Evaluating Workout Completion

Is there a way to objectively determine if you truly nailed the prescribed workout? I look at my actual IF & TSS post workout to see it if it meets or exceeds the planned IF & TSS but is there another way to say “yea I got that with 95% adherence” or is most everyone subjectively evaluating your performance.

I guess what do you mean by “nailed”?

OBJECTIVELY, completing the workout at X intensity, while tracking your power and/or cadence as closely as possible (or right on w ERG), would suggest to me I “nailed” a workout.

Also factor in HR tracking above or below defined zones (assuming current testing #’s) as to whether you were right on, overtired, etc.

SUBJECTIVELY, did you finish on form? Did the workout feel good/intense/overwhelming, etc.?

Strava has a few measurements - total work, intensity, training load and relative effort - that you could use. Since it also measures my outdoor rides, I can compare those efforts to my indoor Sufferfest efforts. Sufferlandria still doesn’t have a way to upload outdoor efforts into the passport, and I can try to beat my old outdoor times on segments.

I don’t see any target IS or TSS when I use the app. I only ever see it in Strava.

IOS if that makes any difference.

As long as I finish it in ERG mode, I consider it “nailed”.

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Related, the way the app deals with pauses in workouts isn’t what I’d consider ideal. I paused Long Scream because I was too tired to continue. My 20 minute power best is from that ride. I don’t think that’s valid. The pause shouldn’t be ignored.

You need to be careful comparing TSS and IF. The values in app are based on a ‘standard’ power profile, but 4DP will adjust the targets to your exact numbers. For example if you did Half is Easy but you had a very strong AC relative to your FTP, your TSS and IF would exceed the values you see on the workout description. The opposite would be true if you had a weak AC. You couldn’t tell from TSS abs IF whether you nailed it.

Personally I’d look at how close to targets I got, whether I completed the intervals, and put it in context of my training load to decide how that work out went.

Hey Rob, You can always work at the graphs post workout to see how accurately you stuck to the power and cadence targets for the prescribed workout.
The other way of knowing if you nailed it is to an extent looking at the IF and TSS but more importantly how did you feel?
Remember it is great to go all out on some workouts but managing your efforts over time will benefit you more in the long term.


I guess that sort of depends on how you “pause”? Rather than let the app spin down and advance, I pause the video in place (spacebar on my laptop), do whatever I have to do (stretch, get more water, throw up) then spin my cadence back up and start the video again. Ergo no “pause”, and results aren’t skewed.


Yeah - the pause (and therefore the muscle, lungs, heart, energy systems recovery) is hidden in that scenario.

The only way to ensure that the pause is included is not Pause and let the video continue, while going and doing whatever we have to do. That makes sure that the zero watt period is present and the heart rate comes down etc etc.

And I guess the next thing would be having an option to pause the video, but not pause the workout :slight_smile: but I guess these things are tied.

There’s so many factors affecting every individual workout. If it’s one I’m more interested in knowing, then as I’m using erg typically I’ll know I hit the intervals to numbers (or I didn’t) and that’ll be a fairly binary thing for me.
So if there’s 9, and I get 7 out of 9 I can go dance in the streets. If I just get 6 I’ll prob tell myself that’s fine.
More than 7 I can schedule FF which is a 10/10 result
Less than 6, I’m probably fatigued.

Great discussion guys, thank you for the input. It’s funny the graphs are easier to see on my Mac. I use my phone teamed with Apple TV and so never really use the app on the Mac. It’s much easier to see the power graph compared with the targets.

I really like hearing how others measure their workout success. I’m still just two weeks into new numbers so I’m definitely struggling with the workouts and don’t want to lie to myself about how I’m doing.

I use the graph at the end to decide, personally. If I did the workout at prescribed%,didn’t pause at all, and the graph is at least the same as the targets if not above in places, (as I’m always in level mode as on a dumb trainer, my graphs can get wild on off days) I consider it nailed!

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I have a dumb trainer as well!!

This is an interesting topic.

I’ve thought before how it would be interesting to see a plot after the workout that depicted ‘compliance’. Maybe just a difference graph of target power versus actual power (maybe smoothing the latter in some reaosnable way). A few spikes here and there would be nothing to worry about, a gradual drift showing that you were flagging, and an abrupt ending showing that you reached the 9th hammer and got no further. You could develop metrics from this too but to be honest the plot itself is probably good enogh for 99%+ of usage.

Many many edits: damn my typing is bad todya…

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I think this is key. To me, it doesn’t matter how closely I followed the prescribed workout. What matters is that I did enough to stimulate adaptation without compromising workouts in the following days. Sometimes that means not doing the last interval or two. Of course none of this matters if you’re doing the workouts as a form of hard exercise and are not interested in actually riding the bike faster.


I export my SUF workouts to Training Peaks, so I can look in more detail at the data and combine with my outdoor rides etc… But usually it’s just a case of following the target power and cadence and not having to pause or bail out of intervals.

It’s usually pretty obvious when you have totally nailed a workout vs barely survived! To me a nailed workout is one where you hit all power and cadence targets with no pauses and finish strong. If those occur too often then it’s time for another FF!

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Good point that hadn’t crossed my mind at all!

Nah, there are more reasonable alternatives. I’d ideally like to see the following behavior for pauses:

  • Have a little marker at the pause time(s) on the graph. This could be a vertical line of a contrasting color, or something.
  • All-time power bests should include pause time. This means that my period of zero power should be counted in the computation.
  • Single workout power bests may or may not include pause time. Either treat the pause as a period of zero power, or have an asterisk to say that you paused during the window.

That’s exactly how I pause, and I consider the power bests skewed because I got to sneak in a rest that wasn’t counted.

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And again, it comes down to what we mean by a “pause”. If I hit pause to run upstairs and refill my water bottle for 1min, over the course of a 60min video, I’m not terribly concerned about that skewing any resulting metrics. 10min to change clothes or something, that would be another story.

Frankly I’m in SUFF for the workouts, the training, and to have a little fun. Not so concerned about earning an asterisk on my NM best…but we’re all wired differently!