Constant build approach vs. Build, build taper

My past experience with cycling specific coaching is somewhat limited but I had stellar results several years ago over a 1 year period. I would do it again in a second if the cost hadn’t skyrocketed so much. My coach at the time had a different approach than TR and I’m looking for some input from those of you that have done both also.
FYI he was personally a Cat 2 cyclist and a well known/regarded coach. He coached a wide variety of cyclist including some semi pro’s. I say this for reference just to let you know he wasn’t a newbie or a Dylan Johnson(not in his 20’s).
With that being said his approach was build, build taper. So 2 weeks building and taper the third week, back to building on week 4/5, then repeat. In addition he fine tuned the schedule for events and races. I knew nothing of coaching tactics or theory at the time but do know that it worked very well for me. My FTP, endurance, and overall performance over the time I trained with him increased dramatically. TR on the other hand has constant build for 5 or more weeks from what I can see followed by taper week the on to the next phase. Since I’m only a few in weeks on TR I don’t have enough behind me to know how well this works and if there is enough time for recovery and assimilation. I find myself going with what I know works and adjusting the schedule/workouts to line up with my past experience. I’d love to hear thoughts from those of you that have done both or had some type of live coaching and how it compares to TR. Thanks in advance.

  • That is true only in the Sweet Spot Base Phases. They are a 5:1 Work : Recovery pattern. Coach Chad found that it can work well for a large number of riders.

  • Nate shared an alternate timing in the past (3:1, 3:1, 4:1 for the SSB 1&2 combined).

  • I liked the idea, but reversed the timing to have the longer segment at the start, when the workouts are less demanding (4:1, 3:1, 3:1 for the SSB 1&2 combined).

  • Alternate Sweet Spot Base, Work : Recovery Week Layout has the full details.

  • The other phases (Build and Specialty) follow a 3:1 Work : Recovery pattern.

You are free to manipulate the plans as needed (like I’ve done for Sweet Spot Base). You will find a wide range of users here who can and do follow the plans exactly, while others make changes based on what they have learned works better for them.

It all takes some trial and error. For generally new riders, I suggest following the plans as-is unless you really know that something can be altered to improve your results.

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Thanks for the input and the links to other on topic threads . This is exactly what I hoped to see. I will say that TR is so far beyond the old computrainer workouts I used to do. The variety is seriously impressive! I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it and what produces the best results for me over time. Another question: What is/are the best workouts you have found to improve your long hill climbing ability? I came across Rendevous + 4 while working on my calender and it looks like it may fit the bill. Are there some others you can suggest? I would consider myself a diesel and have little problem with short and steep or moderate rollers but the long climbs are the most challenging for me at this point in my training.

A guess, but you may benefit from the longer duration Sweet Spot and Threshold interval workouts.

Go to the workout page.

The add filters for Sweet Spot, pick a duration for the workout, and use medium intervals. This will return a filtered list that is easier to browse.

Get into those workouts and work up to Long interval length. This all assumes a steady effort, which is common for some climbs, and may be where you have room to grow.

You can also follow into the General or Sustained Power Builds (after completing your Base). Those plans include some of the longer interval progressions (Sustained in particular).

You can review the plans to see which offers the best plans to work on your weaknesses.

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I’ve also been wondering about my rest weeks. For this past year I mostly took rest weeks as needed. I’m going to plan them out more strategically.

I just listened to this podcast featuring Jan Olbrecht. He’s advised athletes who have won over 600 medals (Olympic, World, etc). His work is similar to that of Sebastian Weber (Inscyd). Weber actually got his PhD at the same school.

(also available on podcast platforms)

One of the interesting points in the podcast were super compensation weeks. You don’t get faster when you train. Training breaks you down and then when you rest/recover your body super compensates and then you get faster. I seem to recall him saying that for a recreational athlete he would advise a 1:1 schedule (one week hard / one week easy) or at most a 2:1 schedule.

Paul, your old coach sounds like he had some good ideas!

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big fan of 3:1 here, but if your 2:1 worked before, see what 3:1 doe with the increased CTL that you’ll mostly accrue.

Brendan

reading the show notes and skipping around the podcast audio, I’m only hearing examples of 2+1 schedule. Going 2+1 or 3+1 is very individual. My n=1 - I’m seemingly able to do 3+1 or 4+1 or even 5+1 during base, but during build its definitely 2+1.

edit: from the show notes:

  • For very low level athletes, we work with one week of training one week of recovery.
  • An average level athlete it’s usually two weeks of training, one week of recovery.
  • Only with very good athletes we go for three weeks hard training, two weeks of super-compensation/recovery.

Not sure what “very low level athlete” really means. Will listen this afternoon to that part of the podcast.

Jan Olbrecht’s “The Science of Winning” is a fantastic read. Couldn’t find a print copy, and so I have it on Kindle. The link you shared (Science of Winning - Chapter 1) is a nice summary if you don’t want to spend $ on the book.

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I’d like to get a hard copy! I’m fascinated by his lactate measurement stuff. I guess Weber has made it somewhat accessible with Inscyd software. Olbrecht has had an insane track record with his athletes winning medals.

In the podcast, it is one tiny segment where he says an average athlete might do best on a 1:1. To me the question is what do I get fastest on? I was basically doing 1:1 at the beginning last year out of necessity. I was so fatigued by big weeks that I’d have to follow it with rest days and an easy week. I remedied by fatigue by doing a tradition base period of about 11 weeks.

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updated my post above, the show notes indicate 1+1 for only a very low level athlete (and I assume in the context of triathlon).

I guess when I listened to it, I interpreted “low level” to be all of us weekend warriors even if we are on the faster side. :smile: