[COMPLETED] - Please allow creating structured HR workouts

I love this feature. I started using TrainerDay for the slope feature (allowing me to construct training hills) but I have always wanted target heart rate training for the bulk of my training - allowing me to sit in zone 2 and have the app control the power. I would love to be able to create structured workouts based on heart rate: generally sit in zone 2, but with some sustained periods in zone 3 (or even 4) before relaxing back to zone 2: essentially long endurance intervals.

Hi Roger, thanks so much. Yes we always planned on that but wanted to start with this easier solution. I knew once this was working this request would come :slight_smile:

I am also wondering if people are excited to have auto switching to and from HR, so Z3 could be power or slope for example or even start z2 HR for 30-60 minutes then switch to higher intensity intervals.


I’d definitely use that: using HR to make sure that I am back in my recovery zone, and then using either slope or power for my interval. I’d use slope or power for a shorter Vo2Max/neuromuscular interval, but would prefer HR for a longer endurance interval. Lots of benefits of HR for me: less worried about a calibrated power meter, and the workout is effectively auto-adjusted for my fatigue because the power will adjust to match how hard I am working.

It’s funny because I am huge fan of HR base (especially Z2) training, and also a huge fan of slope mode and training by feel so I am 100% in agreement with your line of thinking :slight_smile: I would love to get this done before winter if we can get some other stuff completed first. It might take a few steps. Now that we see HR mode works well, it makes it less scary to tackle other parts of HR based training.


The HR targeting works well for a warm up, but it would be good to have a factor in the workout: how quickly and how much the power moves to affect the heart rate. It’s difficult because my HR reacts differently depending on how warmed up I am: at the beginning it is sluggish but give it 20 mins and it reacts well, both up and down.

Mine HR is the same but have not tested this feature enough. I kind of get it but can you explain what is the actual problem?

Sure, during the warm up, I tend to set my target HR lower. Once I am warmed up then I will raise the target. However, the power is very cautious in terms of adjusting to raise my heart rate and it can take 10 minutes because it stabilises again (even if I am just moving the target HR by 10-15 bpm). I’d like to be able to set it so that the power increases slightly more quickly in order to move my HR higher and then reduce gradually to find the stable point. I hope that this makes sense.

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Let me translate this into my thinking regarding how it works now and make sure I am on the same page. Generally you are saying during “interval changes,” I realize they are manual intervals now, changes too slowly but once in more steady state it works fine. If this is correct then it might be easy to make this change sooner and this would be a step required when we allow doing structured HR anyway. I need to test this more myself and I am sure I would understand it better.

So you open quick start, click on HR, press down a few times and then warmup. Then after X minutes you press the target up a few times and this part takes too long.

Yes - exactly. The adjustment to the power which the app makes in order to move my HR towards the target is too cautious for a workout. However, for a warm up it is perfect.


Ok joining the conversation because i just found this thread and the app for that matter. first thank you for doing this.

For over six years i have been pleading with the app companies to build this. We need a solid solution for “MAF based” 8-12 week base training and 6-10 week seasonal reser training as a lead up to polarized training. during Polarized build phases we need ftp based 1-2 times a week and hr limited 1-4 times a week endurance rides. Why? because athletes can’t control themseleves :slight_smile:

if this is the right place i can post some of the manual instructions that i gave people follow in the other trainng apps you are well over half way to the full solution. I’ve also got real world suggestions on how to manage the threhold and what errors in reaction time hurt the goal versus those that dont

I am big Maffetone fan so I love discussing this stuff. Very happy to hear your ideas. It’s funny because I am big low HR fan and it still took me 3 years to get this implemented. If you want to just chat 1:1 we can or talk as I said this is a big passion for me.

Hi @Ratz I’m the developer of another Indoor Training app (very soon to have direct integration with TrainerDay) and I’m interested to know more about your views and possibly the suggestion you had for the other training apps to get this HR Based Structured Workouts implemented as well. I’m always trying to see how the current implementation I have on my app can be more optimised as well.

If you’re interested to know how i did my current implementation, let me know… I’ve been fine-tuning it over the last 1year and have been using it a lot as I’ve found wonders on using the MAF method on running.

Please do share your thoughts / suggestions. I’m really excited to have inputs.

