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How to use Workout Alternates

Workout Alternates are workout recommendations with a similar difficulty and workout profile as your original workout. It can be used to find workouts that are longer, shorter, or the same length as the original workout. Using Adaptive Training, Workout Alternates allow you to select a preferred difficulty in addition to choosing a duration. Difficulty levels are measured in comparison to your Progression Level for the workout’s training zone.

Workout Alternates is ideal for athletes on a training plan who find themselves with more or less time than expected to train.

How to use Workout Alternates in the Apps

Step 1. Launch TR and select your scheduled workout.

Note: you can also use Workout Alternates for any workout in the workout library.



Step 2. Select Alternates from the workout drawer to view a list of recommended workouts.



Step 3. Select the duration drop-down to find recommended workouts at different durations.

Note: Durations that are greyed out indicate that we don't have a recommended workout with a similar profile at that duration yet. We're in the process of building more workouts to fill these gaps.



Step 4. After choosing a new workout alternate, select Replace to swap out your old workout.



How to use Workout Alternates on the Web

Step 1. Navigate to Calendar and click on a workout you'd like to find an alternate for.Alternate_Workouts_1.png


Step 2. Below the workout select Alternates from the available options.Alternate_Workouts_3.png

Step 3. Under Alternates, select from the list of recommended workouts, or select the duration drop-down or Workout Difficulty drop-down to filter recommended alternatives suited to your needs.

Note: Durations or Workout Difficulties that are greyed out indicate that we don't have a recommended workout with a similar profile at that duration yet. We're in the process of building more workouts to fill these gaps.Alternate_Workouts_5.pngAlternate_Workouts_4.png

Step 4. Click on the Workout you want to replace, and click Replace to add your new workout to the Calendar.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why did Workout Alternates replace Workout Variants?

Adaptive Training’s Workout Levels revealed that workout variants were often misleading and were not as useful to athletes as they should have been. Workout Alternates fills the same role, in a more effective and useful way.

How are Workout Alternates different from the +/- versions of some workouts?

The +/- versions of many workouts offer variations on a workout’s length, intensity, and structure, but they aren’t consistent in how they change the difficulty from one workout to another. Workout Alternates are a much more granular and accurate way of finding similar workouts at adjusted durations and difficulties.

How do Workout Alternates know what workouts to recommend?

Workout Alternates suggests workouts from the same training zone and workout profile as your original workout. It also only recommends workouts similar in difficulty to your original workout, as measured by Workout Levels. Alternate workouts may have different TSS and IF than the original workout.

How do Workout Alternates judge a workout’s difficulty?

Workout Alternates use machine learning-derived workout levels to determine the relative difficulty of workouts. Workout Levels incorporate factors such as length, intensity, interval structure, and recovery time.

How is Workout Alternates different from TrainNow?

TrainNow helps athletes who are not on a training plan choose workouts to build their fitness as they go. Workout Alternates recommends workouts that are similar in difficulty and workout profile, but different in length, to workouts an athlete already has scheduled in their training plan. Workout alternates are available for unscheduled workouts and for TrainNow workouts, too, but the feature is most effective for athletes currently on a training plan who need to adjust their schedule.

How are Workout Alternates different from Adaptive Training?

Adaptive Training is a comprehensive system that uses data and machine learning to make you faster. Insights from Adaptive Training helped us understand workout difficulty and create Workout Alternates. You can use Alternates in conjunction with Adaptive Training to find longer, shorter, harder, or easier versions of scheduled workouts.

Why do Workout Alternates occasionally have no results for specific workouts and durations?

Workout Alternates always chooses a workout with the same workout profile and difficulty as your original workout. Some workout profiles include many workouts, while other profiles don’t have as many. If there are no other workouts of the appropriate difficulty level and duration available for Workout Alternates to choose from within a workout profile, no results will be shown.

Why are some durations grayed out in the dropdown menu?

If no workouts with the correct difficulty and workout profile exist at a given duration, that duration will be automatically unavailable in the dropdown menu.

Will Workout Alternates ever choose workouts from another training zone?

No. Workouts will only be recommended from within the same zone.

How can a workout be longer but still be the same difficulty as my original workout?

Difficulty (as measured by Workout Levels) incorporates many variables. A longer workout can be equal in difficulty to a shorter one if it is less intense, has shorter intervals, or allows for longer recovery periods.

