Cut low volume plan down to 2 workouts and struggling more!

Following recent conversation about the amount of intensity in TR plans, I recently decided to complete only 2 TR workouts per week, alongside my usual Z2 commutes, Z2 weekend rides and occasional unstructured ride outside. Note that, for the last 2 years, I’ve usually ridden 400-500 TSS per week, including 3 TR workouts and very rarely failed workouts. So I’m not trying to fix a problem by reducing the number of TR workouts, just trying something different and trying to make more room in my schedule for more Zone 2.

However, for 3 out of the last 4 weeks, I’ve been failing workouts at a much higher rate than ever before, despite only doing the 2 TR sessions.

The reason for these failures has always been heavy legs (muscle endurance possibly); my breathing and heart rate have been fine but the legs just said nope! My Whoop (for what it’s worth) has suggested I’m well recovered before these workouts.

Now, I’ve always performed better with a bit of fatigue than being too well-rested, but surely this shouldn’t be causing me to have heavier legs and be failing workouts? The other obvious cause is an FTP that’s too high, but my HR doesn’t reflect this in any of the failed workouts.

Any thoughts? I’m sure I’ve missed plenty of details. I’m currently half way through build and actually planning to go back to 3 workouts per week for the 2nd half, as a bit of an experiment (and because it usually works for me).

Curious to hear people’s thoughts or similar experiences? Obviously it might be totally unrelated to my workouts but this is the main difference in my training for the last few weeks.

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Has anything else changed? Intensity/duration of other rides, nutrition, sleep, etc? I’m thinking it’s possible that because you dropped a TR workout your Z2 rides may start creeping into Z3 because you feel more fresh and then that leads to more fatigue. Or because your rides are less structured or focused you may not be eating or recovering with the same focus as before.

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Any chance it could be a mental thing?

As you’re doing two TR sessions, you’re putting increased mental load on yourself to get the very best out of each workout? You know that this is an experiment, you set it up yourself. Could you also consciously or unconsciously be trying to effect the results?

Well it’s some sort of fatigue, but we don’t have much information about your outdoor rides or TR workouts. And, do you use the same power meter inside and out. Feeling fatigue in your legs isn’t good before a quality session.

Have you been doing more z2 rides at the same time already? Round here the weather has picked up noticably, if its the same for you, you might have been doing more or longer outdoor rides? Maybe your legs are just fatigued from that.

Alternatively, have you changed your diet at all?

Could it be that because you are missing out workouts it is messing up the progression of the plan? i.e. the workouts are getting harder at a faster rate than your improvement?

Thanks for the replies. Nothing else significant has changed in terms of diet or sleep. I do usually operate in a small calorie defecit which may play a bigger part in build than base, but I’ve gone through build in a defecit before…

Same PM indoors and outdoors. Legs dont feel fatigued before the workout and I’ll often get part way through, with good feelings and good HR and my legs just suddenly hit a wall. I don’t even feel the fatigue build up to that point.

I checked and my Z2 rides stay in Z2, I’m quite strict with them because I don’t want to be compromising my TR workouts.

I don’t think so because I still do the same types of workouts each week. So, for example, I always do my under overs on fridays, so the progression of each workout type is still intact.


As it’s still unclear what has changed, start trying to determine the fix by changing one thing at a time; eat more, and eat sugars during the TR workout.

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Your hypothesis seems to be that dropping one of the workouts has somehow caused you to fail them more often. Why not trying adding it back in and see if that helps?

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See above :slight_smile:

In terms of fuelling, I’m eating more than ever before. My defecit is mainly from smaller meals and cutting out processed foods and has served me well in previous years, even during build.

During workouts?

Yes, and before and after


Can you post say the last couple of weeks from your Calendar?

What’s going on guys? :persevere: my head and lungs are in but my legs are nowhere to be seen!

Had a carb based breakfast, carb based lunch, carb based snack just before the workout and 2 gels during the workout.

This workout followed a 90 min Z2 ride that I did this morning (about 8 hours ago). This kind of ride on the same day as a TR workout is typical for me as I usually commute to work. Today I wasn’t in work so did a ride of similar distance and duration to make up for not commuting.

Calendar can be seen here:

Whilst spinning at 50% intensity after a failed attempt at Bashful, I started to think about what other changes could be causing this problem. Honestly the only thing I can think of that matches the time frame is stretching. I always stretch after a workout now, which I never used to do.

Funny also is that last year, during base, I started squats etc in the gym and wasn’t anywhere close to this level of fatigue in my legs…so something here is seriously off and I can’t figure out what

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I wish I could help you, but can only speculate. The only time I experience this is if I over do it, anaerobically, and need more recovery. However, that only lasts, at most, a week, where I just tack on recovery weeks and just spin in Z2 and days off, and take another week to spool back up with moderate intensity.

but…you said this has been happening for a month, so I’m really not sure. Looking at your calendar it seems you keep trying to push things with maximal efforts (ramp test, possibly going for PRs on Strava, etc.).

That’s my best guess, might not be it, can’t really tell.

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I’ve been looking at the calendar too. One of the weeks in the last month was a recovery week that was cut a bit short, which certainly hasn’t done me any favours. But then the problem started before this so…

Also, as far as outside rides go, they’re nearly all Z2. The only exceptions are a couple of rides where I’ve been out the day after a bad workout and tried to do a bit of intensity, just to check I am still capable of it! (and to make up some TSS and TiZ)

Looking at your calendar, you were cutting short on many of the workouts weeks ago, but still adding in a lot of other riding on top of it. My suspicion is that you’re burning yourself out. I’d take a week or two entirely off the bike. It appears you haven’t taken a week off the bike entirely in a very long time. Your body may just want a little bit of R&R.

And if you want to progress through the plans to improve, I’d put extra emphasis on completing the hard stuff before adding in additional Z2. If you’re cutting short, you are putting money in the bank still. But if you’re cutting short regularly (which appears to be the case) then you’re leaving a lot on the table.


Sounds to me like you’ve lost fitness. Not surprising, really, considering the reduction in training load from what was already only a modest level.


How long has it been since you’ve taken a whole week off the bike? How long since a rest week?

It sounds like a lot- commuting, weekday unstructured rides, plus TR workouts.

You could have been fighting off a virus as well.