I’m up for Ainsle +8 which is a total of 32 minutes at 105% FTP, just quickly looking at stretch and breakthrough workouts, there are some on there that honestly look way easier for me. Mt.Washington which is 2 16 min @ 100% FTP or Jobs -1 which also is less time at 105% than Ainsle.
I was wondering if the alternatives are “approved” for my plan and if I should be picking what I want to do, or if I should stay with the first prescribed. I kind of feel like I can get more “points” by doing more breakthrough stuff, especially when they require less time in the zone.
If you are looking at increasing your levels faster, than yes, choosing a stretch/breakthrough WO will get you there faster (provided you complete it successfully and get the points), but IMO I wouldn’t consider TR as a race to get to the top progression levels. I do use alternates at times, but traditionally stick to what’s prescribed to GRADUALLY increase my levels and fitness. Following the program in this manner, I know I’ll get to the level of fitness I want, it will simply take longer AND there’s less of a likelihood of a workout failure when choosing a stretch/breakthrough session.
As far as the WO’s you referenced above… I couldn’t find Mt. Washington, but between Ainsilie+8 (threshold 3.4) and Jobs-1 (threshold 3.8), I would consider jobs “harder”.
When comparing the workouts, you shouldn’t look ONLY at total time in zone. The length of the intervals and recovery bits also will factor in as well. While there is less TIZ in jobs-1 over ainslie+8, the interval length in jobs is almost double in length at the same FTP % (4m vs. 7m). I would consider that a bit harder and my guess would be that TR and the PL’s do as well, which is why those 2 are rated as they are.
Back to your question though regarding using alternates or not. If the TR algorithm is suggesting it, then I would consider that “approved” by the system otherwise it wouldn’t be suggested…
@Will_Peters is correct that Alternates are ‘approved’ by Adaptive Training to fall into what’s suggested for that day. (Thanks, Will!).
I just want to address specifically your question about Alternates showing differences in ‘difficulty’.
Alternate workouts may have different TSS and IF than the original workout, which may result in an Alternate being slightly easier or harder than the original.
You’ll always be presented with an Alternate in the same training zone and workout profile as your original workout, so you can be confident that choosing an Alternate will still effectively move you toward your goals!
More info on Workout Alternates here, but don’t hesitate to reach out if you have further questions!