Best way to increase weekly TSS

Hi,

I’ve been an avid cyclist for a few years now, mostly riding outdoors without any plan.
I started using a powermeter (Smarttrainer and Zwift) in october 2019 with an FTP of 200W.
Early march i subscribed to Trainerroad and built a high volume plan with Crits in mind (no event date set).

I felt i could handle the load, but after 2 weeks I began feeling a pain in my shin, i got shin splints 5 years ago when I did a heavy running training.
The weird thing is I have never had pain in my shin from cycling before. But I understand the training load might have been too big. In the previous years I only rode max 6 hours/week.

I’m wondering what a good strategy is to increase the training load in a healthy manner.
Would it be a great idea to start with three 6-week base blocks where I increase the load from low to high?
Do you have any other suggestions?

Thanks!

High volume is super high, way higher than a beginner to structured training can handle. I would say start with one of the low volume plans, and maybe throw in an extra workout borrowed from the mid volume plan if you find it’s going well after a few weeks. Getting to the point where you can handle the incredible volume of the high volume plan could take multiple training seasons, not just a few months.

3 Likes

I want to add I really WANT to ride 9-11 hours per week.
Might it be OK to do recovery rides to reach this number? Or should I follow the training plan strictly?
I know I should follow my body signs, but I don’t really have a big knowledge about training plans and it’s effects. So a general idea is what i’m looking for.

Two points to make in response.

First, do you WANT to ride 9-11 hours per week or do you WANT to be faster? More time on the bike is not necessarily going to make you faster, especially if you’re pushing yourself into injury territory on the bike. You have to remember that training indoors on the trainer is much more consistent and difficult than riding outdoors because there are no breaks and you’re constantly pedaling. Especially if two weeks of high volume is giving you some niggles, you may want to spend less time on the bike and more time strengthening your joints or recovering.

Second, if you really feel you must spend 9-11 hours per week on the bike despite the clear signs from your body telling you this is far too much, naturally it should all be recovery ride effort. At your stage I would start with low volume and then put in a bunch of recovery ride time to get up to where you’re wanting to be.

I’m not a pro, but I’ve been doing TR for a couple years and mid volume plans still wear me down, especially if I’ve got other things going on in my life. I would urge you to reflect on why you want to be on the bike so much. Do you just enjoy spinning your legs on the trainer indoors all those hours? Or are you thinking more time working has to make you faster? Only you know the answer, but I think you should really try to discern whether your desire to ride so much on the trainer is really doing you any favors.

3 Likes

Great points!
I want to ride those hours because I want to get faster, my ultimate goal at the moment is to reach 300 FTP. But I do enjoy spending those hours on the bike.

It’s a good suggestion to reflect on my goals. I must understand that it’s better to take it slow now and let the body fully adapt in order to train harder later.

I will start with a lower volume training plan with a possibility to add recovery rides.
And very slowly add more workouts from a higher load plan.

1 Like

Good plan. You can definitely get your FTP up there with lower volume plans, depending on your genetics. Hours definitely don’t equal FTP. Hope this helped!

1 Like

Try adding Petit or Dans in once in the first week.
Then add it in twice the second week etc

If you can still complete your assigned workouts well, then I would suggest stepping up to MV

2 Likes

I would also suggest starting with a Low Volume plan and nailing the consistency. You absolutely need to complete all 3 of those rides every week. Then I would look at the Mid Volume version and start to work in 1 to 2 of the extra work outs from that week. That would probably look like a Pettit on Wednesday and then maybe a 2 hour Sweet Spot ride on Sunday. If you are able to ride outside right now, then I would work hard on doing the Low Volume plan’s workouts during the week like a M/W/F or a T/W/F with a Pettit or Taku on one of the two off days. Then go out and get longer rides to build base fitness and enjoy the bike on Saturday and Sunday.

The reason the Low Volume is recommended as a starting point for your first pass through the plan is because you can really underestimate the building fatigue as the weeks progress. Especially once you get in to Sweet Spot Base II and Build with all the VO2max and Over/Unders.

I also recommend adding 15 to 20 minutes to the end of your Low Volume workouts. Or doing the +1 or +2 versions. This has been a big boost in my TSS over time and helped me a lot this off-season. I add the 15 to 30 minutes at the end and raise the intensity to 175-200% to get in to an endurance zone. This has been one of the biggest training “hacks” for me this year, I think.

3 Likes

And get a professional fitting. Any flaw in your fitting gets amplified on the trainer. Those splints sound suspicious. Splints are normally an impact injury.

1 Like

If you want to increase hours without stressing body too much, look at Traditional Base plans. It doesn’t increase your FTP fast but makes you fit in long term and prepares joints for whatever you throw at them.

Also, 1hr before workout, drink shake with collagen. For more details, see podcast episode.

1 Like

Thank you for the tips and tricks! It’s very helpful.

Yes, that is what I’d do - follow a low volume TR plan and fill in the rest of the hours with easy rides. You really want no more than 2 (3 days max) of structured rides with intervals/intensity. The rest should be base mile rides.

Another way to increase total time is to tack on easy Z1/2 riding before and after your TR sessions. So if you have a 60 minute ride scheduled, you can do an extra 15 minutes of warm up and an extra 15 of cool down and turn it into a 90 minute ride.

Also, maybe don’t increase hours per week more than 10-20% per week.

Pay attention to fatigue levels. If after a few weeks of this you are feeling tired, then pull the plug. Take a couple of days off, cut out the intervals, and do half the volume at low intensity. When feeling refreshed, start the training plan again. The rest week is when your body super compensates and you get faster. It’s an important part of the process.

1 Like