Technically, if it was easy, everyone would have solved it by now, so three years isn’t that long.

I’ll put the primer ideas down now and then come back to discuss; today is oddly overbooked with items that control the success of the coming week, so I don’t quite possess the time to do this correctly in one go.

First, some background. I have had the pleasure to work with and train a group of athletes in the 45-70-year-old range. During that time I progress myself from 45-54 after having started in the biking space at age 19. I have done the time-crunched athlete myth myself and coached others through it. I have watched person after person doing that approach; make incredible gains; experience margin success, and then crash and burn from injury or burn out many not to return… So I bring that bias, I am ok with that, it’s a demon I’ll have to fight like everyone. I also want quick, easy wins so the siren song of time crunch solutions is tempting… Fortunately, maturity has taught me to drop the ideal of “quickly” from my models and redefine what “easy” means so I can resist.

So what’s the driving goal of many people I work with? Simple, they want to ride or race bikes; I get both types. They all want to experience a more comfortable ride; they want to go fast outside, and they want to stay fit either competitively or for the sake of health. Oh, and if they see a bike in front of them, they want to chase that rabbit and show no pain as they pass them. It should sound familiar, and you all can fill in the blanks. Everyone one loves to talk while everyone else can only suck air.

When people stumble on me and the help I offer, they are all aerobic disasters; they have no base built because they train or ride in Tempo on group rides or are locked into the time crunch FTP chasing ego cycle.

So for myself and my circle, once I noticed this pattern I set about trying to find a better way to do it; and as luck would have it I found Phil Mafatone’s writings and decided he might just be onto something. So let’s test it! I lean towards a lab scientist any how (Engineer by wallet is my preference, you never know until you put it on the road). After a bunch of research and self-testing, we used this to coach up an over 50 mixed-gender RAAM relay team of four. Using this approach, they broke the record for a team of four. ((Granted they are also exceptional athletes to start with))

I modeled this success back to a structured training approach with those roots.

(Yes that opening is a mess because it discusses the past with the foresight of the future)

So on to it, first FTP everything is FTP. FTP is a blessing and a curse. It’s time to move beyond FTP and start thinking about Critical Power and specifically Critical Aerobic Power and Critical Anerobic Power. If you know your CAP(s), you know your abilities.

Failing back on MAF is the way to make this transition easier. Very few of us will go out and do the ventilatory testing to figure out what our Aerobic thresholds are, and we don’t have to if we are either (1) starting training off the couch, (2) already well-trained at the end of a season. In those cases, the formulas Phil put forth do work. Only the 3rd group of Time crunched “fit,” but unfit people will struggle because that’s not about training. It’s about ego and bro science.

Ok, so MAF first, let’s go with the most robust stance.

MAF_Basis = 180 - age

If you are severely detrained or currently sick, then

       MAF_Adjust1 = -10

MAF_Adjust1 = 0

If you take daily medicine that has a liver load (aka heart meds, allergy meds), then

      MAF_Adjust2 = -5

MAF_Adjust2 = 0

If MAF_Adjust1 + MAF_Adjust2 = 0 and you have been athletically training for three years plus without a significant injury, then.

     MAF_Adjust3 = +5

MAF_Adjust3 = 0

So with those in hand, we know that the final estimate that works for pretty much everyone is

MAF_Threshold_Estimate = MAF_Basis + MAF_Adjust1 + MAF_Adjust2 + MAF_Adjust3

Now you have your MAF_TE to work with.

And, of course, everyone in group three believes that (MAF_Basis + MAF_Adjust3) is them and that it’s too low. And reality shows that 90% of people are really (MAF_Basis - 15)

Ok, hopefully, you’re with me so far. That part was the easy part; here’s the part I will have time to cover today

Let’s look at how we’d use an existing training software with a similar name to TrainerDay and one with Volcanoes. In that software, we work with FTP, and for this exercise, during the BASE building phase, we will treat Critical Aerobic Power as FTP as displayed in those apps.

  1. Start with a Traditional base plan that is a low-volume or mid-volume plan in said software. One that’s 100% endurance riding with recovery weeks. Watch out for things that claim to be traditional-based but have tempo and other work in them for “variety”. Also, an Endurance ride is always >= 90 minutes. You will have to delete tempo work and find endurance work from prebuilt plans. (If you have a training-peaks account, you can get me to build your plans, and I’ll load one of many combinations for you, but really anyone can do it).

