Dylan Johnson's "The Problem with TrainerRoad Training Plans": it's gonna be a busy day around here

I’m a latecomer to this thread but it did validate what I’ve said in numerous threads previously, there is too much intensity across a 6 month TrainerRoad program (SSB, Build, Speciality).

Many have said the data will back TR’s success, but the data will also so there are quite a few who don’t finish the entire program, and in many cases don’t even finish a part of the program, again, by program I mean SSB, Base, Specialty. I’ve maintained my TR sub because I’m grandfathered in at the original price, but I realize now, I haven’t done an entire 6-8 week plan in a few years, and everything about the plan is at odds with what a coach would prescribe, especially so far from my A & B events.

I’m sure my comments are nothing new in this thread, but after finally watching Dylan’s video I can say with confidence that I agree 100%.

And, I’m still a TR subscriber for the time being.

EDIT: I’ll add this… I’ve been looking at 12-18 week plans on TrainingPeaks, for $50-60 I can get a 12-18 week plan based on the two disciplines I race per year, Cyclocross and XCO (I don’t do any specific training for road races or crits), that’s 24-36 weeks of specialty training per year that aligns to my A-events. All this time I’ve been paying TR $100 year and not using it, and while the plans are somewhat tailored to an event type, they’re not specific to me, my goals, or a mixture of training types.


There is a debatable fact that when you cite any scientific paper, it doesn’t mean the paper itself is flawless or is presenting the absolutely true. Especially these studies mostly done by small size of atheletes, if this is the COVID vaccine trial, this is not going to prove anything, human body is very complicated and everyone is different. I am not saying there is no value from these studies, but it is more for reference, you got to try it out yourself ( in this case you can do both training in a period of time) and find out which way is doing better for you. Just like other say, there is no black and white, but the research gives you a chance to look into different training approaches and show you something might be working better or worst for your body! I don’t like what Dylan Johnson always presenting these studies to pretend his point is right that kind of attitude.

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Legend :+1::+1::+1:

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No, like I said, more recent investigators seem to have become afraid of pushing subjects so hard.

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Not sure what you mean by low T but if your talking about Testosterone, my prostrate cancer is not effecting it. Thanks for your concerns!


I just watched Dylan’s video last night and all of his points are valid. We all know by know that most of the TR plans are too intensity focused, but like many have said it makes indoor riding more doable, higher TSS/hr, the list goes on. I am mainly a MTBer and half the guys I ride with just go out 5 days a week for 1-2 hours and hammer. Its basically 6 month of intervals, lol.

I think the SSB MV and HV plans could be miles better if they just replaced the sunday rides with a longer lower intensity ride and in general back down on the intensity. Looking at many others TR SS rides including myself, combined with the ramp test putting users FTP’s a bit higher than other tests makes for many of the 10-20min SS intervals more of a threshold effort. Multiple threshold efforts back to back in a week are not productive.

I really like the way FasCats does sweet spot, the intervals are generally just a few % easier than TR, but longer. Combining that with a descending stress model during the week seemed to work good for me a season back. They start with say a 4x10 SS one day, then the following day is tempo, then the third is zone 1. Then a rest day and repeat sort of.

Anyone here have good luck with a FasCats plan?


We don’t have a consensus on that. Some think the plans are too intense and they are quite vocal about it. Ditto for some (eg :tipping_hand_man:t2:) who have great success with the plans as is. Many even add to it and others again follow them as prescribed.

For what it’s worth, I rather have a too intense plan with a proper progression which I can tone down by replacing one workout rather than a too easy plan where I have to figure the progression out for myself. 🤷🏻


Just FYI - I think they only refer to people as ‘coach’ that are certified through USAC or some other governing body. Basically meaning they’ve taken the official training courses. Feel free to give her whatever title you’d like, but I think that’s the reason they don’t call her Coach Amber


Very similar (think) - based upon SS as Frank is one of the early adopters/developers (?) of the SS system.

Could be totally wrong as I’ve been self coached for a while now and not up to date on offerings.

