are trying to figure out a good repeatable VO2max power (from like Huffaker) and you mess up an interval because it was too hard, definitely not a failure, just trial and error.

But if you bail out of a workout early because your head isn’t in the game, or if you are turning the intensity down so much that you aren’t getting the stimulus, then it’s a fail.



And even then, if you needed the recovery it’s all good.

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That’s a tough call to make after the fact. I can’t remember ever really finishing a TT and not feeling like I couldn’t have gone harder somewhere. Similarly with workouts, if I’ve ever had to bail out I always think afterwards I should have just somehow managed for complete it but the reality is I couldn’t have gone harder or faster because otherwise I would have. At that moment in time that’s all I was good for.

That I think is nearer the truth (for me anyway). If I give up on an interval knowing at that moment in time I could carry on if I absolutely had to then I haven’t hit the goal.

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It is better to pedal until I can pedal no more, stop, rest, and then finish the interval
Is it better to lower resistance and finish each interval?

Take a 10 second back pedal and keep going.

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I don’t think there is much difference either way. These should be exceptional events, so very little difference to your training benefit.

Sometimes my body just stops, like it’s saying “that’s enough now, come on be reasonable!” Other times I can tell ahead of time and drop to whatever output feels good so I can get back on the horse after a minute or two.

Sometimes on very long TR rides (3/4/5hrs) it’s more psychological than physical. I’ll get off have a walk, get some more water, toilet break, have something solid to eat and get back on when I’m ready and willing.

Whilst it’s good to be determined to finish a session with a perfect chart, it’s easy to put too much significance on little breaks.