Workout order - does it matter? | 80/20 Endurance

Workout order – does it matter?

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  • #11113
    winoria
    Moderator

    Hi there!

    I’m sitting here on my breakfast table, just finishing up my coffee and delicious oatmeal, which was earned by sticking to the prescribed CRe10 that I performed at 5 AM 🙂
    Anyways, I was looking through my TP calendar and tried to figure out how to squeeze in all of this and next week’s workout without interfering with family and job. Life would be so much easier without a job wouldn’t it – HA?
    For me, it is much easier to run in the morning and to ride in the PM, especially as the weather starts to be nice and I would pick an outdoor ride over an indoor trainer ride anytime. Sometimes it’s also easier for me to do the cycling/running in the AM and the swimming in the evening. As I was shifting the oder of the workouts on my TP calendar I started to wonder if this was a good idea. It seems that if there is a swim planned for the day, it is (almost?) always the first workout of the day, followed by a ride or run later. If there is a ride and run planned, it always starts with the ride.
    Do you expect any negative impact by running in the AM and performing the cycling workout in the PM? Same with swimming?
    Also, do you see any issues by switching the last workouts of the week (e.g. CMI2 is usually the day before RF16)? My plan is tailored to a Saturday race, so my Sundays are rest days. That means that the ride CMI2 (in that case) would be on Friday and the run on Saturday. Time constraints make me usually swap the ride with the run so that I run Friday and bike Saturday. I was assuming that should be fine?

    Sorry for the long read.

    Winoria

    #11136
    winoria
    Moderator

    And: is it just me or is RMI2 brutal?

    #11140
    tedc
    Participant

    Oh my! Yes, RMI2 is the only workout so far in Half Level 2 that I haven’t been able to complete accurately in each zone (using power) – couldn’t make the last Z5 interval.

    #11144
    David Warden
    Keymaster

    Winoria,

    Some of your question is addressed in the document Getting Started with 80/20 Training which I’ve included below.

    But, we don’t address “does it matter?” The order in which we create the workouts is what we consider “ideal.” “Ideal” meaning you have no job or other responsibilities and can train exactly as we say. Of course you’ll need to adjust the plan! Does it matter if you adjust? Yes, but some adjustments are minor with almost no impact and some are more significant.

    Swim is always recommended first because swimming fatigued reinforces poor form. If you have enough rest and do it in the afternoon, it might be just fine.

    Bike/run order is not critical, we just want the higher intensity done first which is sometimes the bike and sometimes the run. If split up over 8 hours, you may not be fatigued and can still crush the high intensity workout.

    I could go over another 20 reasons why each workout is where it is in the plan… but I won’t. The bottom line is you ca move the workouts around, it matters a teeny-tiny-bit, but you need to live your life and modification is inevitable.

    – Avoid moving workouts that result in 3 “hard” days in a row. “Hard” means intervals or long workouts.
    – Try to maintain reasonable distribution of each sport. For example, it’s best to cycle every other day than cycle 3 days in a row and not cycle for 4 days.
    – Due to the quick recovery, swim workouts are an exception to the “hard” rule and can be moved at your discretion, while still trying to maintain reasonable swim workout distribution.
    – When performing bike and run workouts back-to-back, it’s best to perform the workout with the most intensity first.
    – Try to keep the workouts all within the same week, as this maintains the precise 80/20 ratios that have been built into your plan.

    David

    P.S. I wrote the RMI series when I was in a bad mood. Apologies for the collateral damage.

    #11151
    winoria
    Moderator

    Hi David,

    thanks for your detailed answer. Sorry for not catching some of the answers to my questions in the ” Getting Started with 80/20 Training ” section.
    The swimming fatigued and poor form make sense.
    Thanks again for your feedback – truly appreciated.


    @tedc
    : I could not hit the target numbers on the last Z5 interval either.

    I generally see that – no matter if power or pace – I am having a hard time hitting upper Zone 4 or Zone 5 target power/pace but have no issue to stay a long(er) time in upper Zone 3 or even Zone Y (threshold pace).

    winoria

    #11162
    blackthorn
    Participant

    Bringing this up again because of the already mentioned difficulty of RMI2.
    I know did this the 2nd time and failed again to hit power targets (but only for the 2nd Z4 and Z5 intervals) towards the end of the interval.
    After the first workout, I thought failures can happen, but having the exact same issue with the 2nd approach 9 month later, I wonder how should I interpret this?

