Primers vs Openers

Just wondering what the difference between these is (apart from the video content before anyone chips in with that one!).

Primers has a higher IF and TSS but a lot of the event prep plans seem to end with Openers.

Is there a theoretical benefit to using one over the other before certain event types? or am I just over analyzing?

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They both claim to be perfect for the day before a big event - I’d say you pick whatever you fancy.
But hey, I’m not a coach, so who knows? There may be a subtle difference.

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Fundamentally they appear to be similar, I prefer doing Primers as it has that extra VO2 block and increasing power sprints.

The 4DP rating though seems out of sync with Primers, comparing it to Openers, having 1 bar for each parameter despite having higher IF and TSS as you state.

@Coach.Mac.C can you enlighten us to the differences? and comment on the 4DP ratings too, please.

I think I can answer this one- Primers and Openers are very very similar sessions. The biggest difference is that Primers is a video meant to be done indoors and Openers is an outdoor session.
Primers has a slightly higher IF because it has a 3 minute intensity build to start with, then 3 x 3 minute efforts (one at 90% FTP, one at 87% MAP, one at 100% FTP) and then 3 short “sprints” at increasing intensities…All with relatively short recovery periods of 3 minutes.
Openers is similar, but a little less structured on the warmup build. Riding outdoor is just harder to adhere to a very structured ramp up. The main efforts also has one fewer- 1 x 3 minutes at 90% FTP, 1 x 2 min at 100% FTP and 3 x 30s at 95-100% of MAP. These short efforts are slightly lower intensity, but actually longer than in primers. And dare I say, you’re probably going to ride them harder than the prescribed intensity of MAP effort and more like sprints because you’re outdoors. The recovery periods are also longer in openers at 8 minutes. This gives you a little more recovery from the efforts since you may have had some hills in your terrain and you’ll most likely go over the power targets because you’re outside.
All in all, very similar and both prepare you for the same thing so use whichever is appropriate for your situation!


Thanks @Coach.Suzie.S

To date I’ve only ever used Primers prior to testing or an event, but on a couple of occasions I felt the 3min MAP effort was a bit too intense - maybe down to a bit of lingering fatigue in the legs.

This week I am using the FF prep plan as a taper week ahead of a race on Sunday and will try substituting Openers for Primers for a wee change.

I’ve had that feeling during Primers as well and think that it could mean one of two things- you’ve either rested too much, or not enough leading into it…usually it’s not enough and you’ve got a bit of lingering fatigue, as you mention. Knocking that 3 mins down won’t hurt your performance at all, but doing the Primers workout outdoors might also be a bit less strenuous than on the trainer too. At any rate, experiment based on what you feel you need and let us know what you discover. And good luck in your event!


Thank you. It’s only a local club fun event - until the start line! :smiling_imp:

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Don’t forget about Igniter. As they explain it’s perfect for Long Scream etc. :racehorse::fire::biking_man:t2::jigsaw::firecracker:

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Hey @Coach.Suzie.S I am wondering what your take is if we add the Phil Gaimon Openers to the mix. In terms of IF they’re nearly identical though with the longer MAP effort and the bigger sprint efforts at the end of Primers my NP ends up being a tad higher.

I’ve got a FF scheduled and normally do Primers before it. I quite enjoyed Phil’s Openers when I did it as a part of the AWWPG series and even made a note calling it Primers, with cookies :slight_smile:

Do you think one is better than the other for pre-testing or do you think they’re close enough that it just comes down to what I feel like riding on the day?


The IF for Primers and Phil Gaimon’s Openers are nearly the same, so you’re essentially getting the same amount of intensity/effort with both, though the efforts are shorter in Phil’s. Since you’ve done both, I recommend doing the one that you feel prepares you best. A little personal experimentation never hurts and you might find that Phil’s openers, or our outdoor Openers workout leaves your legs feeling a little better, or vice versa. There are many ways to skin a cat, and many ways to prep for FF. I think it comes down to whatever you feel is best!


Excellent! Thanks for the quick reply Dame @Coach.Suzie.S! It’s as I thought but I’ll leave the feline flaying to the experts :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: