Am I wasting my time with traditional base 1?

I injured my knee and stopped training for a month.

I recently started mid volume 1 and while it was tiring the first week, it has become kind of easy. I did all week of virginia and only the first half of the workout was sort of difficult.

My muscles did not ache like after doing fletcher.

Am I benefiting at all?

You need to consider what “benefit” you need right now.

  1. rehab and forming good habits on the bike
  2. fitness

You can do a bit of both, obviously, but one should be the priority.

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I did traditional base MV 1, 2 and 3 after my peak in September 2018. I went from a natural regression post season FTP of 250 (high was 265) to a 287 FTP at the end. It’s starts getting taxing in TB 2, and really in TB 3.

So definitely wasn’t a waste for me, but I’m on a Base-Build-Base-Build-Specialty progression.


I’m in no rush to build fitness.

I want to be at peak around june-july.

I find I burn out too quick once i start doing vo2max workouts. I also get sick and injured. So i figured doing traditional base was a good idea. But am I building anything if the workouts aren’t challenging?

Just increase intensity 2-5% if it’s too easy. If you find you have to increase intensity for every workout and/or higher than 5% then manually adjust your FTP 2-5% up . Keep in mind the intention of the workout (IF) and duration. An IF of 0.60 shouldn’t feel hard.

Most important thing to realize. They cap at 0.67, so you should not feel whipped in these. It’s a long and easy base program for a reason. The question is if it fits your direction and timing.

Anything above 0.8 I have a hard time recovering from.

I just feel horrible the next day.

I found my biggest struggle with TB 1 was with boredom, lol.

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TB1 is intended to target the aerobic system without adding too much intensity and TSS.

Based on your comments above, sounds like higher intensity stuff may be a weakness to improve on? Maybe try adding one VO2 max workout a week to TB1?

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I was off the bike for 2 months after suffering severe knee tendinopathy. I did two weeks of short (30 min) recovery level workouts being hyper vigilent for pain in my knee. My first ramp test put my FTP at 155. I did traditional base one, and the following ramp had my ftp jump to 277. Currently finishing up Traditional Base 2 low volume. My knee is pretty much recovered. I plan to move to SSB1 after this.
As an aside, if you read Phil Maffetone’s stuff, he recommends aerobic training at fairly low heartrates eg: 180-your age. That pace is easy. I my experiment of one, this has made a big difference in my FTP.

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Yeah, TB2 was quite eye openingly hard for me. Didn’t seem hard during the first few workouts but you really dig a fatigue hole by the end.

I would look the other way - it isn’t trouble doing the high intensity stuff, but trouble recovering from them. That screams “build your aerobic base” to me. Now, doing regular VO2 max workouts does build your aerobic base for the same reason - you are relying on it to recover, pushing it harder, and it adapts - but in the situation described where the aerobic energy system is far enough behind that the high intensity stuff is causing overtraining (which is to say… lack of recovery and burn out), then doing just aerobic conditioning makes a lot of sense.

Then when you start doing VO2 max workouts again, they are going to feel pretty hard because they haven’t been trained recently, but recovering between intervals and between workouts should go a whole lot better.

I wouldn’t say this is necessarily true, a long base ride on the trainer (2.5+ hours) isn’t necessarily easy, especially is endurance is a weakness. I would actually say the opposite, that if you’re not starting to get fatigued towards the end of the workouts (particularly in the later weeks) you’re probably going too easy.

I think a big reason people don’t think Z2 is effective training time is because they go out and ride pretty easily but also somewhat stochastically w/ lots of breaks and give there Aerobic system lots of recovery. If you’re not on the trainer than you really need to find a pretty flat or gently rolling area to do these rides so you can stay within +/- 10watts of what the overall ride average should be. Additionally, you should be aiming to either push up the watts you can do over the duration or extend the duration.

Of course it is relative. But generally speaking I think people see the 0.85 IF workouts are “harder” than the long and steady ones at Endurance pace.

I can attest to the fact that 4+ hours at Z2 can cause some serious distress to the body. My long trainer days in my 80/20 experiment left me with DOMS following those long ones. Something I don’t experience in general, even after most “hard” workouts. I don’t think most people can (or choose) to tolerate 2+ hours on the trainer for a variety of reason.

So, yes, they are “hard” but it’s a different type to what I think most people picture when thinking about “hard” workouts (over-under, VO2 Max, etc.)