Why do Workout Alternates have different TSS or IF than the original workout? Doesn’t that mean they are more (or less) difficult?

TSS and IF only tell part of the story. Workout Alternates judge workout difficulty by using Workout Levels, which go beyond what other metrics can express and more accurately reflect the difficulty of a workout.

Will selecting a workout alternate result in an Adaptation within Adaptive Training?

Completing an alternate workout affects your Progression Levels, the same way as completing any other scheduled or unscheduled workout. If your progression levels go up or down as a result of a completed Workout Alternate, you may have adaptations recommended to future workouts.

Can I use Workout Alternates to change a scheduled workout in the future?

Yes, but you might get recommended adaptations for the Workout Alternate. Workout Alternates is not intended to be used for long-term adjustments to your training plan. Instead, we recommend using it to find an alternate for a workout on the day it is scheduled.

When should I decide to utilize Workout Alternates? If I needed a harder or easier workout, wouldn't Adaptive Training already have suggested it to me?

Adaptive Training recommends the best workout for you each day, given your goals and abilities. But sometimes, you simply feel better or worse than expected, or your schedule changes at the last minute. Workout Alternates allow you to make these on-the-fly adjustments to your training.

Will the Workout Alternate ever change my workout from ‘Productive’ to ‘Achievable’ or ‘Stretch’?

By default, Workout Alternates recommends workouts within the same difficulty as the original workout. It will only recommend workouts of a different difficulty if you use the drop-down menu to choose this option.

When should I use Workout Alternates instead of TrainNow?

Workout alternates are best used when you have a scheduled workout but want to adjust the duration of your training while preserving your plan’s intended training effect for the day. TrainNow is better for choosing workouts when you don’t have one scheduled or when you’re not on a training plan.

Do Workout Alternates look at my progression levels when suggesting something similarly achievable, or the workout levels themselves?

Workout Alternates compare your progression levels to a workout’s level to determine how difficult the workout will be. It uses this categorization to organize recommendations.

How does the workout address the same energy systems if it is shorter or longer but equally difficult? Won’t the alternate workout have a different training effect?

Workout Alternates always choose workouts from within the same zone and workout profile, so the training effect of the planned workout is preserved as closely as possible. However, dramatically adjusting the duration can subtly change how a workout affects your body, so Workout Alternates at different durations aren’t exact substitutes for your original workout.

Do TrainNow workouts have Alternates?

Yes, anytime you view a workout’s details (including through TrainNow) you can access its Alternates.

Why can’t I apply a ‘longer’ or ‘harder’ alternate to my plan all at once?

Workout Alternates is intended as a way to adjust individual workouts as you go. We recognize the need for increased long-term training flexibility and are developing better options for that purpose.

Will you be served alternates for custom workouts?

Workout alternates are currently not available for custom workouts.

My workout alternate is much longer but the intervals look almost exactly the same, with more rest between. Why?

Intensity and duration are inversely related— when duration increases, intensity decreases to preserve the same difficulty, and vice-versa. Since your chosen workout is longer, longer recoveries reduce the intensity and balance out the difficulty.

How large is the range in difficulty variance that Workout Alternates will permit before not showing an available alternate?

If you don't see a Workout Alternate for a specific duration and Difficulty Level, we don't currently have a workout with that zone/profile combination at that Difficulty Level relative to your current Progressions Level.
We're working to add more workouts to our library to fill any of these gaps. In the meantime, we recommend adjusting the Difficulty Level or duration to find a suitable workout.

Why do some workouts show only a few alternates while others show dozens?

Some workout profiles include many workouts at different lengths and difficulties, while others include just a few. Workout Alternates always chooses workouts within the same profile as the original workout, and some combinations of duration and difficulty may only result in a few available workouts.

I’m on a Polarized Plan. Will Workout Alternates preserve my plan’s training intensity distribution?

Not necessarily. If you're on a Polarized Plan, your Alternates will only choose from other Polarized workouts. That said, this may change your plan’s overall intensity distribution slightly due to a change in interval duration.

How does this impact athletes with multi-sport plans? Are there Workout Alternates for run and swim activities as well?

Workout Alternates are currently only available for cycling workouts. Athletes on multi-sport plans can adjust their bike workouts with Workout Alternates, but their runs and swims won’t be affected.
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