I’ve used TR for 3 years and always done the mid-vol (MV) plans. I really like them but the high frequency of intense workouts might be causing me to get run down around early March each year. I’ve seen discussions about TR intensity as “too much” for those of us over 50. Whether that’s a major factor or not, I’m considering either a low-vol (LV) plan or altering the MV plan. I need some advice on which way to go.
Should I try the LV plan (with additional zone 1 or 2 long rides if feeling good)?
Should I do the MV plan and drop a day. If so, what day do I drop?
I’m leaning toward option 1, the LV plan. I start TR on Dec 1.
The difference this year is that I might compete in my first ever cycling race, a 4-weekend crit series in April. Gulp. I want to be prepared but feel like “backing off” for the first time is the opposite of what I should be doing with my first race series coming up. Otherwise I just spend my summers going after KOMs and dorking around.
I know this will sound dumb but the LV plan makes me cringe because I don’t want to do less mileage (I typically do 5k-6k per year). Only 3-4 hours per week seems like so darn little! The extra time afforded by the 3x week LV plan would be fantastic but I can manage more hours. However, this is probably about the intensity vs mileage. Last year I did a high vol base plan in Dec. It was too much time on the bike but I like the idea of some base training, too.
Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
So if mid vol runs you down in March and then you’re racing 4 weeks later in April, I think the answer is fairly clear…?
Go low volume, adding Z2 sessions where you can . I wouldn’t add any more sweet spot than is in the low volume. Always better to do less (consistently) than more (infrequently).
Best of luck!
always better to be over-rested than over-trained… Fresh is fast!
This can make TR somewhat challenging for self-coached athletes. First off, go with your gut, you don’t want to drop overall number of hours per week. Then it’s a ‘simple’ matter of deciding on an approach. FWIW this is a solved problem if you are open to using an off-the-shelf plan from a coaching company.
I am in the same boat…just older, 61. Last year I pushed 4 days a week by picking low volume and added in 1 extra day which for me was either long endurance or low end sweet spot but longer intervals ie 20-30 minute intervals for 90 minutes total workout time. I found I dragged when I got into May…my second shot of the covid vaccine just seemed to drain me for quite a while as well. So a bunch of factors led to lower FTP over the year but I was a lot stronger on endurance rides of 3-4 hours.
The prior year I did LV with 1 extra endurance ride. That worked fairly well.
I played with Plan Builder in Oct and took a MV this year and dropped the easiest ride but then realized it still is too much intensity especially for build. Four workouts - 2 VO2, 1 threshold and 1 sweetspot for build. I cant sustain that type of build.
So I tweaked the base plan to 2 days intensity and 2 days of endurance. At the same time I added in 2 days of strength work on the days of my intensity rides. I just did my FTP test today and had a 6% bump in FTP with my first 6 weeks of base. I still feel fresh and not worn out so it has been sustainable so far.
My thinking is 2 days of intensity and 2 days of endurance is all I need for now and will add in another day of endurance in the spring. I am not following a TR plan per say but do use the workouts. I find I change too many items to let AT make sense.
I was wondering how to add strength to base without paying the price physically and how to time the lifting with the workouts. So did you do the intensity ride then lift after it? On the podcast it seems like that was the suggestion. Do you lift heavy?
Has anyone following this done a similar plan? I was thinking of doing low vol during SSB1 and adding Z2 ride on Sunday.
I have done exactly that in the past.
For me strength training is new with cycling. It definitely took time to adapt to with cycling. I do an intensity ride first. Strength training is some hours later. I have worked more on form first then increasing weight. I understand the theory of lifting heavy but for me it is not a consideration. Various health issues I have just make heavy lifting not safe at this point or likely ever.
I’m curious if you’ve used AT at all? I wonder if you’ll see suggested adaptations that keep you fresh rather than feeling tired come March.
All through the summer and fall I was riding outside and blew off TR workouts (the weather was simply too nice!). I’m finally back into the swing of a plan and even though I’m only two-weeks in, I’m finding AT to be really good so far. If I peg a workout as feeling “Moderate,” adaptive training suggests a bump-up in my next workout in that energy zone. Today I finally had one I pegged as “Hard” and there were no suggested adaptations. Admittedly, this is an almost uselessly short window of data, but I’m encouraged that my progression will be more measured and sustainable, and in turn, my training more consistent.
You already gave the right answer: start with a LV plan and pad it with Z2 workouts as you see fit. Listen to your body and prioritize consistency over being able to push yourself for one workout one day.
Thank you to everyone for the feedback. My “gut,” so to speak, is telling me to give the LV plan a try. This seems to be in line with what most of you are suggesting. The LV plan is not only to avoid breaking down in March but because it’s different from what I’ve done. It feels better to add a day than to nix workouts and decrease intensity.
This is a great question. No, I have yet to try AT but am really looking forward to it. I take Nov off and plan to renew TR in Dec. It’s the thing I’m most excited about.
Also this. I didn’t mention it but I hope to do more core and strength training this winter. The LV plan might better fit with that . . . if I can just be consistent with the strength training!
After two years of “this year I’m going to do some strength training” and not, I’m trying something new this year: accountability. I have a standing gym session 1x a week w a friend. Me I’ll let down, but not my friend. I’ve also signed up for a 6-month session w a small gym that has a trainer and group classes to get some education (proper technique, ideas, etc…) and some motivation. So far, so good.
And yes, the LV plan makes it so much easier be consistent with my bike training while also working in to each week strength sessions, a run or two, and xc skis when the snow flies and outside rides come spring.
I love the accountability idea. And it’s less expensive than a trainer