  2. If you are off the couch, guess your FTP and enter it into the software. If you are ending the season and rebuilding, take your current FTP and use FTP-15. If you are in Ego group 3, then just use your FTP and follow the rest of the rules and put the ego in the garage.

  3. Begin riding your first endurance ride. Complete the warm-up. Then 5 minutes after the warmup, If your measured HR is below MAF_TE, then increase the difficulty of the workout using the percentage gauge or equivalent mechanism.

  4. If your measure HR at any time is close to going over MAF_TE, then decrease difficulty. During the Peak parts of the workout, you want to be in the range of MAF_TE - 10 <= Measured HR <= MAF_TE -5 That’s the sweet spot for the peak of the workout. When building the workouts, we want at least 30 minutes total to be that intense. Never less that that; and sometimes a lot more minutes to put cardiac drift strain on the athlete. A workout that forces the person to keep lowering the difficulting to keep the HR in the zone; is not a bad workout; it’s an Endurance building workout. (((Important not to see those as failing because it’s not))) Overshooting MAF_TE is to be avoided at all costs. One minute over can derate the workout about 80% so don’t do it. Re-read this until you understand it Cardicate drift is going to happen lower the difficulty is HR training; it’s not a failure…

  5. Continue to adjust throughout the workout.

  6. After the workout is done, consider what your average % adjustment was that kept you just under MAF_TE

  7. Adjust your FTP estimate by that %. If step 6 felt like +6% then increase FTP +6% if step six felt like -20%, then set FTP to FTP_estimate * .8

  8. repeat starting at step 3 on the next ride.

By the end of 2 weeks, you should find that you have to do little to no adjustment, and you’ll be pretty close to an FTP that complies with your current Critical Aerobic Power base.

Finish the rest of the six to ten weeks on a traditional base. Six weeks if you are resetting after a season. Eight weeks if you are a recovering FTP junky, and ten if you are off the couch or trying to lose weight. During this time frame, you adhere to: MAF_TE - 10 <= Measured HR <= MAF_TE -5

If you have the time, you can loop through the base phase for as long as you like. Each loop-through will build more and more CAP. This is great for older folks or injury recovery. With the traditional software, you can watch your progress via CAP expressed as FTP. When FTP stops going up for an entire loop, then it’s time to move to Polarized no matter what.

Now credit where credit is due. TR’s AI FTP detection works spectacularly well at tracking your Aerobic FTP done as above and can avoid any testing to figure out when to increase your FTP-driven software to higher levels (makes for a heck of cross-check to your work). Almost makes their monthly subscription worth it just to pump the data into there for analysis. For a self-coached person, I would recommend that subscription over training peaks as you’d get more from it as an amateur, even if your primary app is Trainerday, zwift, or a host of others. Once someone implements HR structured training, you would not need that AI analysis or you could use it for validation of plan.

At the end of the Base phase, you will switch to a Polarized plan in 4-6 week blocks, where the final week is a proper recovery week. The build weeks will be. 1-2 Hard workouts each week. 1-3 Easy recovery rides in the 75-90 minute range. And 2 Longer Endurance rides. For best results, these will be 4 to 7 days per week of training. If we use traditional software, we will use their FTP measure to track Critical Anaerobic Power. Your Critical Aerobic power will be preserved by the two long endurance rides each week, and you can start stacking the two on top of one another.

If you do this correctly after eight weeks, you should find that historically championed SweetSpot workouts can be done around MAF_Basis+5. If you can’t, then your FTP as an expression of your Critical Anerobic Power is overstated.

At the risk of annoying some people. If your traditional FTP as defined by the old school is correct for your abilities, it should always be easy to do SweetSpot work at HR <= MAF_Basis (±5) on a rested day. If you can’t do a sweet spot at that HR level, then while you can test at an FTP higher than this level, you have no hope of holding your FTP for the true full 1 hour out on the road. Your Time to Exhaustion will be your limiter because your CAP(s) are incorrectly understood.

Ok, that’s a cut and paste of several things; I didn’t really get into how the Polarized stuff goes or why we need to have a “structured HR” workout and not just ride at in the MAF_TE zone the entire workout, or why Cardiac Drifting (Not Tokoya Drifing) workouts matter.

