Some work outs seem impossible some seem just hard

I am confused. I did the 4dp and started the general road program I’m in the 4th week. Some workouts like tool shed seem impossible and some like revolver seem perfect. I did too shed on Monday and collaspsed after the 4 interval in the shovel, dropped it to 90% collapsed again after two more intervals, dropped it to 80% and was able to complete the rest of the intervals. today I did the revolver and completed it at 100% and never felt like I was going to die. Is this normal???


@Gordo62 That is normal — I have had similar experiences. As an example, my first time riding Violator. I didn’t finish and laid on the floor a while wondering if I was going to be ok. Now I can complete it and at much higher numbers than before. Take notes after your sessions so you can better prepare yourself for the next time you encounter the video.


just seems weird that you would design a program where it is very likely that you couldn’t even come close to finishing a work out. it is very de-motivating.

@Gordo62 Check out this thread - including David McQuillen’s quote:

Hang in there. Some of these workouts are tough - even for those who have been on the platform for a while. However, there is no doubt that you will master them if you stay focused.


I get it…its a goal to try and meet. its just a different way of thinking I guess…one might think that having the work in week 4 of a 12 week plan where even the instructions say that if you can complete it you should redo your 4DP it might make sense to automatically reduce the power so that a newbie like me could finish it with out creating all this self doubt.

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There are some workouts that are almost designed for us to fail - Nine Hammers is one, and Tool Shed (with that evil ninth hammer in there) is another.

There seems to be a general acceptance that the ninth hammer in 9H on fresh 4DP numbers should be basically impossible to complete.

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I think it would be impossible to design a program that everyone would be able to complete every time and provide the necessary training stimulus.

We all have different strengths and weaknesses and we all have good and bad days. So whenever we are set a challenging workout there is always a chance that we may not be able to complete it. If the workout happens to play to our strengths and we are in top form we may well smash it. But on a bad day or if it exposes our weaknesses we may well not make it through.

I get through maybe 90% of the workouts at full intensity, but there are always some that I don’t quite survive. Nine hammers, Toolshed mashup come to mind! But I always give every workout my best shot on the day and probably get the intended training stimulus anyway. I would only worry if I was failing to complete many workouts or easier sessions in my plan.

To put it another way, if we were able to complete every session at 100% intensity then it would probably be too easy! Sometimes we have to find out our limits and some workouts are designed to do exactly that.


" Sometimes You’re The Hammer, Sometimes You’re The Nail"

Some how Nine Nails does not have the same ring to it.

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What if they’re nine inch nails, and you end up doing the Downward Spiral?


I have not done The Downward Spiral in a while, but I seem to recall more than 9 nails in that one. 14 Vise Grips, which I also have not done in a while, is on for tomorrow. It is supposed to the same sort of workout.

I did 14 Vise Grips a couple of days ago on fresh 4DP numbers. It was doable for me on that day. I don’t think I would have been able to finish 9H or Tool Shed though.

I have done 9H twice (technically three times, but I did not do the nuclear ToS), but never with fresh numbers. I am going to do it again next week.

I have done the Tool Shed only once, awhile ago.

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I think the workouts we fail at are highly individualized. For me, The Toolshed is enjoyable even with failing Hammer 9 on fresh numbers. The Omnium, I absolutely dread and have never successfully completed. Even with old numbers.


This is definitely a key factor. There are a couple workouts (9H) that almost everyone finds extremely difficult, but there are many others that are difficult for certain types of riders but not others.

For instance, I’ve always loved Defender and put out top power numbers on it and always love to see it come up in my plans. But, I’ve seen a number of other users for whom Defender is a nemesis workout they can barely complete.

For me, The Shovel is extremely difficult. But I rarely see anyone else complain about it being particularly hard.

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My theory is that I fail to push hard enough during the 5 minute effort in FF, and I have too much left for the 20 minute effort. It’s not a plan to save something – I guess I just need to work on the mental aspect. My FTP is overstated and my MAP is too low.

This means that MAP workouts with nice recoveries are relatively easy. FTP workouts are too hard. This includes the parts of the Shovel where you have an FTP-based interval followed by a very short recovery. It’s my own fault. I could attempt to fix it by doing HM.

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Overcoming self doubt is art of the program. Some days you get the bear, and some days the bear gets you. On occasion you will fail. You have to trust the process and admittedly be willing to take the suffering as a good thing. Keep at it. Look at the MTP plan for positive thinking tips.


Hi @Gordo62.
I moved this topic into the Training category.

You could simply tweak your MAP and FTP numbers to compensate, making your workout targets more balanced. HM also a good shout to get an alternative view of your MAP vs FTP levels.

Agreed. I’m getting better at this. I do go into some workouts that I know are tough with doubts, but I’m finding I can now talk myself past those doubts into at least giving the workout my best shot.


Sounds like me when I first started in January.
Just did Fight Club in Level Mode. About half way through thinking this is getting hard. The last half I had to really concentrate to hit the targets or get close.