Critique My Training Plan/Methodology

I figured it’d be interesting to hear other’s takes on my training. I don’t use Trainerroad since I don’t like SST or HIIT very much at all, but I have listened to the podcast plenty. I’m completely self-coached, and really just base my training methodology off of whatever I read and kinda take a mix of everything. I use the Coggan method for zones, and have a trainer indoors and a MTB outdoors with heart rate.

I’ll give just a quick summary of where I’m at/have been recently: I did 413hrs of training last year, split up as follows:

Z1: 34.5%
Z2: 40.3%
Z3: 15.8%
Z4: 6.05%
Z5: 2.15%
Z6: 1.28%
(This is just on my indoor rides, since I don’t have power outdoors, but it’s a pretty representative summary since I ride 75% indoor.)

My FTP is 331w currently at 71kg, my FTP at the start of the year was 305w at 70kg. I’ve set new peak power PRs at various times, including 1min, 5min, and various sprint PRs. My peak power is 1345w, and my 5sec is 1259w, and I can hold onto 1000w for 20sec. I haven’t done any sprint training apart from strength workouts, so I’m fairly confident I can keep this rolling for awhile.

This year I decided that I really needed to 1) Nail the consistency, since I really struggled with that last year, and 2) make sure I was taking proper rest weeks. I started my official training on January 10, December of '21 and the first week were unstructured riding. (I might add that I still completed 38hrs and 2000TSS in December, so far from a fitness loss.) I also started seriously strength training this year, and have been doing 2-3 intense 20min sessions a week. I do a mix of upper body and core, and also weighted lunges and squats.

A quick overview of my season this year for perspective: I’ll be doing a gravel race at the end of May, which isn’t super high priority. I then have a XCM race end of July and then a 5 race XCO series running from August to October which is my primary goal.

My periodization is as follows: I ride 5 days a week for 4 weeks, take 4 days completely off, then do a ramp test and a couple other rides before hopping into the next 4 week block. I’ve based this off of experience from the last two years, and have experimented with 5week blocks and longer rest, but it didn’t work well.

Now for the actual training. My main workout is as simple as it gets, a 2hr Z2 session at a steady power, sometimes with cadence work or a sprint worked in. I typically do 3-4 of these a week, sometimes extending them out to 2.5hrs. Every week I also try to get a +3hr ride in. These rides have more variation to them, as I usually do something like this: Z2 on the flats, Z3 on the climbs, Z1/coast on the descent, and a sprint or two thrown in. (I do these primarily with a friend, so we like to race each other a bit.) I usually total 11-14hrs a week doing this (600-700TSS). (I’ll throw in some Trainingpeaks screenshots at the end, in the reverse chronological order.)

Every once and while I’ll do a Zwift race as part of my 2hr session or stacked on top of it. I also do some 2hr rides where I replace the Z2 with Z3 or Z4 work or something similar.

This has been my year so far:
In January I did 49hrs and 2400TSS; in February I did 45hrs and 2300TSS (my first rest week came in February); and in March I should be at 54hrs and 2700TSS. I’ve done more volume than this before, but never so consistently or as sustainably as now. So far this year, I’ve only had one week that I didn’t complete all of my planned training, and I’ve only missed 3 workouts, mostly due to life/work, not lack of desire.

My distribution of training zones so far is as follows:
Z1: 20.4% (Jan-Mar '21: 27.3%)
Z2: 64.7% (Jan-Mar '21: 39.2%)
Z3: 9.69% (Jan-Mar '21: 22%)
Z4: 3.22% (Jan-Mar '21: 8.13%)
Z5: 1.07% (Jan-Mar '21: 2.15%)
Z6: 0.86% (Jan-Mar '21: 1.32%)

As you can see, I cut out the various random rides and switched them to Z2 rides, especially in the Z3 and up range. Most of the Z1 this year has come from warmup/cooldowns.

