Blocks vs Mixing Everything?

So say you’re not training for a specific goal / event…just general fitness.

Would there be anything wrong with just mixing in all the different types of workouts / systems at once rather than doing blocks?

So say for example I wanna do 2 Interval days per week and the rest “zone 2” …somewhere in the ~12 hour per week range

would it be hugely suboptimal to go:
Week 1: VO2 + Sprint
Week 2: Sprint + Threshold
Week 3: Lower Intensity Week (maybe some tempo)
Week 4: Threshold + SweetSpot
Week 5: SweetSpot + VO2
Week 6: Lower Intensity Week (maybe some tempo)
REPEAT

something like that? just in my head since I don’t need to taper for anything I’m thinking:

  1. I won’t let any systems really dwindle (although I understand I won’t be maximizing anything).
  2. I think it would keep it more fun / interesting for me. (although I won’t do this if it’s hugely suboptimal)

I understand it might be kinda hard to know exactly what’s improving and what’s causing the improvements…but really I’m just exercising and if at the end of a year I’m a little fitter, all good.

Nothing wrong with just riding for general fitness. Enjoy your workouts. Bump up your Z2 volume when you can. The only challenge I see in your plan is that I’d go for more VO2 (real VO2, all out stuff) and less TH/SS.

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how about like this?

Week 1: VO2 + SweetSpot
Week 2: VO2 + SweetSpot
Week 3: FREE week - just randomly smash 2 rides and rest zone 2
Week 4: Lower Intensity Week (maybe some tempo)

Week 5: VO2 + Threshold
Week 6: Threshold + Sprint
Week 7: Threshold + Sprint
Week 8: FREE week - just randomly smash 2 rides and rest zone 2
Week 9: Lower Intensity Week (maybe some tempo)

Zone 2 filled in as many hours as allowed with 1 longer ride per week.

REPEAT

i’n not trying to re-invent something

but my main question is say at the end of a year you have ~100 workouts.

if you did x% sprint, y% VO2max, z% threshold, a% sweetspot,

does is matter (assuming you are not tapering / training for something specific) if you do them in a row? or just get to the same workouts at the end of the year?

I’ll let someone with more coaching experience than me reply. Good luck!

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I agree with @Pbase :slight_smile:

If you’re just trying to have fun with it and the above works for you, then by all means go for it!!

If you choose to train with TR, you could use the TrainNow feature to recommend your daily workout depending on what you want to do that day :slight_smile:

This way you can progress through your Progression Levels and have TrainNow recommend you workouts for your current fitness without having to go through the trouble of having to pick a workout from the Workout Library yourself :sunglasses:

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I think Dr. Stephen Seiler would say that it wouldn’t make much difference. The main thing would be total volume (100 rides either way) and intensity distribution (ultimately the same either way).

Unknown

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Four days of intensity - you’d probably burn out in short order. It might work if you did one week on / one week off just easy endurance, rinse/repeat.

I do think you could do any of your proposals with two days per week of intensity. You may want to plan time in zone (TTE) progressions with threshold and sweetspot. I don’t think you can do that much of true VO2max work without being exhausted all the time. Sprint work can also be very fatiguing.

But what is the goal? If you just want summer fitness then you still need to plan the season otherwise, you’ll just be tired all the time on your plan. There is a reason people usually periodize base-build-race (try to maintain fitness).

I’ve been thinking of a similar thing for myself. Do base in the winter, then build Jan-March and then maintain fitness all summer with a couple not soul crushing workouts per week and endurance riding.

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Where are you seeing 4 days of intensity?

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I see. I mistook week1, week2, etc. for day1, day2, etc. Thanks for setting me straight!

Like I said, I’ve been thinking of doing something similar for myself.

I turned 58 yesterday and I just don’t care about FTP anymore. I can reach 95% of my peak fitness (250w ftp) with way less work than it takes to get to the top rung.

I’m thinking for myself, two workouts per week + endurance. I’d probably just do some short/short intervals like 30/30s, 40/20s, 30/15s, etc. and then work on my FTP TTE the other day of the week and that’s it.