I think this might be the thing that is missing? better tools to let you implement your own interpretation of the available science?
Or at least let me adjust to my level of motivation/commitment in a more structured way than me replacing the workouts (I always feel a bit “finger in the wind” when I do this myself). Maybe that would undermine the confidence the product to potential customers though…
Or be insanely complex, one of the two :laughing:

Have you listened to Franks " How I INVENTED SWEET SPOT TRAINING" ?podcast, sorry capitals as I cut and pasted it.


In the distant past, yes.

I like the FasCat content, despite not necessarily agreeing with all of the positions taken, but usually quite entertaining.

I think it makes sense to have a predefined plan which we can adjust to our needs. Ultimately, either removing an intense session and/or adding endurance too the plan. For some going for a minus/plus option might also do the trick.

Anyway, my point was more that it is easier to cut out an intense session. When adding a ride (not endurance) one has to worry about progression etc which is a bit more of a challenge. :sweat_smile:


Yes, that is exactly how I add volume to my training. Tried to follow a medium volume a few years ago and completely failed. Defaulted back to low volume with endurance rides added and it works well for me. Goes more toward the piramidal training plan.


I am going to go out on limb and guess the some of main talking points for the podcast tomorrow are going to be similar to the things that have been in many previous podcast and summarized nicely in one posted in this thread.

Most cyclist are not Dylan Johnson or similar level professional Cyclists caliber a

Most people who train with Dylan are more likely to be higher level cyclist than some dude off the street. Financially there is a big difference between 20 a month and whatever he is charging for one on one coaching

From a pure watts perspective low intensity for Dylan Johnson has much more intensity than normal people

Trainer Road probably has pretty strong understanding on who their base customer base is.
I am going to hypothesize that more customers are willing to comply, maintain subscriptions using current plans
from my n=1 perspective TRUE HIIT is very hard to do just once let alone on any regular frequency


Since we’re bringing up the advent of SS, figured my comment in another thread would be helpful here:

Not sure how many of you are following the ST thread on the topic,
but I found this RChung assessement quite profound Dylan Johnson Trainerroad review (Page 2): Triathlon Forum: Slowtwitch Forums

If you recall when “sweet spot” was first proposed (I think by Frank Overton? maybe in 2003 or 2004?) it was only a schematic concept: that there’s a place where you can get good stimulus without such high intensity that you can’t recover. If so, then you can do more volume in this sweet spot and get more total stimulus. But, importantly, if you go back to that first concept, there weren’t any numbers on the axis for power – it was just a rough schematic diagram. People then proposed that the “sweet spot” would be just below FTP but no one at the time ever did any research on whether that’s true . In addition, people who were doing a lot of sweet spot were getting better, so it was hard to look at alternatives that also helped you improve. You’re not comparing two things where one helps you improve and the other hurts you; you’re comparing two things both of which help you improve but one of them may help a larger fraction of people improve a little bit faster.

So, going back to the original sweet spot, it’s starting to look like the assumption that it’s around 90-95% of FTP may not be right. It may be that sweet spot is closer to 70-75% of FTP, and then you do one workout per week that’s really, really hard. If it were the case that sweet spot really is closer to 70-75%, you wouldn’t lower FTP (because then the hard workout each week would be too easy).


I’ve been doing TR (SS MV Base) for nearly the full 3 months - probably did over 95% of the sessions (all at 100%).

Not a watt of improvement - it simply didn’t work for me. In fact I’ve found real road rides really really hard.

In previous years I’ve done traditional base - 1~2 sub FTP sessions per week plus 5~6 hrs Z2 (road) and always improved.

Breaking News - We’re All Different!


Fwiw base training is not necessarily supposed to improve FTP. Whether that is SS or polarize or pyramidal, except for those new to cycling/training where pretty much any training leads to gains base is about building a sufficient constant training load to proceed with additional training that is more specific to goals. Physiological adaptions can occur during base but they may not translate directly to more threshold power especially if using a ramp test as the measuring stick.

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While doing traditional base I didn’t go over FTP - so personally I wouldn’t call that polarised (unlike the Wattbike base plan)

Ah! semantics don’t matter, whats does matter is that I’m slower now having done three month of SS training.

So my engine isn’t as good as it was 3months ago and I’m less well prepared for the Build Period.

I know that I gain a lot for those long Sunday rides - which I don’t get from 2hrs SS.

BTW I’m actually fine with that - I now know does / doesn’t work for me :slight_smile: