Thin Air is a completely different activity now

To be fair, the OP on this wasn’t complaining so much that it was too easy, in fact I believe they said they’d probably ride it more now. Their point was that the description of the workout no longer matches the workout profile itself. I think that’s a valid criticism.


@Glen.Coutts (post above deleted to make it a reply)

To be fair, the OP on this wasn’t complaining so much that it was too easy, in fact I believe they
said they’d probably ride it more now. Their point was that the description of the workout no
longer matches the workout profile itself. I think that’s a valid criticism."

That’s close to fair, but incomplete. Yes, I may ride it at its default levels more now than before. That doesn’t mean I like it better now. I don’t. …or that the issue is just the description. It isn’t. It just means I probably do sweetspot workouts more often than true threshold workouts, and SUF doesn’t have many workouts that are sweetspot by default.

But sweetspot workouts are easy to create by lowering any threshold workout or just watching some TV and pedaling. I don’t need an experienced coach or a motivational tool for that. A great threshold workout is harder to create, and prior expectations about it are also valuable to gauging progress and expectation of completion.

I think Heretic means using a lower gear in Erg mode which reduces flywheel inertia and makes it harder to get over the “deadspot” in the pedal stroke. Like riding up a real hill, when a moments let up brings you to a grinding halt.

digressing, but…

Reducing fly wheel inertia is not nearly enough though, and while it spins down more in the dead spot, the lower inertia also makes it relatively easier to spin back up. Even with no flywheel effect, at zero pedal speed there is no torque, but that’s drastically different than the situation on real hills. The Tacx Neo (no disclosures) has the capability to hold a steady torque, at least down to some minimum rpm, where most machines have torque that drops steadily with rpm, mimicking flat riding. However, that Tacx mode is not erg mode, and probably a bit clunky to integrate into a workout at present (I haven’t used it). I’m fairly sure that the main thing people associate with “hills” in trainers is simply doing high powers at low cadence, but you cannot say that 110% of ftp at 50 rpm corresponds to a 15% or whatever hill. You could handle it, by showing a different gradient to different people based on their actual power, weight, and some arbitrary lowest-gear assumptions, but I don’t think SUF/SYSTEM is doing that. Things evolve, and I could be wrong. Would they change the displayed gradient if you increased your cadence (while erg mode holds the power steady)? Or just show the gradient for the target setting? SUF is by its nature not a simulator.

Thin Air’s description has been amended to:

“Contrary to popular belief, there are greater improvement in your FTP that can be made in working below your FTP than there are in working above it.”


Thin Air’s description has been amended to:

“Contrary to popular belief, there are greater improvement in your FTP that can be made in working below your FTP than there are in working above it.”

Which is an admission that the original workout is simply gone and no longer available.

I think this statement is also not always true. It assumes that you can adopt an ideal training schedule and that gains are limited by the amount of productive training you can fit into an empty week. Real life is complicated and many people have training limited by that life, not by hours in a week and recovery, and that’s more true some weeks than others. I’d bet if you’re about to be off the bike for 4 or 5 days anyway, the harder ride is better. I’d be really surprised if this isn’t true.

I find it hard to believe that anyone would really agree that there is NEVER a reason a train at FTP. Another reason that surely exists is simply mental training, to really convince yourself of what you can do from time to time even if you aren’t actively racing, if nothing else than to just feel good proving to yourself that you can, which can be important. especially on some days.

To be fair Suf/SYSTM has always been tailored towards lower volume/higher intensity plans so I’m not sure that’s entirely true. As a single one off work out you’d get more training stimulus from it being supra threshold, rather than sub threshold. In the big picture you’re not going to get faster or fitter by one workout, but from an overall structured training plan. I suspect the change to this workout is to fill a gap in the available Suf workouts for a longer sub-threshold session which would be complimentary to other sessions, so overall more work can be done in a training week/block, rather than leaving most people tired after doing Thin Air as was. Again this is to fit with most people, and some people could may be handle the higher workout, and I’d guess if you’re one of those people an off the peg training plan might not suit as well as having a coach to push you the right amount.


I also have to wonder if this wisdom applies to people who aren’t well trained at all. I know slow people who ride slow a lot and they’re still slow, and I don’t think it’s genetic. I got into the sport late, and I got reasonably fast by riding fast (not even riding much). You reach a point where that doesn’t work, and then maybe that doesn’t work? But is it really true that it doesn’t work when you’re still well below your potential?

I think you nailed that last post. I have done the training plans too, but don’t usually, and usually have more dynamic needs than change with life and I know myself pretty well now. I suspect the new workout fits into the intended use in the plans just fine. But again, it’s easy to make a workout like that, on the spot even. It’s hard to make one like what TA used to be, so it’s a loss. You could call that opinion, but it’s in fact a loss to me.


Personally, I put my trust in the professionals who do this for a living and coach top athletes. And their plans and tweaks to workouts have made me a far stronger rider over the last 2 years.

Look at marathon training - 1-2 hard workouts a week and the rest is slow and steady. It really works and why would you not trust professional coaches? However, you have the option of bumping up your workout % if you want to go hard.



The idea that training plans for $12 or whatever a month is going to suit the needs of every kind of indoor cyclist, at every age, with every schedule, every experience, development, and knowledge level, and every goal set, at every time of year, is kind of amusing, but it’s great that it’s what you need. That’s not an argument for removing what others were using.