I think the first goal is to get the software to manage the Base Phase Limiters automatically. Once it can do that with good reliability, then digging in on the Endurance Structured rides becomes exciting beyond belief.

I can currently get an athlete to execute the above with Active Coaching; I would like to see it brought to a broader audience through software.

Edited for readability and to clarify a few things


Seeing your other post I just remembered I did not respond to this. My kids got sick and this was too deep for me to comprehend at the moment. I am going to do my best to digest it now, it’s pretty deep :slight_smile: but I really appreciate the time you took to explain in detail. Wish me luck :slight_smile:

To start with. I agree 110% with this and this is very good insight and great perspective. Dropping “quickly” is so, so important.

As a believer and convert to Maffetone 12 years ago, I just so much agree with everything you say and my personal experience aligns 100%.

It seems your experience as a coach aligns with Maffetone’s findings. I followed all the fb groups and was an early member and contributor of the original main maffetone forum back in the day.

I would love to take your writing here and simplify it a bit and make a blog post from it if you are willing. You could review. I would even love to put your profile/experience and even a link to your site if it helps you.

I am not sure if you ever watched my video. This is very simplified version of what you are saying (not about the low HR stuff but the rest) but I am also complaining about FTP.

Your suggestion that sweet spot should be easy +5 is very insightful. I would have assumed this but I never heard anyone state it so clearly.

This I would love to discuss further. This is exactly along my line of thinking “I think the first goal is to get the software to manage the Base Phase Limiters automatically.”

If you ever have time to hop on a call you can just PM me and we can figure it out. I am in Europe time zone.

Previously, it seemed almost no one wanted to listen to me about Zone 2, but now most seem open to it. I should start publishing more, including more videos as I have a lot of knowledge here but not even close to as much as yours :slight_smile:

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So what’s the driving goal of many people I work with? Simple, they want to ride or race bikes; I get both types. They all want to experience a more comfortable ride; they want to go fast outside, and they want to stay fit either competitively or for the sake of health. Oh, and if they see a bike in front of them, they want to chase that rabbit and show no pain as they pass them. It should sound familiar, and you all can fill in the blanks. Everyone one loves to talk while everyone else can only suck air.

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I’m personally getting huge gains at the moment using HR targeted workouts: just sitting around Z2. That alone shows what I was missing from my training. I’m trying out a TT tomorrow, but an indicative outdoor 90km ride on Sunday was strong, so much more of the energy “well” to draw from: I could keep a high tempo up, and then keep punching and recovering. In short: more fun.
My son also started doing some low intensity workouts, much lower than he would normally and last night be blitzed his zwift road race, with an increase in power across his entire power curve. He also felt really good afterwards and not a wreck. It takes patience this approach but the gains are real, much less chance of an injury, and I can feel less drained off the bike, so it fits better into my lifestyle.


Sounds like a grand idea… as do the rest of those thoughts and sentiments and experiences mirror min, 7+ years of hey slow the heck down, eat better, and stop spending your money on aero and buy bigger tires… Nobody listen so we just start buying stuff and trying stuff and then pointing at the results we got versus all the crash and burn they got… but then that covid thing happened and everyone got fat…

. Off to the office I go it’s 8:45am here and I’m late (but I own the joint so at least I won’t get yelled at) I’ll


I went through my first ride after work today using the HR control using the Quick Ride feature and I was thrilled with how well it worked. It did just what I wanted it to do.

How can I control the time of the ride though? Is Quick Ride the only way to do a HR controlled ride? If I check the extended cool down box in the options is that a way to go longer than the 60 minute Quick Ride duration?

I completed a Zwift ramp power test on Saturday and failed during the 300 watt portion. It gave me an FTP of 212. My new zone 2 using the Coggan zones then is 117-159 watts.

As you can see in the screen capture I’m running roughly 1:1 HR to power so if I want to hold 127 bpm HR I average about 123 watts. I can do that ride daily without building up much fatigue.

If I try to hold 159 watts for an hour I’m going to end up fatigued. Has Zwift given me a “vanity FTP”? I could go through and do a true 30 or 60 minute FTP effort, but those tests make you suffer and I’m not really motivated enough to want to go through that right now. I just want to build up my aerobic base.