Does anyone else skip SSB and just do builds?

Hey All,
I’ve been a TR user for about 4 years now, and I’ve always done SSB1 and 2 low volume (schedule in the winter is often too tight for more volume). I’ve never really seen an FTP increase in this phase aside from when I was brand new to structure. I started using outside workouts and followed short power build low volume and got an 8% bump. In previous years I hadn’t used outside workouts and always fell off the structure wagon when the weather got nice. My question is: does anyone just do builds and not do SSB in the off season? It seems like I respond much better to VO2 max type stuff. I feel like my base is pretty good, I was able to do 4-7hr rides over the summer following SPB alone in the spring.

I’ve only been using TR for ten months and doing structured training for about 18 months so please keep that in mind.

I have done back-to-back builds but ended up bailing during the second build phase due to work / life stress and needing a break from the intensity.

I’m finishing week five of Short Power Build High Volume and plan to do SSB-MV II before my next build, which will be Sustained Power (SusPB). However, I’m tailoring it in a couple of ways to transition from SPB to SusPB.

  1. I’m shortening it to four weeks - three weeks of work and one recovery week.
  2. Tuesdays focus on VO2 progression to work me up toward three-minute intervals (Taylor, Bluebell, Mills).
  3. Thursdays are for threshold (Donner, Darwin, Lamarck).
  4. Saturdays and Sundays are sweet spot from the HV plan. SSB-MV II usually has over/unders on Saturday, but I don’t enjoy them, will get plenty during SusPB, and want a break from the intensity.

This is my first time trying something like this so we’ll see how it goes.

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Generally, skip base training at your own peril. People generally respond well to VO2 max, but it creates “brittle fitness” that you hear referenced on here and the podcast, easy come easy go.

I think what is more telling from your post and something to focus on is the comment:

Two thoughts come to mind;

  1. Is there something you are doing during sweet spot base that is leading to this being ineffective? ie. trying to do too much volume and not getting enough rest, not enough consistency due to weather/commitments/etc. More volume isnt always the answer.
  2. Are you seeing the big pops in build BECAUSE you put in the foundation during base work? I did a ton of traditional base last winter and while I didn’t see much FTP growth during that time (lots of long z2 work), as soon as I started on build type work i saw large improvements because my aerobic engine was so much stronger.

Looking at your calendar you look to run a 190-240 TSS 6wk rolling average in the winter, and then more than double that as you head outdoors and into the summer. Is that a bigger piece of this? Then looking at the consistency of workouts during the winter that could also be a factor at play:


that’s really interesting, I appreciate the insight! I’m sure that the increase in volume over the summer has some net positive effect on my overall fitness, and perhaps the base did more than I thought. Over the years I’ve definitely seen an increase in my overall fitness, without necessarily seeing an increase in FTP. I’m betting that the increase in consistency of the spring build phase outdoors had some positive effects.

One thing I should have mentioned is that my work schedule doesn’t coincide with the TR calendar… my work week is Sat-sun with 3 12 hr shifts, but with the randomness of those shifts I often have to move workouts to the next week, giving the appearance of fluctuating TSS. I have a set schedule now of working sat, weds, sun so that will be a HUGE help in getting an accurate average.

I am also tempted to skip base training because I hate Sweet Spot and long efforts, but I have found that muscular endurance is a limiter for me, and when I do base I feel so much stronger. It seems like you know your body and if you feel like your body is already fine without base then don’t do it, there would be no way I could do a 4-7hr ride without base. I agree with @RONDAL that having a big base might be the reason you get a big bump with build. What races are you targeting?


strangely enough I decided to stop racing for the foreseeable future… I actually like training and suffering more than racing, and with my work schedule racing will be really tough. I had to go to a weekend only schedule plus one weekday (I’m a nurse) in order to be able to coordinate child care with my wife and her job. Its great to be completely open to experimentation though. I’m looking at it as an opportunity to figure some things out :slight_smile: of course having a newborn over the winter is going to make training tough :woozy_face:

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