RPE for easy rides w/ maximal efforts

How do coaches guide their athletes with regards to their rating of perceived exertion for easy rides with maximal efforts?

For example, last week I was trying to build a critical power model so I had four rides where I rode at recover or endurance pace for the majority of the ride, but each of these rides has a maximal effort of some duration.

I like to note RPE but I was unsure of how I should rate these rides…overall or based on the fact that I was at my limit for a short period of time.


Good question, and I’m keen to see the responses for more experienced coaches.

For me, the session goal would drive the rating, so if “maximal efforts” is the session goal, then I would rate those efforts and ignore the endurance part of the workout. As you mention max efforts to build a critical power model, I would rate it accordingly (just the goal).

I have done, and prescribe 15x15 and 15x20 efforts, and want to see a hard start (as high as possible) then hold it at a level that is sustainable for all 15 intervals. Example would be to hit close to my peak 5s power, then average just above my 1m power for the balance of the 15-20s interval. Then repeat each interval every 2 minutes.

How I rate it (nothing below 7, as it’s meant to be hard:
7 (hard) - easier than expected
8 (very hard) - as expected
9 (extremely hard) - harder than expected
10 - (max effort) - if I feel like throwing up (happened once only, and something I’m not fond of, or perhaps only in a short Crit or TT).

1 Like

@fazel1010 I would score the RPE based on the part of the session that is your goal for that session.

1 Like

Agreed with @steveneal. I rate it based on the purpose of the session. So if you were absolutely pinned during your efforts, then that gets a 10/10.

1 Like

Awesome. Thank you all!