A La carte training plan, Am I kidding myself?

Hi folks, I’ll try to make this brief. Last year I did ssbmv1, and started 2, but ran into some serious health problems and had to bail. After a whirlwind of tests, we learned that I have CTEPH, and I got on some medicine that helps a lot. This let me ride MTB all summer, and I felt good enough that riding was fun, but I just couldn’t push myself too much. This fall, I had the first of what will be a series of balloon angioplasty procedures, and it made a huge difference. There’s more improvement to come, and I’m eager to get back into it. Hopefully next summer, I’ll see some of the gains that I was hoping to see last summer.

I’m hoping to do a few fun races this summer. Nothing too ambitious, and I don’t really care how I place. I just want to feel like I rode a good race. I’ve got to say, SSB was sooooo boring for me, and I’m kind of set on keeping most of my trainer rides at about 45 minutes, maybe an occasional 1 hour. So I’ve been mixing it up a bit, riding the trainer every other day, doing mostly vo2 workouts, sometimes sweet spot. I find these much more gratifying than lower intensity stuff, as I feel like if I’m cutting the total time, I have to make up for it in intensity. Furthermore, I think that it mimics the real world riding that I do much better than long duration sweet spot intervals.

I guess that my question is, am I missing out (badly) on something by ignoring lower intensity work. Should I still do an hour long endurance intensity ride now and then instead of a higher intensity workout?

So, you need to have a somewhat developed aerobic engine in order to make any real use of your sweet spot, threshold, or VO2 max systems. It is important to integrate some lower intensity work blocks into your training. I know you stated your goal was to feel like you “rode a good race”, and I would imagine having fun in these events is a goal as well. Riding well and gaining some enjoyment will be much more realistic with aerobic training.

Now, that can be done a few different ways. I, for one, love riding outdoors. I also really enjoy indoor riding. Partially because it is so efficient and totally effective. Nothing replaces the structure. So, I’ve taken steps to make my indoor training more fun. For example, I keep the TR app going in the background while I watch bike racing, Trainer road race analysis, among many other race analysis channels, and on weekends I may watch some other sports to mix things up. The bottom line, for me, is I have learned to really enjoy and look forward to my indoor training time because of these measures.

I think you can have a lot of success with some of these…Best luck and have fun

1 Like

for burn outs sake, yes, mix in some lower intensity. As you said though, with fewer hours on the trainer, you need to make them count. Make a mixed bag of tempo, tempo bursts, threshold, threshold bursts, vo2max, 30/30s, and even some sprints.

Different stimulus is really good, so don’t just do vo2max.

Good luck!


In my opinion (and personal experience), yes, yes you are missing out. If you focus mostly on VO2, you’ll eventually plateau. Your body will have adapted to that type of training stress and even if you did one or two more VO2 sessions away, you’re more likely to burnout than improve fitness.

Endurance rides allow you to train other muscles as well a introducing your own drills such as standing and cadence work.

Introducing endurance at least once into your weekly sessions should enable you to go into your VO2 work feeling fresh and you’ll reap the benefits.

Thanks everybody for your responses. Because of your input, tonight I did Birch, which is like Baxter, but only 45 minute. It felt like no effort at all so I bumped up the intensity a little so it felt like I was doing something.

So your still not doing the lower intensity stuff then? Why did you bump up the intensity of Birch which is a 50 to 80% aerobic ride? I just don’t understand why riders feel that they need to ride hard all the time.

1 Like

I would say just trust the plan regarding workouts. If you’re talking about every other day, just do low volume plans - basically missing the endurance rides, generally an hour (except for the saturday).

You could also look at your set up. Endurance rides with ERG, I watch TV - netflix/ eurosport/ YouTube/ standard Telly. Endurance rides where I don’t have ERG, I switch to podcasts and audio books. I have two screens set up in the pain cave - one with TR, one with the Entertainment. Those endurance rides are where you get through the likes of Narco’s with subtitles! :grinning:

Just so you understand, I think I only went up like 5 percent. With my embarrassingly low FTP, the highest power during this whole workout was like 118 watts. Sometimes I think that at a low FTP like I have (150), the curve of perceived effort is much steeper than for people with a higher threshold. For instance, 120 watts feels like nothing at all, but 140 takes real focus. If I do a ramp test, at the point I cross my threshold, I’m still feeling great, like I’m going to smash my last result, but I fall apart very quickly after that. Might also be because of the CTEPH.