"A Race" Peak in Plan Builder

I used Plan Builder to develop a plan for my club’s annual 20K time trial, which this year will occur on May 30.

For the Base phase, the plan calls for weekly TSS of 596, 663, and 685. Then a recovery week of 390. So far so good.

For the Build phase, the plan calls for weekly TSS of 556, 621, 628, with more intensity accompanied by lower volume. Then a recovery week of 334. Again, so far so good.

But then the Build continues with another “work” week of 580, followed by a recovery week of 343. Why a recovery week after just one “work” week?

It almost seems like my calendar calls for 6 weeks of Build, but the Build algorithm is stuck with a 3 week on / 1 week off cycle.

After this, we move to the Specialty phase, which is comprised of only the 2.5 weeks prior to my event. TSS for the first 2 weeks is 488 and 539, with 151 of TSS during the Tue-Thu leading up to my Saturday event. So quite easy as expected, though the Thu workout is Mount Baldy -3, which calls for 30 min (more than the duration of my 20K TT) spent at threshold. That seems like a lot to do 48 hours before my event.

My questions are: Why no “functional overreach” period that ends ~1 week before my event? I was always told that in order to execute an effective “peak,” you aim to have a final “work” week where you take your TSS up to as much as 150% of what you might normally do, and then in the week before your event, you take the volume way down and sprinkle in some intensity to recover but also retain some sharpness.

Does Plan Builder adopt a different philosophy to peaking? Or does it not really look to provide a “peak” as I’ve described?

My guess is the plan builder is shortening all the cycles but trying to keep the overall ratio’s intact. You’re cutting down a 28 week plan into 12 weeks, so the ratios make sense, and the recovery / normal / recovery is probably down to the algorithm always ending with a recovery week. You could probably drop that final recovery week and add another week from the specialty plan, but then you’re gonna be 4 hard weeks and recovery before your A event. The plans are progressively loading and then drop down during the taper week, so it’s not unique to plan builder.

As for the taper week, the plan is designed for a 40k TT, so Mount Baldy -3 makes sense in that regard. For a 20k TT you could swap out some of the taper workouts replace that with Cajon.

Yes, that seems to be how it worked for me.

I went ahead and tweaked things:

  • Base & Build: Increased work week/recovery week ratio from 3/1 to 4/1

  • Specialty: Increased difficulty of last week by swapping in an additional hard workout (i.e. to create functional overreach)

  • Event week: Dialed down the intensity for the 6 days leading up to my event, with just Muah (T-4), Pettit +1 (T-3) and Truuli (T-1) to sprinkle in just a bit of intensity to keep things sharp.

We’ll see how it goes!