Continue with TrainNow or move to a LV plan?

Hi Folks

Looking for some advice on how to proceed in my circumstances.

I currently ride outdoors twice per week (one group ride on a Saturday) and one ride with a mate on a Wednesday (who is also part of the group ride). I use TrainNow to suggest a structured workout on a Wednesday and I tend to rotate through sweet spot, threshold and VO2 Max workouts so that I target each energy system. If there’s bad weather then I’ll substitute one of the outdoor rides for another TrainNow although this is quite rare.

The downside to this training regime is that I only train each energy system in a structured way every 3 weeks and I’ve noticed that progression levels drop over that time period . As an example I will do a 5.5 VO2 Max workout and 3 weeks later I’m back to level 4.6 (although i will still often target a 5.5 workout to get the level back up). Most workouts I label as Hard in the survey but I have only failed one workout in the last few months (and there were reasons for the failure i.e. lack of sleep, some stress and a few beers the night before!)

As a result I feel like I’m treading water and maintaining levels rather than progressing as I don’t seem to get above existing progression levels.

However, with Spring approaching in the UK I’d like to get stronger and progress if I can and wondered whether it is better to use AT on a low volume plan going forward. However, in the past I have found this difficult to accommodate due to doing 2 outdoors rides.

Options as I see them:

  1. Continue what I am doing but for Monday’s TR workout, target a workout that elevates progression level (ignoring the natural decline in progression level calculated by TR)

  2. Do a LV plan using Plan Builder and AT (but I’m likely to only be able to do the Monday workout)

  3. Do the above but convince my mate to do an Outdoor TR workout on the Wednesday with the rest of the ride being unstructured. Due to rolling terrain, it can be difficult to achieve this.

  4. Try to ride 4 times per week (2 indoor TR, Wednesday ride and the Saturday ride).

No. 4 may not always be feasible as I play tennis once per week and do one or two gym sessions for some strength and core work.

I know the best way forward would be to drop the Wednesday ride for an indoor TR but it’s good to catch up with a mate, good social interaction and I’d feel I was letting him down if I rode indoors instead.

For info, I don’t race and don’t really do many events but would consider myself a recreational ‘club’ type rider but one who wants to improve FTP and get faster. My one event so far is a group tour in Spain (6 rides over 6 days, 60-100 mile days, hilly terrain, social not competitive. We are also possibly looking to do 3-4 days in Mallorca maybe in June. The odd UK sportive may get thrown in but nothing booked yet.

So, the TLDR summary. Should I move to a plan even if I can only door one indoor session or stick with TrainNow?

Grateful for any feedback as feel like I’m drifting along at the moment. Thanks All!

I’d suggest the Mid-Volume Polarised Plan. Do the two “hard” days on your own and just freestyle the endurance days when you are out with your mate or the group.

Apart from the incessant wind, the weather’s improving here in the UK so you can choose to do the workouts indoors or outdoors. When doing them outdoors I ignore the target power and just try and ride as hard as I can for the duration but also try and be as consistent as I can over however many intervals I have to do.

I like your philosophy of prioritizing meaningufl social interaction on the bike over a workout. Good on your for that - I know I could use more of this.

If you could convince your buddy into doing a TR workout with you and he was genuinely into it, then it could be a boost to your friendship to do workouts together; supporting eachother with goals, pushing eachother to be better, sense of accomplishment together, etc. But if you have any sense he’s not really into it and only would do it to maintain a social ride with you, then I wouldn’t do it.

Reading your situation and trying to put myself in your shoes, I think your best bet is if you can find a way to squeeze a 4th ride into your week. Otherwise it’s really just not possible to advance PL’s in 3 different systems (for the reasons you give). Even if you make that 4th ride a 45min type workout it’ll do alot to maintain that system. Either way, I’d stick with TrainNow as you’re not building for any racing events and want to get improve overall.

My 2 cents. Good luck!