Building your Training Plan with Indoor Cycling - TSS & IF

Building your Training Plan with Indoor Cycling - TSS & IF

January 02, 2017

Indoor training is a very effective way to make big performance gains, and spending around a third of your cycling time this winter on focused training will yield great results. 

If you have been to the studio you will by now have a good idea of your FTP score, and how we use it to construct workouts. If not, take a read of our getting started guide.

We want to introduce the concept of building your training programme around our sessions with some knowledge of TSS and IF scores. (See below of definitions)

As this is a more advanced blog we should start with our RED sessions. 

RED Sessions are the most complicated to understand as they could go one of two ways. 

1. A Short interval set might see you reach 135% of your FTP in short sprints, followed by short rests. Because they are no longer than 45mins sessions these would have a relatively low TSS score, but a high IF score. 

2. A real ride would probably see you ride at or slightly above your FTP score for maybe 40mins, and there would be little chance for a rest. Therefore these sessions would have a high TSS and High IF score

You would expect a lot of stress on the body in these sessions and you should think about a good recovery drink or meal, a solid warm down and stretch and be prepared to still feel the effects the next day. 

A BLUE session would make up the core of your training programme. These are so important we run them twice a week. 

An hour long session that we run in that beautiful sweet spot of just under threshold, with 3-4 rests in between. This builds your threshold meaning that with this kind of training you will be able to produce more power before lactic build up. TSS would be over 80 and possibly as high as 95. As we usually train to about 90% of FTP in these a High IF would describe long efforts with few rests, where as a low IF would describe shorter efforts and more rests. 

You should be able to recover from these overnight and be ok to ride the next day. 

A GREEN Session is the place to get started with a new fitness programme. Losing weight, building better form and technique and getting conditioned for regular riding and training. 

1. Committing to this session once a week, as well as long weekend ride will start to make a big difference if you have never formally trained before. 

2. Use these sessions with the following BLUE session to create a long workout with a High TSS but relatively low IF to build endurance. 

Alongside these group sessions you can use the studio any weekday between 10am and 4pm to construct your own training programme or take advantage of using our Smart Trainers with apps like Zwift. 


TTS - Training Stress Score

This describes how much workout will stress your body. It is based on your FTP score. A TSS of 100 would relate to riding at exactly your FTP score for 1 hour. Most of our sessions are one hour or less so we will never see a TSS over 100. However, this is possible if the workout is longer than an hour. A high TSS score would describe a workout with little rest, and ridden at close to or even over your FTP. 

IF - Intensity Factor

This describes how hard a workout will feel. It is a ratio of your Normalised Power (NP) to your FTP. Normalised Power is a way to describe an average power. A high IF will be associated with a long FTP workout with few breaks or a short workout well over FTP with lots of rest. A score of 1 would see your NP match your FTP. 

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