Comparing Old TrainerRoad Plans with New

I used TrainerRoad last year to prep for a XCO Marathon 100km race using a high volume plan with gym on my off days. Not perhaps as recommended but with the forum and podcast to back everything up, it went super well. Saw an FTP increase by nearly 100W in 29 weeks. Race went to plan and did it in about 6 hours. Couldn’t recommend it more (and do so to anyone who will listen).

This year, my family gave me an entry for a new 160km XCO race over the same sort of terrain. I started two and a half months earlier but went for a mid volume plan. With the new tweaks associated with all the machine learning stuff, I notice the workouts are so much easier than last year. Not just subjectively - I never failed any last year but when I look back at their ratings they really are a world apart e.g., at this time last year I was doing Sweet Spot 8.9, this year I dont even get close (more like 4.3) and feel like I’m cruising.

Given how well things went last year and that this race will be essentially twice as hard, I’m getting a bit of a crisis of confidence in the new plans. Any reassuring thoughts? Should I revert back to high volume?

I’m in the AT beta and love it. I do pretty frequently change the intensity from “productive” to “stretch”. The “alternates” option is such a great feature. Once I complete the stretch workout AT incorporates that success and upgrades future workouts. It’s been great - I saw almost 10% ftp increase in one four week block.

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Are you adding endurance riding on top of the mid volume? And/or did you do extra riding on top of HV last year?

I’m picking unless you’re in AT and rides start adapting upwards then you’ll need to supplement with something I’d have thought.

The 100miler with that much climbing is going to be a lot lower intensity than the 100km. I haven’t updated to the new plans yet, but I’ve taken cues from some of the workout changes.

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I pretty much religiously stuck to the training other than swapping some of my morning bunch rides in place of workouts and doing back to back 2 hour outside workouts to get things done. Had the occasional big roadie too.
I get the feeling you’re right that I’ll need to throw in a little extra. I’m in a recovery week right now so for the start of the next one might be worth redoing the plan with high volume.

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That’s probably less a reflection of the new plans, and more a reflection of going from High Volume to Mid volume, especially if High Volume was really working for you. :wink:

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Unfortunately, I think you have some confounding variables here, namely volume. Volume matters for a number of reasons: Fitness, fatigue, mitochondrial density, LT1 etc. There is a substantial difference between performing high-intensity sessions surrounded by 4 hours of volume and by 6+. The addition of the second rest day found in mid-volume is also going to be a factor. I would expect RPE to decline with more rest/recovery. Concerning the levels, I would expect there might be a learning curve for AT. I did not do an assessment when I switched to AT mid-block and it set my levels at 1. As I tick off workouts at the different zones, those levels update, but it is taking some time. I do a sense check on the workouts and select the stretch variants where it seems appropriate.
I suspect that your sweet spot level might not reflect your true level for the same reason and the program is not going to offer up workouts that are 4 points above your current level. I would guess that manually selecting those stretch or breakthrough alternates might force the issue and the platform will serve up adapted workouts at a level that is more appropriate. 8.9 might not be the right level, but there might be a middle ground.
Adaptive training is great and has a lot of potential, but I caution anyone against handing over complete trust to it for the first few months. Let it learn and nudge it in ways that reconcile with your history. When you see it starting to generate sensible workouts on its own, then you extend that trust.
From a training standpoint, if you have the time for high volume, go high volume. You will only benefit from the additional load as long as your recovery is appropriate. If you can’t take on the additional load in volume, select those alternates that put you in the stretch category more often. You have the time to recover between and will see the benefits. It doesn’t matter how well periodized a plan is, fitness is fitness, and fitness is generated by time at intensity.
Good luck on your race!

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:point_up: :point_up: is why I love TrainerRoad!!! I come to the end of recovery this week so will redo my plan as a high volume before the next ramp on Tuesday.

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If your previous training was with a lower FTP than you are using now, you can’t compare those workout levels to now. Also, you can’t compare workout levels across energy systems (Endurance vs threshold, for example).

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Cheers, I appreciate I’m probably a little confused on the levels and not on AT (yet?) but the levels I am comparing are both for Sweet Spot workouts so assuming (maybe incorrectly?) that they are the same energy system. The FTP thing though, I am higher than where I was at this time last year but lower than where I ended up peaking for the race and at no stage do the levels match up.
At this stage, I’m gonna go with the volume thing and redo my plan in Plan Builder.

You can compare sweet spot levels as long as FTP is the same or pretty close.

But I think ultimately it’s the volume and redoing your plan in PB is the way to go

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