Why Do Base Plans Include Over/Under Threshold Workouts Instead of Just Threshold

Does anyone know why the Base plans use over/under threshold workouts instead of just threshold? I would think that straight threshold intervals at FTP are better for building base aerobic fitness, and that O/Us would be more applicable for Build. The O/Us are kind of kicking my rear at the moment, too.

At least partly just because they’re considered less boring, I suspect.

Also, if your FTP is overstated by 4%, at least you’ll be riding below your actual FTP for some of the time if you’re doing 95/105 o/us :wink::joy:


Mentally I think they are easier than flat 100% intervals as you can count down each interval


If you don’t like them just swap them for a different workout. That can be a different threshold or something else. You’re not losing anything in the Base phase and workouts shouldn’t be kicking your but so early in this training phase. I don’t like doing threshold in Base so I’ve swapped them for 2 hour SS workouts.


Care to elaborate why?

I think it teaches your muscles to burn off lactic acid. Over/unders suck but are very beneficial.


@craigmanning has got the right idea here.

Over-unders require you to build up a good amount of byproduct during the “over” phase and then force your body to process it while working really close to your threshold during the “under” phase. This helps build up Lactate clearance capabilities, especially while working at a high percentage of FTP.

These types of efforts can also replicate specificity in real-world situations.

I agree with @ArHu74 in that the breakup of interval duration does help me get through them mentally as well.

We actually wrote up a blog post specifically about Over-Unders a while ago. Check it out below!


2 hours at sweet spot? That sounds very hard and very boring. O/U s anyday!


Not 2 hours at SS. A 2 hour SS workout of various intervals around 80 minutes time in zone. Similar to this;

Screenshot 2024-03-04 at 9.59.57 AM

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  1. Threshold in Base is a substitute for volume. During Base I’m doing 800-1000 TSS weeks with 0 days off. I’m not lacking in volume so Threshold (particularly the scheduled O/U) is unnecessary stress. Not to mention 95%+ of my workouts are indoors on the trainer so there’s literally no free pedal strokes.

  2. Doing years of high volume I am particularly aware of my mental state and burnout. I’ve learned from previous TR plans over the years that I don’t burn out from volume, but rather intensity. So, adding in intensity over SS so early in the training season provides me no benefit. Even my “C” races, let alone my “A” races are many months away. I don’t even want to think about doing difficult workouts for a few months. SS workouts can be uncomfortable, but I wouldn’t call them difficult or mentally demanding.

  3. After a hard look of all my training over the years and when I felt my best, I’ve concluded that the old school SS HV plans (5 days of SS :grimacing:) made me feel amazing. I don’t want to go back to 5 days of SS, but 3 days of 2 hour SS workouts with the rest z2 works great for me. Then, in Base 3 I’ll swap out 1 of those SS workouts for V02.

  4. I race primarily gravel of 2:30-3:30 hours. At that duration SS is not only very affective for my Base, but squarely fits into specificity. Though I’m not necessarily focusing on specificity this early in my training season, it’s nice that it fits.

  5. Lastly, TTE is a limiter of mine. I tend to fade 1:30-2:00 hours into races. SS workouts provide a great opportunity to improve my TTE, particularly because I’m training indoors and z2 over 3 hours on the trainer is not something I’m willing to regularly do.


Not really. Perhaps if you only do the super dense TR workouts. Regardless, you bring up good points that apply for your situation.

What I’m discovering this year, during my indoor base/offseason:

  • I can handle 3d of intensity before recovery week.
  • Thresold work makes SST feel easy
  • Hard short efforts, make Vo2 feel “easier”.

Once I’m able to go outside, I’ll apply the “volume is the intensity” approach.

I despise over unders, I wish they didn’t have them in every plan. If I made a plan starting with general base 1,2,3 and used sustained power build before gran fondo specialty. I would have 5 months of over unders ,that doesn’t make sense to me.
Sure I could pick different workouts but at that point I may as well build my own plan. Which is why I now do my own planning.
That’s my only complaint with TR plans.

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Even worse is that every single Saturday Outdoor ride is O/Us. I get it if you want to schedule them, but at least make it where when I flip it to Outdoors, the O/U component goes away.

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