Advice: Increasing volume with AT

Hi all,

I joined the AT open beta as part of the one week free trial. I was extremely excited to join as my involvement with my coach had fizzled out and I was keen to see what AT would recommend for training.

I come from a training history of 12 - 15 hours per week / 700-900 TSS (4.8wkg). Historically, my workout schedule would look like:
M - Recovery / Rest
T - Intervals (2 hours)
W - Endurance (2 hours)
T - Internal (2 hours)
F - Recovery
S - Intervals + Free Ride (4 hours)
S - Endurance (3 hours)

As such, I chose the high volume training plan, however, it only provided me with weekly volume of 9 hours / 500-600 TSS. I tried to choose alternate workouts to bump up my volume but the options appeared limited - E.g. I could only increase the suggested Wednesday workout from 60 → 90 minutes, rather than 120 minutes.

I was a bit put off by this initially but as I’m coming off a three-week offseason I’m keen to look back into it. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to increase my weekly volume if AT is giving me a ceiling that’s less than my usual volume?

AFAIK, considering your weekly training volume and TSS, you can’t do that within AT right now. That’s because, as you saw, even workout alternates are limited and AT suggested adaptations will fall within the boundaries set by the plan. However, the TR guys on the podcast have mentioned that in the future AT will help with increasing volume outside the limits set by the plans.

The solution I can think of is choosing workouts the old way, from here: Log In to TrainerRoad, where you can filter by all the different parameters including difficulty, which is rated by AT and based on your progressions levels.

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I think there’s a few reasons why TR High Volume plans tend to top out at ~10 hours when pros and quite a few amateur racers are doing anything up to double that or more. One is that TR’s roots are as an indoor training platform, and the population of athletes who will stick to an indoor plan of >10 hours is vanishingly small, as is the number who will regularly ride for >2 hours indoors. Another is that a lot of the athletes doing that kind of volume will either have their own coach and/or will have enough experience to be modifying and developing their own plans, so aren’t necessarily the target audience for a TR plan. A third is that anybody doing >10 hours/week is going to be doing an increasingly high proportion of Z2 and easy riding, and I don’t think that kind of riding needs to be particularly structured. If I’m going out for a 2+ hour endurance ride whether indoors or outdoors then I don’t feel it adds much if any value to be chasing specific power numbers instead of just staying within a power band, or having a power (and maybe HR) cap.

All of which is to say that I think the TR plans primary purpose is to prescribe the core quality, structured work you need to do each week. And if you have the time and desire to do more volume than that, the best way to add volume is adding more Z2 and easy riding. Either by adding in extra Z2 after you’ve done the scheduled quality work prescribed for that ride, or by simply going and doing long outdoor rides at the weekend. Your historic Saturday rides are a great example of this. E.g. if TR schedules a 2 hour workout on a Saturday that includes 3 x 20’ of sweetspot intervals, then you can simply just go for a 4 hour ride and incorporate those intervals into your ride. Either get them all done in the first 2 hours and then just ride for the rest of it. Or if the terrain suits then I don’t think there’s any harm in spreading them out a bit more e.g. do your intervals when you’re on a longer climb or long section of flattish road and therefore have a good chance of being able to do sustained power without getting interrupted.