Adding more endurance to high volume plans (using progression levels)

This is kind of a half-baked posting, mainly using it as a launching off point to develop an idea I’m brewing regarding adding more endurance to my plans. I’ve been thinking about the Wed/Fri easy endurance rides thrown into plans, and oftentimes I find them too easy and an opportunity to add more proper endurance work to plans. Anyhow, I’m kicking around the idea of how to do it, meaning if I want to stick with “achievable” endurance or do “productive” endurance for either or both the Wed and Fri rides. The goal of course is to maintain a balance of doable work that won’t affect the more difficult key workouts on Thurs and Sat. So for today, for example, instead of Obelisk, which is 1.0 and 28tss, I could substitute Boarstone, which would be productive at level 6.2 and 97tss. Of course, there’s always the weekend to do bigger rides, but most weekends doing stuff beyond the 2hrs I generally do is hard given family stuff

Ultimately I get that the current plan structures are favoring recovery but I think there’s some opportunity to do more productive z2 stuff without wiping you out for other workouts. I guess I’ll use this thread if I develop any thoughts on it, but anyone should feel free to throw in their thoughts.

Edit: I’m currently doing boarstone-1, thinking maybe I want to avoid endurance rides with any portions at 75% to maintain the balance between endurance and recovery

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Your body needs to recover. A 30tss day is way easier than a 90tss day. If you just want to ride lots, there’s nothing wrong w doing so. Just don’t be surprised when you have a lot of cumulative fatigue that you can’t shake (the reason will be bc of swapping out easy days for relatively harder ones)

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yes, it’s obvious the body needs to recover. But 2 days of 30tss might be too much recovery, in my opinion. I’m arguing there might be a better balance, like 90ish tss of endurance isn’t that much for me, of course it depends on the person and what they’re doing. And it might not be 90tss both days, I did 60tss on Wed instead of 30tss. anyway, I feel like there’s an alarmist tone to your post that burnout is inevitable

I would be careful with it, and if you are going to increase your riding on those days go longer at a properly easy pace.

Speaking from personal and very recent experience, I had the opportunity to pick up a bit more riding on my easy days this week and last, and the effect on my fatigue levels and ability to nail my harder sessions has hit me like a ton of bricks.

I usually (and would recommend over this in hindsight) increase my riding on my on days with endurance riding after my workout.

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I think you might need to go by your own personal experience on this one. 30 TSS wouldn’t even cover my commute round trip, let alone any workout I do, or pleasure riding, or running, etc.

But that is why I do the low volume plan. I do two of the three workouts, and the other 5 days I fill in myself.

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Yes I was implying that. TSS is tss, whether it comes from a very long easy ride or very short hard ride.

When make an easy day longer, it no longer is as easy of a day. Easy days do basically nothing for your fitness when your fitness is decent besides keep the legs moving and let you recover.

You should give it a try if you want, but if you goal is to increase strength and power, it is done from hard riding. Or very long endurance riding. Additional light / endurance riding while trading off would-be harder intense riding will not get you the same gains in the same timeframe.

Again, go for it if you want but understand there is a trade off with the decision (less freshness for your key intervals). That may be worth the while for you based on your preferences.

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I mean, I’m doing CX specialty (essentially this plan except Tues, Thurs and Sat get adapted Log In to TrainerRoad) so I’ve done plenty of high volume work and I’m not necessarily looking to make any gains in endurance at this point, it’s more about maintenance. Even with substituting more endurance this week, my TSB is only -3 at the moment, so if I’m strictly doing the Wed/Friday 30ish tss rides, I’d likely be a little too fresh all the time.

Doing “only” 8:15 per week, with 2 of those barely being zone 2, just seems too much on the easy side compared to other training I’ve done, and that’s coming from someone who tends to be a “stick to the plan” type person with AT.

I’ve recently been giving this type of thing some thought too. For context I use low volume plans and add endurance rides for the volume. I had initially planned out my training by progressing these endurance rides over the weeks from 60% FTP (close to recovery) to 75% (lower tempo).

I came to my senses and remembered that the intention of a Z2 endurance ride is not to ride at the edges of Z2. I have now set all of those rides to be right in the middle of Z2 (65% FTP). AT grades them as ‘Achievable’ however I don’t care to be honest as long as the are truly endurance rides. The crux of what I’m suggesting is look at the %FTP, not the AT levels. Hover around the 65% mark for your endurance rides.

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This would be my suggestion. There is no significant benefits to go closer to the edge of the zone. When it comes to Z2 duration is the king - so go easier but longer. And do whatever you feel you have strength for - if you feel you need to go easier, go easier. 0.65 and 0.7 IF will give you similar adaptations but the fatigue would be different. So basically I would go with RPE when it comes to intensity.

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This. I forgot to mention that I do progress the rides in duration at each training block. I started riding in January (after 22 years off but being a runner before cycling) and the additional endurance rides were only 1.0 hour long. Currently I have progressed them up to 2.0 hours and by the end of the year I’m planning for them to be 3.0 hours long.

Are you max’d out for time on your “workout” days?

Kind of, I work from home so I try to limit myself to 2hrs. On the rare occasion I do outside workouts there’ll be extra endurance thrown in due to the nature of being outside but I generally try to maintain a cap so Im able to do the other stuff I have going on

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HV plans have 4 ‘hard’ days (Tues/Thurs/Sat/Sun) and 2 ‘easy’ days, right?

Personally, I would lean towards making the hard days harder (add z2 on the end / increase workout length / extra intervals / increase interval length / whatever) before making the easy days more difficult. I have made the mistake in the past of not having 2 easy days a week and have learned my lesson.

Rhetorical question, can one have too much recovery??? I’d rather be over-recovered than the alternative, the result of a difficult lesson I only needed to experience once.

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Great chain and a topic i have also been pondering. I have done 5 years plus on trainerroad HV plans - fairly consistently doing 600-800tss a week. This included ~ 50 to 100tss on wed/fri but as easy days. I was nervous about the new plans (was worried they were too easy) but i have stuck with them through a build phase and they seem to be working well with my ftp going up and quicker than with more volume. We are currently in hard lockdown again in aust with a 5km cap outside so we cannot do any decent miles, but i have been able to do some 3hour zwift races at sustained high percentages of ftp, so i think the gains are real. Long answer is my experience has been i get more return by recovering well on the wed/fri and making sure the tues/thurs/sat/sun are hard as planned.

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I would say adding base aerobic training should always be done if you can fit it in.

I did 6 hours yesterday - but it was a mix of tempo and really quite easy but no coasting. Still also super well fuelled too as it will creep up on other efforts.

for anyone who cares, an update. I ended up with a couple of extra hours of endurance on top of my CX specialty HV plan last week, so 11hrs on the bike as opposed versus 8hrs scheduled by the plan. At the end of the weekend my TSB was -10, which is fine given my Mondays off so my TSB today is -1, and today I did my anaerobic workout (level 5, almost too easy) with an hour of really easy endurance under 60%

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