@genefish Jem Arnold did a blog post called sustainable training. It’s pretty great IMO. One can use it plug and play style and rotate through the blocks based on one’s needs:

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yes thank you for sharing Jem’s link. I caught wind of that last week and I’ve read it like 20 times.

something like this is going to be perfect for where I’m at in my life right now (and where i’m at in my cycling progression).

basically was just wondering how important the blocks were rather than mixing it all together for someone like me just looking for Sustainable Training right now.

ETA: in other words, if I was strength training, I would never hit chest for two weeks then shoulders for 4 weeks then legs for 4 weeks. I completely understand endurance is different and that systems overlap and maintain each other…I just don’t know to what extent. or if the MAIN goal if periodizing is to set yourself up for a race, would I be better off NOT periodizing (since I have no events / goals other than just improving everything). <–that’s what I would do with strength training…I would try to hit every body part at least 1-2x per week.

I know this is a trainerroad forum and I mean no disrespect - please delete this if you take it that way or it’s not allowed. this is the best bike discussion forum / learning platform / podcasts on the planet.

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Sure, that can work. I’ve seen a number of coaches (including Joe Friel in Fast Over 50) support “well rounded” programs that could even be as a VO2max once per week to 10 days and the rest doing volume. You’d still want to progress with your volume/intensity, presumably. Fill in with another interval ride of some SS or threshold, and you’re basically doing a TR Masters plan block in perpetuity.

I like riding my bike with my friends, and can ride year round, so my structure mostly focuses on getting my zone 2 inside, and then I do outside rides and try to incorporate some structure in the once or twice a week I ride by myself (yesterday I rode for 1.5 hrs, and kept my HR in upper z3 (140s) for 1hr 20 mins - no power meter on my mtb), and the 1 or 2 group rides are punchy mtb, and usually solid SS, but my friends stop too much so they are what they are. Either way, I get at least 4 focused rides, and take a couple extra days off/easy every 4th week.

Been doing this for 4 or 5 years now, and have gotten stronger and faster every year. Recently, I’ve been trying to consistently incorporate a VO2max workout, because I haven’t been spending enough time above threshold since it got hot, and I’ve kind of been satisfied that I’m faster than last year but with less effort, so I can tell it’s neglected a neglected zone.

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It is still periodization though, just weekly periodization. In strength training terms, it’s almost like following the 5/3/1 training style where wk1 is your 5 rep amrap, wk2 3 rep amrap, wk3 1 rep amrap. Then deload or repeat but a little heavier.

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Thanks for the shout outs!

Great analogy. But we might do a 4 week hypertrophy block, then a 4 week power block, etc. yes?

I’d suggest that periodisation is just as much about planned, progressive exposure to training stimulus at a rate that we can absorb and adapt to, as it is preparation for racing. To me those are the two priorities of ‘physiological training’ and ‘performance training’. Sometimes those priorities point in the same direction, sometimes they are orthogonal (e.g., peaking for a race might include a brief period of intentional non-sustainable/overreaching training load, then taper, race, and a period of recovery after).

If we don’t have a particular performance goal, that frees us up to think about how we periodise, but some kind of periodisation structure is pretty much required. Maybe that’s on a seasonal timeframe rather than weekly/monthly, which is kind of what I do myself these days. e.g., more HIIT/VO2max treadmill and weightlifting in the winter, more long thresholdy/durability trail runs and occasional sprint work in the summer.

[edit] wait sorry I think I overlooked OP’s main question. Blocks of the same training focus vs mixing focus? Meh, no high confidence opinions on whether one is better than the other. Blocks are probably easier to track progress and maybe better for mental focus, intentional practice, etc. Mixed might be better if it allows you to do the kind of training you enjoy on a regular basis, instead of e.g. avoiding the mountains on a nice summer day just because the plan says today is VO2max not threshold, or whatever :man_shrugging:

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ok got it. tyty

thank you again for the blog post. gonna be ultra helpful for me right now.

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