Sweetspot group ride - TSS is totally out of whack

My 2.5hr Sweetspot group ride comes up on Training peaks as a TSS of 140 but the accompanying text says “this should be ‘moderately hard’ effort with a TSS ~ 115.”

The text also seems to contradict itself: it says both “Its OK if your power and HR is above or below Sweet Spot for short periods of time (< 60 seconds)” and “Think in terms of 20- 60 minutes or more of a sustained effort in the sweet spot.”

I just did ride in the prescribed zone for 90 minutes, its was more than moderately hard, and my TSS was 124, meaning I was on pace for a TSS of >200.

I have read everything you’ve posted and I find it very unclear.

Sorry about that @andrew.stackhouse

Go out and ride as much sweet spot as you can in 2.5 hours - should +~ 20 of 140 (TrainingPeaks does not allow to input a range)

Also being on pace of > 200 tells mean your FTP is higher than you have it set @ (which is a good thing )

How am I supposed to pace myself based on intended TSS? There’s no way to get the data while riding. I mean, for all the intricacy of these workouts I don’t understand why there isn’t a consistent and clear set of metrics to use.

Ride between your sweet spot wattages 84-97% of FTP and use real time TSS on your bike computer.

From the sounds of your ride, either a) rode too hard or b) your FTP is set too low - which inadvertently cause your TSS #'s to read high. Or c) both

Biggest thing is to ride between 84-97% and the by math the TSS prescribed matches the TSS you’ll do

TSS = duration x Intensity Factor^2 (squared)

So square the prescribed IF multiple by duration and that calculates TSS - the # in trainingpeaks is that calculation.

1 hour at 1.0 Intensity Factor (FTP or 100%) = 100 TSS

That doesn’t make sense.
If my FTP is too low, the 84-97% of a higher number means I’m going even harder.
Here’s the basic summary data

You can add a field to your bike computer’s display that shows the current accumulated TSS on your ride. This is true on at least Garmin and Wahoo computers, and probably others as well.

Sweet spot is a pretty large range, and with the way TSS is calculated, it gets even bigger. At the low end, an hour of sweet spot would be 0.84 x 0.84 x 100, or about 70 TSS. At the top end, 0.97 x 0.97 x 100 is about 94 TSS. For your 90 minutes, that’s anywhere from 105 to 141 TSS.

If your FTP is set too low in TrainingPeaks, the same ride will end up having a higher TSS than it should have. For instance, if you rode at a 90% effort, you would get 121 TSS in 90 minutes. But if your real FTP is actually 5% higher than what TrainingPeaks is set to, then you were really only at about 85% (I’m simplifying the math here), and your TSS would be 108.

TSS has a very non-linear relationship to average power. A few sprints can make an hour workout have the same TSS as an easy 2 hour ride. I’ve got a small hill in my area that’s a 20 second all out effort. I can pick up 8 - 10 TSS points just from that. On a spirited group ride, you can end up doing some hard efforts just to keep up, and that’s not really in the spirit of the workout. I asked Frank about that here:

Levels 5 - 7 in group rides while on Sweet Spot Plan

Personally, I don’t think missing the goal TSS by +/- 10 - 15% is a big deal as long as I achieve the overall goal of the workout. In this case, a sweet spot workout, not a VO2 or Sprinting workout.

Maybe most important is how I feel the next day and whether I’m able to do the next workout on the plan. In the SS3 plan I bought, the group ride days are followed by a zone 2 day, so it’s easy, and then there’s a recovery day, so even if I overcook the group ride, I’m not expected to do an Over/Under workout next. This is perhaps the real value in the plan I have: it seems well structured so when I’m tired, I’ve got a recover day or week coming up.

So, in summary, I try to focus on the intended goal of a workout, recognizing that the final numbers might be off a bit. Fortunately, my body doesn’t know or care about these numbers. I just aim to get close enough to the right effort to get the adaptation that will result in improvement.

Having said all that, some of the workout descriptions have TSS estimates that just aren’t accurate:
TSS conflict in Sweet Spot plan


Good thing there are users with energy to explain things the owner can’t communicate…

All that is very helpful, although I still am flummoxed on the impact of a low FTP.
Again, say I recalibrated by FTP up. If the workout calls for x% of FTP, I will be going even harder will I not?
Your insight on the hill is probably where I went wrong: I was a on a long steep slope for a decent chunk of the ride and my power kicked over the prescribed range for chunks of time here and there and you are saying that is prob why I was feeling flogged after 90 min.

Fwiw I went out today at about the same effort albeit on the flats and felt way more human.

I beg your pardon @andrew.stackhouse ? The “owner” - I prefer to be called the BigCat and I answered your question not once but twice. You’re welcome.

I’m trying to help you: It is clear to me you a) rode too hard and b) your FTP is set too low. And c) per @scott.wiesner - achieving an exact TSS is not the goal (which I said in my 2nd answer).

Good luck with your training - hope that helps and don’t be a jerk in here -

In fairness to Frank and the coaching team, when we buy an off-the-shelf training plan, we’re taking on the role of coaching ourselves. All the aspects of understanding and adjusting training based on how we feel or respond is up to us. It’s awesome that they provide a forum for their users (so glad it’s not on facebook) and they answer questions, but it’s not free coaching. I think the two plans I’ve purchased are quite good for my needs, but it would probably serve everyone if FasCat took a quick pass through the plans and removed the descriptions of expected TSS for workouts since TrainingPeaks is calculating that based on the workout.

For coaching, they’re offering a really good price on once-a-month review/Q&A or of course, full-blown coaching support. And if you’re simply finding the plan doesn’t meet your needs, they have a money-back guarantee. Honestly, for the huge variety of plans they’ve produced and the prices they offer, I think it’s a bargain. I’m sure a big part of the business model for FasCat is to lure people into monthly coaching review and full coaching with these plans, but they do stand well on their own.

As far as I know, the “bible” for all these things is still Training and Racing with a Power Meter by Allen and Coggan. If you want to nerd out on the details of NP, IF, TSS, etc., it’s all in there.

Regarding hills and harder efforts, the TSS and NP it’s based on are exponential, so harder efforts really add up (as they should, based on how they make our legs feel). The example I gave was for an all-out 20 seconds, roughly 3X FTP watts. The really fun thing is that if you watch TSS live on your power meter, you can see the total running up for a few seconds after the effort is done because it’s based on a moving average of your power over the last 30 seconds. If you did a few minutes at or slightly above FTP on your hills for a few minutes, that wasn’t much of a factor in your higher-than-expected TSS.

On the impact of an incorrect FTP value in TrainingPeaks: Both Frank and I were saying if you took this exact workout file and imported it into TrainingPeaks with a higher FTP, your TSS would be less. You’re absolutely correct that if you did a new workout based on a higher FTP, the TSS would be the same. But, as an extreme example, if you increased your FTP 20%, I’ll bet you couldn’t do it.

I see Frank has replied as I’ve been typing all this. A man of few words, and I can respect that, as obviously, I am not. :grinning: To summarize, the message here is, make sure your FTP is set correctly and get live TSS displayed on your bike computer, but mostly, follow the Tao of Frank: Be the Plan. Just follow the workouts as described. FTFP.


Why flummoxed? In an extreme case, say your FTP is set way too low, e.g. you accidentally set it to say 120 when in reality it’s 240, then TSS for all your rides will be through the roof because you’ll be riding above your incorrect FTP for almost the entire ride and TP will think you’ve done a superhuman effort.

Maybe channel your anger towards your training rather than attacking the guys who are taking time to very clearly answer your question =D