    #11164
    David Warden
    Keymaster

    B,

    Let’s see if we can figure this out.

    First, you’re using Power, which is an important filter in this troubleshooting. HR will be unlikely to hit the Z5 target since HR takes time to catch up. Power is almost instant, so that eliminates the first potential issue.

    Second, and the most likely issue, is that the RMI2 requires almost perfect pacing. Particularly the middle Zone 3 section. It you are pushing the upper end of Zone 5, 4, and 3 for the first 3 intervals, then you may not be able to hit the same targets for the final Zone 4 and 5 intervals. Next time, back off to the very low end of the first Zone 5, 4, and 3 intervals and then blow away the last zone 4 and 5 intervals.

    Third, and not likely in your case, is an incorrect threshold setting. Since the base of run power is 100% of your 30-minute output (or 95% of your 20 minute) there is no reason you can’t hold 102% of that number for 5 minutes. That’s just a 2% increase for 1/6 of the duration. If you can’t hold 102% of FTP for 5 minutes, then 100% is not your 30-minute FTP. BUT, the RMI is obviously a bit different in that by the time you hit that second 5-minute Zone 4 interval you’ve already blown through those first Zone 5, 4, and 3 sections, and some fatigue at the end is normal. If you’re not struggling with Zone 4 and 5 in other dedicated Zone 4 and 5 intervals, then your FTP is fine.

    Finally, the RMI2 is just a hard workout. It’s advanced, and it’s not uncommon for it to take 2-3 attempts to get that pacing down. Unfortunately, by the time you get the pacing, we stop using it in the plan!

    David

    #11166
    winoria
    Moderator

    Third, and not likely in your case, is an incorrect threshold setting. Since the base of run power is 100% of your 30-minute output (or 95% of your 20 minute) there is no reason you can’t hold 102% of that number for 5 minutes. That’s just a 2% increase for 1/6 of the duration. If you can’t hold 102% of FTP for 5 minutes, then 100% is not your 30-minute FTP. BUT, the RMI is obviously a bit different in that by the time you hit that second 5-minute Zone 4 interval you’ve already blown through those first Zone 5, 4, and 3 sections, and some fatigue at the end is normal. If you’re not struggling with Zone 4 and 5 in other dedicated Zone 4 and 5 intervals, then your FTP is fine.

    Ok, I want to try to understand that by giving an example:
    I ran a 20 min test and had an average power output of 293W which means an FTP of 278W after deducting the 5%.
    Therefore, my Zone 4 is 286W – 334W and Zone 5 334 W – 2000 W.
    I am having a hard time to get into Zone 5 and stay there, even if it’s only 1:30min and the first interval of that specific workout.
    Now, even though it is hard for me to meet the prescribed Zone 5 for the mentioned 1:30min, I am fine with the Zone 4, Zone 3 & again Zone 4 intervals (Zone 4 I’m more towards the lower end of the spectrum, Zone 3 feels great and I feel I could stick around Zone 3 for longer).
    Would you think my FTP is too high b/c of my issues with Zone 5 (and maybe even Zone 4) or could it simply be a matter of slow-twitch/fast-twitch muscle kind of thing?
    RAn3 was spot on.
    How much could fatigue impact the results? The test takes place in a recovery week with somewhat fresh legs, the RAn3 and especially RMI2 are being run on rather tired legs…?

    Also wondering about this:

    The leading brand of run power meter, Stryd, offers a different way to establish power zones. Stryd power meters automatically estimate a variable called critical power (CP) for individual runners through their use in the normal training process. CP is roughly 5 percent higher than rFTP, which is the variable we use to anchor power zones. To determine your threshold power from CP, therefore, simply multiply it by 0.95. For example, if your stryd CP is 262 watts, your rFTP is 249 watts.

    Stryd says my CP is 286, which would mean a FTP of 272W but I don’t think these 6 Watts difference would make me hit Zone 5?

    winoria

    #11170
    blackthorn
    Participant

    I attached a screenshot of the TP analysis screen for better context.

