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

I prefer your version, well articulated. I’ll pass the edits on to the typesetter and traffic the revised comp for press approval.

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This really wasn’t the issue. Before AT, the plans wouldn’t change if you took a day off or did a Z2 workout swap. So if you were supposed to do 2x12 SS this week and 2x16 next week, you’d miss the 2x12, but still be expected to do 2x16 the following week. Sure you could manually switch that back to the previous workout, but most didn’t. Instead they pushed on trying to do the 2x16, failed, got pissed and deleted the whole block instead of having to manually change every workout hoping you got it right. I did this more than once. Same if you got sick. The plans didn’t adapt and people fell behind and ultimately didn’t finish the blocks. Since AT, I have to believe they saw a vast decrease in failures.


I will also ad I think with AT, workout alternatives, and TrainNow that TR is improving and making it a little more helpful in creating more flexibility and adjustments automatically.


This would be 50/50 as polarised 80/20 refers to days not TiZ

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I was one of the people who ran into a “burnout”. First time one year ago (trying for two months), second time last November (trying for one month only, polarized base plan).
I forgot what the issue was last year, but this year it was this: Hard days felt easy, easy days afterwards felt too hard because I wasn’t recovered enough. If pushing through easy days, I couldn’t manage the next hard day. If I left out the easy days, the hard days where much too easy (I even started switching for “breakthrough” workouts). AT didn’t want to settle down properly in my case. I probably answered some questionnare incorrectly.

But I figured it was because of missing “base”: Never did much endurance sports in my life and my body simply wasn’t used to the stress. Compared to colleagues I noticed that I could not afford two hard days in a row. Also my nutrition wasn’t good enough.

So I switched to some kind own “polarized plan” (1-2 HIT/week, lots of easy rides, make sure I am sufficiently recovered). The results are showing - I am hitting PRs all the time, and it’s fun.

But I will come back to TR in some months: I do like the product, I like the gamification aspect of it and it will probably help me to adjust the ramp.


Is there a reason you were trying to do two hard days in a row?

Just fun days and once a multi-day tour. Not for training purposes :slight_smile:

Nothing wrong with that.

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“We conclude that high-intensity interval training triggers opioid release…” :joy:

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Hmm… Not wanting to argue so I will give my point of view as I have switched to polarized plans.

I am fing thrilled with them. When I chose it around a month ago I thought it was just the old set in stone polarized plan… Did a ride… then got… CHECKING ADAPTATIONS??? WTF? Polarized is adaptive. Holy SHITE! I am on a low intensity plan of 3-4 hours a week but have been using train now to get extra time in around 7-9 hours a week until I got sick and almost every ride I get an adaptation.

Surprised and thrilled.


This has been asked for many times in many different ways. Its really never gotten anywhere.

I’m not smart enough to add anything to the discussion, I just want to say it’s cool TR doesn’t censor/delete this thread. A lot of brands would have deleted a thread like this before any would have seen it. Debate is good for everyone.


If anything, they have added features. Without threads like this, I doubt we would have e. g. the polarized plans.

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Hot take.

I think any highly detailed pre written training plan is not worth the paper, or pixels it’s displayed on.

These become more worthless in a linear ratio with time.

1 day - possibly ideal
1 week - still possibly ideal
1 month - very unlikely to be ideal
Months - worthless

In order to prescribe any kind of training plan, a considerable volume of information on the athlete needs to be understood.

This information needs to be updated daily.

Without this information, the plan, any plan, is trash.

I see great potential in online training prescription. However, if the software does not have the required data before it prescribes the days training, it’s the dark ages.

Ideal online training prescription.
Software captures athletes sleep data.
Software captures athletes 24hr HR data.
Software captures athletes 24hr HRV data.
Software captures athletes weight.
Software captures athletes well being survey data.
Software collects athlete survey on current fueling stasis.
Software understands athletes time availability.
Software understands athletes recovery availability.
Software prescribes that days training.
Software records training data.
Software collects athlete survey on session.
Software collects athlete survey on session fueling.
Software analyzes training data.
Software adjusts future prescription.
Software recommends fueling strategy.

Without talking to the athlete, even with all this data, it could still fail.


Like weather forecasts. Hard agree. :+1:


Like anything the reality is likely somewhere in between. We often shift workouts on the day and sometimes even in the middle of the workout. But there also is a framework or a “big plan” or where we want to go and how we want things to progress.

Like you said, there are just too many variables to consider, especially teaching and coaching teens. Up all night on the phone talking to a friend? Studying all night and not sleeping for that AP test? Not eating lunch (super common). Someone posted a pic to Instagram but didn’t tag you? (Day ruined). That said, I think having a general plan is a necessity… otherwise you are just making it up as you go and that certainly can help you be better but is hardly optimal.

You need to have a plan. You need to be flexible.

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