Avoiding Burn Out

First season using TR. Been riding for 18 months. I’ve gone from 12-15 hrs, 700-1000 TSS unstructured training to LV Climbing Road Race Plan with 2-3 long Z2 rides added in between. Volume is about the same, TSS is down slightly, intensity is up significantly.

I’m nearing the end of my season with one race left to go in a month. I’m in the middle of specialty phase and the mental fatigue is starting to creep in. For the next month I think I’m going to drop one of the long Z2 rides and take on more rest days to give me more of a chance to recover for the harder efforts but it got me thinking.

For next season I’m wondering if lowering the intensity of one of the three TR workouts (so that there are two intense sessions instead of three) may be beneficial? Would this impact AT for all workouts or just that one system? Ie leave threshold/vo2 sessions the same but mark SS sessions as Very Hard in order to have AT lower the intensity.


I’m sure folks smarter than I am will chime in, but this sounds like a big season and a break is well deserved!! Lots of folks take a few weeks off after their season, either totally away from the bike or at least just from structure.

As far as AT goes, I think you could use alternates to make the 3rd workout a bit easier. Might be worth looking at traditional base plans too. They’re not in plan builder, but you can add them manually and AT will still work.

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My “simple” approach to tweaking in the current TR world is to use the LV plan and skip one of the “hard” workouts and just do any SS workout instead.

  • As of now, there is no way to “swap” this, so I just skip whatever Thresh or VO2 workout I don’t want, and manually add a SS workout or use TrainNow. AT sometimes drops the pending weeks workouts since I skip one of them, so I accept the suggested adaption in most cases.

  • This along with the Z2 work I tend to add 2x per week has been working for me the last season and more.


In addition to the suggestions mentioned, another thing you could consider is opting for the experimental Polarized plans, which will have 1-2 hard days and everything else Z2. The MV Polarized plans, if I’m remembering correctly, have 4 days a week with 1 VO2 and 1 Threshold day, then 2 Z2 days. You could certainly add more Z2 if you want, but at the very least, that would drop you to 2 hard days instead of 3. While they don’t work with Plan Builder to my knowledge, they do work with AT.


imho 18 months is a new rider. 12-15 hrs and 700-1000 tss is a lot for an 18 month rider. i think its too much and you could cut that by 25% and build your fitness on less stress.


That’s a great idea

At one point the SS sessions felt just as hard as the threshold and even harder than the early Vo2 workouts. But I was a lot fresher back then so it was easier to mentally persevere. Don’t get me wrong I’m not “burnt out” so to speak but I can tell I’m getting closer to being so.

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It’s also important to be OK letting fitness go at different parts of the year. You can’t build continuously forever. It just doesn’t work like that. Building fitness for races or a season is awesome, but then you have to take some time off if you want to be successful in the long run (multiple years or decades).


I hear you. But As they say , not all TSS is created equal. Doing 800 in unstructured workouts. picking up intensity when I felt like it. Going easy when I didn’t. Taking more or less rest days- had me feeling fresher than doing TR’s three interval sessions a week.

I’m also not working a 40 hour week. So I can sleep in. Take naps. Have time to eat well and do nothing all day if I feel the need.


Right, and the point here is to swap sooner than you “need to”, because you know this history. I only made this swap after having troubles with that 3rd workout after weeks and phases into my season.

Fix it before it’s a problem, more or less. That is highly individual, but what you are describing now might have been minimized or eliminated if you had done this or other changes weeks or months ago.


But here you are. Worried about burn out. Sounds like you are justifying the high volume and complaining about being worn out at the same time.

2 days of intensity is plenty. I’d say keep the volume if you can handle it, but part of doing this well is understanding what you can handle.

I’m not complaining and Im not worried. I’m reflecting and seeking advice on what others have done with the intension of improving for next time. It’s an evolving process.

And yes. I think two days of intensity instead of three may be sufficient.


I follow the LV plans with a good amount of extra endurance riding added in (typically ride at least 6 and often 7 days a week). Most weeks I do the 2 scheduled midweek rides and simply skip the scheduled weekend 90 minute SS/threshold ride. I figure the purpose of that ride is primarily as a time-crunched alternative to the traditional long weekend ride, but I’m not particularly time crunched and most weekends I do a long endurance ride of at least 3 and often over 4 hours so trying to fit that TR ride in as well is too much. My long ride is also often a group ride so will incorporate some sustained efforts at higher aerobic intensity on hills or doing pulls on the front, so I am still accumulating time in Tempo, SS and threshold zones. But in a less structured and more enjoyable way - for me at least, YMMV.

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We’re in the exact same boat. Thanks for reaffirming my thoughts.

Is it really TrainerRoad (or any) burn out, or just naturally coming to the end of the season? This is why people take an “off season”? I personally wouldn’t over analyse or worry too much. You are going deep into the season - noticeable drop off in numbers the last few weeks in the races I do (next week the last), so a lot are already on their break.

Also, speciality tapers you to your A event, so workouts will get shorter (if not lose the intensity).

Anyway, my opinion is trust the plan, see out the season and take a break from structure. And then use this feeling to inform next seasons plan (maybe start later/ finish earlier).

My n=1 is that I was going to try CX this winter, but pulled that out of my calendar recently. A couple of weeks left is enough for me, so while I might give cx a lash, I really couldn’t face straight into another block.


Yeah, I definitely couldn’t go into another block straight away lol.

Been using TR for 4 years and on high volume plans for the last 2. First, it’s natural to be heading towards burnout at the end of the season, especially if you’ve had a full plate. Like others have suggested, take at least 2 weeks off the bike then another few unstructured. I’ve also slowly stepped up the number (3 to 6) week by week of unstructured rides leading into Base. This makes the transition to full structure again easier.

Secondly, I’ve found the best approach was to switch the Sunday workouts with long z2. If I’m feeling particularly fatigued, I’ll switch Saturdays to long z2 as well or an easier alternate with z2 afterwards.


This is where the science leans as well. I consider SS an intense workout. I think tempo workouts are underrated too. I’m working through a build phase and typically drop the SS for a tempo or z2 ride.

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Very natural. I’d argue that if you feel tip-top and ready to blow through another 6 month block after your A race, you left some gains on the table in the current season. The nature of the stress/recover/perform cycle leads to burnout if you’re doing it correctly. If you’re not feeling some burnout, you’re not maximizing. BUT you have to recover appropriately after the stress phase. Take two weeks to a month off. Your fitness will go down quickly, but your ability to be consistent over a number of years (which leads to the really big gains) will be left intact.


I love this approach. A long tempo ride is something I greatly enjoy. All this talk of “no go zone” for tempo is pure nonsense in my unscientific opinion.