All of your points have been addressed in discussion above, including the problems with simply “bumping up” the workout. Simply “bumping” it does not produce what existed before.


@Still_D, maybe I missed it in some of your responses (tl;dr :wink: ) but have you found a way yet to make the individual adjustments to the four metrics to return TA to it’s former glory for yourself? Or, were the adjustments made to individual segments such that that would be too big a challenge. I think the likelihood of the SUF Scientists giving it back at this point is slim to nil.

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And again… very odd to propose that science of fairly limited set of training programs knows everything about my present situation all the time, or that I ever implied that anyone should kill themselves on every ride. I think equally odd to imply that doing so has no place on any indoor ride or that TA wasn’t unique in how it did it, but we discussed that a lot in the last day or so. I have also already discussed the quite obvious differences and downsides to the pro rides. They are nothing like the same. I’d suggest reading the thread.

No, it’s not possible without stopping mid ride to mouse around through the 4DP menus, or alternatively just using arrow keys at even more places to just manually set the value constantly, even worse. And of course that all requires hassling remembering how exactly you need to do that. If the keyboard arrow key preserved the relationship between the 4 power settings, then it would be fairly possible to predefine that and then only need one keyboard bump mid ride. Actually it is possible to fake that by changing your own 4DP profile pre ride, along with the midride bump, and then remembering to change it back. That’s hardly great either though.

P.S, why do you think it’s so crazy that they would address this still? In my experience the SUF team was quite responsive to user feedback, and the SYSTM app is clearly not even functionally complete yet.

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I might be missing something in how I’m reading your response, but are you saying that adjusting the individual metrics at the start of the workout doesn’t achieve what you are after,
e.g. NM 100% AC 105% MAP 110% FTP 115% or whatever your calculations were? And this is because the new changes were not made consistently through the workout? If so, I understand.

I don’t think it’s crazy, I just think it’s unlikely. I :100: agree the team has been super responsive and continues to be just that.

I’m just thinking that they’ve spent a yak ton of time reviewing user data, completion rates, times ridden, failure points etc etc to land on the adjustments they’ve made to a fair number of “classic” vids to try to bring the greatest benefit to the greatest number of users. I think Sir Neal said that Level mode is the “solution” (my emphasis, not his) for those that want to experience Classic mode for these workouts. I’m not saying the option wouldn’t be welcomed by some. I’m just not sure how many actually want it, or perhaps more importantly, how many would actually use it. While it wouldn’t be too difficult to offer a “vintage” set of unadjusted vids, I’m just doubtful they’ll do it. I’ve been wrong before :slight_smile:

I’ve still yet to do the new Thin Air, lol. Last time I rode it at :100: was Sep 2020, and that was the first time I’d EVER managed that after having ridden it 7 times prior. Since Sep 2020 I’ve done it a couple times as coach reduced endurance rides as per of Gravel Grind 200 plan before they had Inspiration vids.

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@Glen.Coutis, yes you got it. One fixed change to all the 4DP’s does not work, not even very close. A fixed change to the 4DPs at the start plus then moving those all together once at the 15 minute mark would get within a couple of percent, but that’s not possible without going back to the 4DP menu mid ride. The keyboard arrow keys wipe out the previous 4DP adjustments in the sense that all 4 levels get made the same as soon as you hit the keyboard adjustment.

Of course I can use level mode and do anything I want if I memorize all my targets, and remember them while busting a lung. While the discussions of alternatives have dominated this thread (and are appreciated), I’ve received about as many likes and or replies supporting the desire, particularly from those who were using the old TA and have tried the new one.

I’m quite skeptical that the “science” of low volume high intensity workouts for people with limited time has really changed. People talk about pros not killing themselves every day, but that training schedule was never about pros. I do think lower intensity will be more palatable for more people and palatable means they pay but also that they actually do it, which is a win for them. That means it’s better than not doing it (and SYSTM not getting their money). It doesn’t mean it’s better than going hard. Anyway, none of that requires taking away old workouts.


Anyway, I really was intending to avoid necessarily arguing the merits of high vs low intensity workouts. The fact is SYSTM has both. As people pointed out the pro rides are still quite high, which would seem to indicate that WAHOO doesn’t actually think that science has now made that useless. I just would like to have the old TA as still an option in that category, as it’s a very unique option that many appreciated for a long time, and is not replaced by the pro rides.


To rephrase what you said earlier about generic training plans, at best something such as SYSTM is based on population statistics. To the degree that a particular individual does not match the population studied, the workouts and plans are not going to be optimal for them. The reason why people use them is that they do not have the time or money to buy a customized training plan, and people who continue to use them must see sufficient progress.

Based on my experience with the new TA, I miss the old one because it worked well for what I wished to accomplish, but I guess I do not fit into the the population they are now modelling. I find that as well with my need for rest between intense sessions. They do maintain three different versions of Blender, so I am not sure why they could not have done that with TA.

As for the variation in life and goals, this is what Xert’s Adaptive Training Advisor attempts to fix. I am still undecided about how good a job it does.

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@Still_D I finally had a chance to check out the “revised” Thin Air. I think that you are correct. The targets are lower but I actually think that they are more accurate.

Generally I was in the range of 80 to 85% of FTP (with the exception of the sprints and where the power ramps up at the end). That is a range that is very similar to what I would do outside on a similar climb.

Overall I liked the workout and agree with you that I may repeat it more often when I get the chance.