    @1: Yes, I use power (Stryd v3) + HR strap (Polar H10)
    @2: I paced the first Z5 + Z4 at the lower end + Z3 in the mid (see screenshots)
    @3: Zones are validated with 20 min test + running (at least) 10 mins @ LTHR (LTHR from a ramp test at a sports doctor): Both tests in the last couple of weeks showed a rFTP of 330 (+- 2 Watts)

    I worked around the “failure” by putting in a 1 min Z1 recovery for the 2nd Z4 interval and a 20 sec Z1 for the second Z5 interval. This seemed like a compromise, at least

    TP analysis

    #11171
    winoria
    Moderator

    @blackthorn: looks like you had a hard time holding the first Z5 interval?

    #11172
    Curry Gallagher
    Participant

    I can say that I am genuinely surprised that my first brick (optional) workout (next week) has the RMI2 as the run portion. The 90 minute z1/2 ride isnt so bad, but given how you guys are talking about this interval run, I amy just opt out of this brick….

    But, did you guys do the RMI2 as part of a brick? May that have played a part in the difficulty?

    #11173
    blackthorn
    Participant

    Yes, indeed. In general, I have no feeling for Z5 RPE, as it is the only workout with Z5 efforts. At this pace I usually try to avoid looking at the watch 😀

    #11175
    winoria
    Moderator

    I didn’t expect to start such a long discussion when posting my question – I guess that actually good 🙂

    @Curry Gallagher: I did not do the workout as a brick. It was my first workout of the day. Even the day before was rather easy with a recovery run and a swim. I did run the RAn3 two days before the RMI2 but would not expect this to impact my performance too much.

    #11196
    David Warden
    Keymaster

    Lot’s to cover here. Hold me accountable if I missed anything in the last few posts. I’ll address winoria first then blackthorn in the next reply.


    @winoria
    – Yes, if an athlete is struggling with 1.5 minutes in Zone 5 on fresh legs, my instinct is that their FTP is too high. But, if they are not struggling with Zone 3 and 4, then that’s probably not the case. The truth is that two athletes with identical FTP could struggle on one end or the other based on genetics and experience. Athletes with heavy slow-twitch are going to be able to maintain high Zone 2 forever, and struggle with Zone 5. Athletes with more fast-twitch are going to feel Zone 5 is too easy, but die after 3 hours of cycling. So, there is certainly some variability on the ability to maintain Zone 5 even for a correct FTP.

    While it’s true that Zone 3, 4, and 5 each have specific benefits (see chapter 20 of the book Triathlon Science for a good discussion on the difference between sub-, super- and supra-maximal intervals), there is very little difference between high Zone 4 and low Zone 5. The purpose of the interval is high intensity. If you can’t maintain Zone 5, Zone 4 is great.

    Fatigue would absolutely impact the results as well. Just a 3% decrease in output is the difference between Zone 4 and 5.

    I just finished a call with Stryd yesterday to have our two company’s prepare synchronous documentation to align 80/20 rFTP with Stryd CP. We’ll have that done within the next week. The challenge has been that 80/20 rFTP is fixed, while Stryd CP is variable. So, for Athlete A, Stryd CP is CP20. For Athlete B, Stryd CP is CP40. 80/20 has just tried to guess what Stryd CP has been, but now we understand their formula and can improve our documentation. Because Stryd CP is variable, it won’t align perfectly, but it will now be closer. I’ll update in the forums when our Stryd documentation has been updated.

    David

    #11197
    David Warden
    Keymaster

    @blackthorn It seems to me you both paced the RMI2 correctly and that your FTP is correct. So, the three remaining possibilities are fatigue, genetics (see my previous post), or I just created an unreasonably difficult workout.

    The RMI series is only presented in the Level 2 and 3 plans. It is an advanced workout, supposed to be challenging, but we don’t want to create impossible workouts. I did a quick audit of the RMI2, sample size of 6, using 6 different athletes. 3 of them did not complete the workout as prescribed and 3 did. Some had small non-compliance like blackthorn, and some could not continue the intervals after the middle Zone 3. The other 3 nailed it. Still, 50% a lower compliance than I want to see for a workout, but perhaps within an acceptable margin for an advanced workout? I’ll have to consider this for the 2022 Edition updates.

    David

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