Athlete Inteviews - Brandon Nied's Annual Plan for Stage Races

Our Athlete Interview series allows us to sit in on an interview with Coach Chad and an athlete as they plan the year ahead or review race performances.

Brandon Neid is an exceptional athlete who was nationally competitive in running and part of the Olympic Training Center’s program for Triathlon before switching gears to focus on his career as a Product Manager at TrainerRoad and a road racer.

In this episode, Coach Chad outlines the annual review process he uses with athletes he has coached over the years, with the goal of teaching us how to plan a year of training. Listen in and take notes on the principles behind Chad’s methods as we analyze Brandon’s exceptional abilities.

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Live Notes

Brandon's Training History

San Dimas Stage Race Profile

Uphill Time Trial Course

4.25 miles

1258 ft of Climbing


Rolling Road Race Course

Cat 2 Racers complete 8 laps of the course shown below.

Brandon's Bike



Really enjoyed this podcast…would love one with a more ‘typical athlete’ I.e. one with less training time, able to handle less load and not at 5+ w/kg.

Having said that, some great takeaways for everyone.


I really enjoyed this one as well.

Curious to know if @bnied has ever followed a TR plan before, or just selected workouts, etc? How does this style of training differ from your past running and triathlon training?

@RobertSims Keep in mind, he’s not currently 5+ w/kg. :-):smile: But I see what you mean. Just waking up in the morning and being > 4 w/kg is nice. Looking forward to see how he gets along. Good luck, @bnied!!

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Agree with the above. A really informative and interesting listen :+1:

Listened to it on my commute home, my personal list of strengths started with ‘high ability to suffer’ and ended there as well.

Some good insights there, but agree that a less perfect interviewee might be more useful for us mortals :slight_smile:

As a similar rider (in terms of strengths/weaknesses and weight, unfortunately not FTP) I found this really interesting. Nice work.

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Granted he’s naturally gifted, but I give him points for admitting to overtraining and eating all the fudge in the TR office.

Further proof you don’t need to put your eggs and rice on the gram scale every morning and always adhere to a physiologist approved TSS ramp rate to get faster.


I loved the format of this podcast. Looking forward to more.

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Thanks @tshortt! I normally do Sweet Spot Base High Volume I and II, and then have done Sustained Power Build. This is normally when races start back up, so I typically have to start modifying the plan from there. By the time I make it to Specialty Phase stuff I’ve pretty much just cherry picked workouts based on what I think I’m lacking at that time.

I’d really like to fully stick to the Base, Build, Specialty flow this year and see what I can do with that.


Really enjoyed this. Couple of interesting points:

Obviously Brandon is a very talented athlete, with a lot of experience, knowing now what you know about training and triathlon what would you have done differently in your Tri training back when you were competing if you had the tools at your disposal today?
More and more in Europe we are seeing an imergance of draft lethal racing for age groupers so would be keen to hear what specifics you would consider when training for that?

Also chads point about strength training, similarly I have been pretty injury free for most of my career - wondering if this is again because of a triathlon background? But still interesting how chad said because Brandon has had little to no injury problems he would probably give strength training a miss.

Glad to hear you enjoyed it @TriathlonTom! The one thing I would’ve done differently back when I was training for Tri’s is to focus more energy on my weaknesses, and not worry about my strengths falling behind a bit. I struggled quite a bit at times with not focusing on running, and tried to fit that in at all costs. While I was also swimming and biking a ton, I think I could have stopped running completely for some time and just focused on those disciplines (especially swimming). I’ve noticed in the last year or so that given a month or so of dedicated training I can normally get back up to speed on the run.

As for draft legal specifics, I think these can depend on your strengths and weaknesses as well. The swim is incredibly important, and I can say I’ve lost plenty of draft legal races in the first 5 minutes of the race. Since you want to be in a good group on the swim, we focused a lot sets where we would do some intervals almost all out, and then settle into race pace after that. This would simulate what the race would be like. One of our test sets was the following:

200 all out
:30 rest
800 all out

For the bike, the first 5 minutes of the race are crucial for the same reasons as the swim. If you get left behind, you could be riding alone. VO2 type efforts are good for this. Also, if you haven’t ridden with a group much I’d definitely recommend jumping into a local group ride or crit if you are more familiar.

Finally, running off the bike in a draft legal race is completely different than in a standard tri in my opinion. Since the bike typically has surges throughout, this has a different toll on your running legs. I think for this, you can simulate the feeling by either running right after a hard group ride, or right after a VO2 max workout. The run doesn’t have to be long, maybe up to 2 miles or so at race pace. I’d do this once a week or so in the lead up to one of my races.

I can’t comment too much as to if being a triathlete has anything to do with no weight training, but it could have something to do with it.

Hope this helps!


Thanks for this Brandon!

I am totally with you on the ‘not focusing on your strengths’! Like you running comes fairly naturally to me, swimming, not so much. I can totally see the need to get that first 5 mins, I have started swimming a lot more with a masters group, where we do quite a lot of sprints intermixed with some harder longer efforts - so that aligns nicely

Yes, keen to get on Crits - have been doing a mix of Sweet Spot and VO2 max work, but need to get back in a group and used to the group dynamics too.

I like the idea of hitting a run after a Crit, although i’ll be labeled as ‘that guy’ as I run off the bike but who cares!

Thanks again for this and good luck for the season, sounds like you’re going to be in a good place to hammer those stage races!

Coach Chad and Jonathan were both talking about weaknesses and limiters. When I asked myself that question I definitely find it hard rebounding from single doses of high TSS.
For example I recently did a 2hr ride, 173tss 0.90IF with another rider, we were both drilling it. Is it understandable to take 3 days off after rides like these and can I get used to them if I do them more often?
I don’t do them very often because they disrupt my training consistency.

@Workhorse We all deal with this to a certain extent. I know I do. If I were you, I would post this on the forum as a separate topic (tag it with “Training”). I bet you’ll get a ton more helpful responses from others who might not be on this particular thread.

Basically this ^^^^ These are so physically/physiologically costly that I base all my training around these. I treat them like races.


Personally I think the interview would have flowed better if it was just one-on-one between Chad and Brandon.