The Shovel

Quick one!
Level or ERG mode for the Shovel?

Level mode means all all out for each interval, ERG targeting power targets of course.

Whats your take/best way for it? I have it coming up tomorrow =)


SUF says use ERG mode. You can read up on it here:

I say (not a coach!): Level mode. :slight_smile: Just do your best and try to hit the targets.

Maybe you should switch during the workout, try both out and see what’s right for you?


I Love “The Shovel” deffo ERG mode


It kills me on level mode. Haven’t had a chance to try it on ERG mode, yet. Try both, i guess. Not holding my breath for my next chance, tho. :stuck_out_tongue:


You can always switch back and forth too! I usually do it in ERG mode, but that depends on the trainer. If those shorter intervals give your trainer trouble in ERG, just switch to Level mode.


I prefer level mode for The Shovel - I like the workout and it plays to my strengths - so I tend to find I can exceed the targets by doing it in level mode. It’s also excellent practice at level mode/gearing.


Not to leave this one hanging…

I started The Shovel in ERG mode, but with my Kickr Snap it is very difficult to hit NM power targets while in ERG and I found in level mode it was more convenient. So, maybe for wheel-on smart trainers this one will be ERG/LvL (NM).

All in all, it killed me. I survived the first 23 intervals, then I had to really dig during the second session and by the final MAP-AC and NM targets I was in a dark place, had to take some extra rest (no more than 10 seconds) before attacking full gas again and again with the whole package: nausea, shakes, blurry vision. Anyways, very happy I did it.


I did the chores yesterday and my kickr (old school OG unit) had a hard time adapting to the rapid switches that were going on.

Is there a setting where you can lead in and lead out the change? I.e. have the app send the signal for the trainer to start increasing power 2-3 seconds before the interval kicks in? The ramps are generally easier. This morning, it took my kickr up to 5 seconds to get into the meat of some of the 40 second intervals.

Any option like this in the works? I believe zwift has a smoothing function or such.

Otherwise, I may have to start doing all the workouts like the above in level mode.

It’s really difficult to hold cadence steady as the resistance is actively fighting you on an older trainer.

Edit: Did things in the big ring today and it was actually better. Have also been ramping up cadence going into the interval so it doesn’t shock the kickr. A slight ramp up would still be good I think.

I just completed The Shovel for the first time. What a horrible workout, I contemplated stopping a number of times but kept going anyway. Started out in ERG up until the peak of the first shovel, where my trainer was having difficulty with the rapid changes in the sprints. So changed to level for those, then back to ERG.

Changed to level for all the next sprints intervals and the rest I did in ERG again.

According to my 4DP it’s supposed to be one of my strenghts, but man, did I suffer!


Hi all, Sufferfest newbie and first post on the forum. I did The Shovel for the first time, today. I was in ERG which was fine for all but the NM, which just became a ‘whoomp’ fest. I don’t think I got the benefit of the NM intervals and will try switching to Level next time for the NMs…


Late to the party but just finished The Shovel today. Loved the workout. Used ERG mode and was consistent in hitting all power targets but wasn’t “exactly exact” on all RPM goals. Never stopped pedaling though.


I have previously done Tool Shed, which includes the second set from The Shovel, but today I had my first go at The Shovel in its entirety.

I chose to do this in Level Mode because of the number intervals less than 30 seconds. I’m using an ANT+ connection to my Wahoo Kickr as it does not have the occasional dropped connections that I was getting with Bluetooth. But ANT+ does seem to have a problem in ERG Mode with occasional delays when there are sudden, significant changes in the power target, staying at a recovery intensity for a few seconds after the start of a MAP, AC or NM effort or hanging onto one of these targets when it should go to recovery. Level mode worked fine for this and I will probably do this for similar workouts in the future.

On another matter, I seem to recall reading somewhere that The Shovel gets its name from the resemblance of the power profile to the contour of a shovel. Having now completed the workout I would offer a possible second rationalization. When you are done, it feels like this is the tool that GvA has just whacked you over the head with!


ERG mode going strong right now as I’m going through 5 min recovery before second time 23 intervals… Wish me good luck

EDIT: Done. I like the fact that ERG prevent to overshoot, otherwise I would be “deadlier” at the end.

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When was the shovel changed? I just compared against my previous efforts and IF dropped from .94 to .89. What gives?

When did you last do the workout?

Has your profile changed in any way since then?

@Jason I think that is common and I get a slightly different IF each time I have done the workout. Note that Intensity Factor is calculated by dividing your Normalized Power by FTP.

Why are my IF and TSS different than the values in the app?.

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No I’m comparing an old Shovel with 111 planned TSS (as per Training Peaks SUF library - which I completed at 109 TSS @ 0.94 IF) with the latest Shovel on the SUF app which is planned TSS of 97 @0.89). The larger TSS version was ridden Dec 19.

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This is the current discription in the SUF training peaks library…

Was on my plan for today.

TP shows
Planned IF =.94, Actual IF =.93
Planned TSS = 111, Actual = 106

This is for the In-Season XC Plan - are you using the same plan as you did in December?

I don’t think that The Shovel targets have been changed, ever. It could be that the rider type used to determine the (old and likely not maintained) TrainingPeaks library numbers is different to that used these days by SUF. As it’s the kind of workout where your personal 4DP will have a big influence on IF/TSS (my stoopid 4DP gives me “target” IF 1 and TSS 124 for example) it’s probably not worth fretting over too much, Totally Silly Score and all that. Do it, see what you get. And if you don’t feel like you’ve been battered by several shovels and still care about the numbers then do it again :smiling_imp:

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