My plan going forward is to continue building my base as described above until mid-June. Then I’ll start adding Z3 and Z4 efforts into my endurance rides. I’ll do this till August, at which point I’ll start doing interval training. My goal is get a huge base built which I can then add the intensity onto in the fall to hopefully allow me to really get quality interval sessions in. My goal is to keep doing 45-55hr months (11-14hr weeks) till the end of July, at which point my duration will start to go down as I do interval training.

That’s my training plan for this year, so I’m curious to see what others have to say, and what they think I’m doing wrong/should do more of. What do ya’ll think?

Those are just four weeks that I grabbed from Trainingpeaks. The last screenshot was the only week I didn’t get as much training in as I would’ve liked.

-The Reasberry

It’s nearly impossible to comment on what you’re doing wrong since there’s no mention of goals or purpose to your training to gauge against.

(Edit - missed your XCO section, apologies)

I guess what’s with this is…how do you feel about your program? Is it working for you?

Also, you train A LOT for someone who doesn’t measure power outdoors. How are you measuring it indoors - can you describe your indoor set up?

Not sure how old you are but I’ll comment as you sound a lot like me from a few years ago. Literally the same numbers - 71kg, 331 ftp, approx 700-800 tss a week. Back when I was in my 30s I could easily absorb this training load, now at 42 I’m finding that much more recovery is needed.

Your training plan looks pretty sound and there’s nothing you should do differently IF you can consistently handle this many hours on the bike and have no other external stressors creeping in. You’re self coaching so pay a really good attention to fatigue (both mental and physical) and be honest with yourself. You’ve gained 10% in the early season so you’re definitely doing something right - don’t change much unless you find the progress is stalling.

And don’t try to do too much too soon, you’re hitting PRs now and that’s great but remember it’s a long time to your A race in August.

This looks like traditional base training to me. That’s one valid approach for the base phase, but for the other phases, especially the Specialty phase, you will need to hit power zones from sweet spot onwards.

Since your main goals are XCM and XCO races, you will need to to incorporate HIIT workouts. A Z1/Z2-centric plan is not going to ideally prepare you for your A events. According to the numbers you posted, you spent almost no time above threshold, which is not a good idea IMHO if you aim to do offroading. Even on longer rides and races, the terrain will often dictate what power you need to do.

So overall, I don’t think your training plan as I understand it will prepare you optimally for your A events. Even if your main events were gravel races, I’d incorporate higher zones here and get accustomed to spending long times at tempo.

Sometimes medicine tastes bitter.

@Oblewis I feel that my plan is going good so far, my only concern is that I’m doing a little too much volume now, and not in June/July. I’m thinking of taking a longer break in April to really refresh mentally.

I have a Tacx Neo Smart Bike with a Wahoo Tickr Fit heart rate monitor. I’ve compared the indoor hr monitor to my Garmin Venu watch, and they’re within 2 bpm of each other.

@OreoCookie Yeah, I didn’t express myself well in the post. I intend to do 2-3 HIIT workouts a week starting in August, and continuing that throughout the race series. The threshold/SST stuff is something I’ve always struggled with, mostly mentally though. Part of the reason I am doing far less SST and the like this year is cause I tried that last year and burned out by May, so I’m hoping to do that work later and not burn out.

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@OreoCookie We all need a little reminder sometimes to do the stuff we don’t like :slight_smile:

@konradkowara I’ve struggled with this in the past, so thanks for the reminder, I’ve tried to keep myself from really going for PRs, and I’ve done better, but not nearly as well as I need to.

I’ve handled training volume like this before (especially last year), so this isn’t new territory for me this year. I’m 17 now so, recovery is super quick, and external stressors aren’t bad at all.


IMHO that’s way too late to doing you any good. Sweet Spot and threshold is mentally taxing, and part of the reason to do these intervals is to toughen up mentally. Doing only Z2 and expecting to do well in races where you will spend a good time at sweet spot or above is not a good strategy.

Your training looks great to me :grinning:

It’s working. Stick with it.