Adding endurance to low-volume SSB1

Hi guys!

I’m currently a TR user since November 2020. Started cycling in March 2020. Have been enjoying TrainerRoad a lot but I would like to improve more. Since 1 to 2 years I am stuck around 200-215 FTP (3.8-4 W/kg).

My current trainerschedule looked like this: 3x cycling each week, 3x swimming and around 1x strength per week.

I’ve decided that I would like to focus more on the cycling part than the swimming part in order to improve more. This summer I have not been swimming, just cycling and I was adding some more strength training in my schedule (mainly core and arms).

I’m now in a rest week and finished SSB1 low volume. So from next week on I am starting SSB2 low volume. I am struggling a bit on how to add endurance to my schedule.

This summer this is what my trainerschedule looked like (in terms of hours and TSS).
SSB1 low volume:

Week 1:
TSS = 403 (high intensity workouts = 262 TSS)
Duration = 8:31

Week 2:
TSS = 462 (high intensity workouts = 280 TSS)
Duration = 10:01

Week 3:
TSS = 454 (high intensity workouts = 216 TSS)
Duration = 12:19

Week 4:
TSS = 563 (high intensity workouts = 339 TSS)
Duration = 13:52

Week 5:
TSS = 504 (high intensity workouts = 325 TSS)
Duration = 10:36

I just did what I felt like and thought adding endurance rides to my schedule would help in improving my FTP and base. I do feel like I have become better in the low Z2 rides (i.e. I can maintain a higher power output with a lower HR, however my FTP hasn’t improved if any at all over the summer).

Before summer my average TSS was about 250-400 and I was in the saddle not longer than 6:30 hours per week. It was usually around 5 hours per week.

I am struggling how to move on from now. I would like to add more volume to my plan, but I would like to do that in a consistent and safely manner (I noticed that my left knee was tired/a little bit painful just after finishing my workout. It is a good thing I guess then that I have a rest week now!

Do you guys have any suggestions? I have been looking on the internet, but I was thinking what about 400-500 TSS per week? In the TR app I came up with the following schedule:

Week 1:
Overall TSS = 400
TSS (high intensity) = 236
TSS (endurance, Z1/2) = 164
Duration = 8:45

Week 2:
Overall TSS = 413
TSS (high intensity) = 241
TSS (endurance, Z1/2) = 172
Duration = 9:00

Week 3:
Overall TSS = 432
TSS (high intensity) = 248
TSS (endurance, Z1/2) = 184
Duration = 9:30

Week 4:
Overall TSS = 463
TSS (high intensity) = 262
TSS (endurance, Z1/2) = 201
Duration = 10:15

Week 5:
Overall TSS = 479
TSS (high intensity) = 258
TSS (endurance, Z1/2) = 221
Duration = 11:00

The TSS of the intensity workouts is determined by TrainerRoad and the duration of the intensity sessions is 3:30 in total and for the endurance workouts, I searched for workouts in TR that were in line with getting a total of 400-500 TSS per week. Moreover, I increased the TSS of the endurance workouts with 5-10% each week.

Does this trainerschedule seem okay? Btw, I have one day of complete rest off the bike. I may do some easy swimming then.

When I get to the build phase, I guess it would make sense to decrease my volume a bit. Do you do that as well? And how should I do that? Should I decrease my endurance TSS with some percentage or my training hours?

And how do you do that with the specialty phase?

Thanks in advance!

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Are you basing your FTP stagnation claim on AI FTP report? Or are you doing one of the FTP tests? I could see AI FTP not raising you much at all in SSB.

Anecdotally, I’ve been able to raise my ftp after completing base, but only to levels I’ve been in past seasons. New highs have required build plans.

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Hey there!

It looks like you’re on the right track when it comes to adding volume to your existing plan. As you said, you’ll want to increase your volume gradually. I took a look at your TR Calendar and it seems good!

Another suggestion could be to stretch out your weekend rides (or whichever day of the week you happen to have the most free time) past the 2-3hr range once you’ve built that volume up.

You could also add some extra low-intensity time to your interval workout days. A lot of athletes will often do their prescribed workout and then continue to ride for a bit longer at endurance pace to get some extra time in.

The most important thing to keep in mind is to not do too much too fast! The volume/TSS increases you posted look nice and sustainable, so make sure to ease into that extra time on the bike as you’re planning to do. Be mindful of how your body responds to the added work – if you start to feel overly fatigued, you may want to back things off again.

Here is a good article we have on this topic that you might find useful:

Hope this helps! Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions.

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Yes I am only using AI FTP now. Before it was available on TR I only did the ramp tests.

Ah I see, I’ll wait until I finish the build plan and will then see if I will have an increase in FTP. It may also help that I have planned more volume this year compared to before

Hi! Thank you for your response and it definitely helps!

Yes I think I will definitely see whether I can add some more volume over my weekend rides. I used to have quite some back pain, but with my new bike it seems to be almost completely gone :wink:

When I look at my schedule on the weekends now I have a 1hr30min intensity ride, when I’m cycling outside, I usually add another 30min of low-intensity. In addition, I have a 2-3hr endurance ride.

Since it takes a little while before I’ve built up the volume, should I put in the same amount of time for the endurance rides during the build phase as in the base phase?

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Nice, glad to hear your back pain is improving!

Sounds like you’re on the right track with adding a little bit of low-intensity to your rides when you have the time to do so.

When you get to your build phase, I think it would still be helpful to have at least one longer ride per week if you can manage it! The intensity of your workouts will increase, though, so make sure to check in with how your body is handling the extra stress and feel free to dial the hours back if needed to deal with the intensity.