Feedback on Pyramidal Training Plan

I did SSB 1 and 2 last year. Unfortunately I struggeld with knee pain over the last year and the winter season so that I have am able to start with the structured training only now. My goal is to prepare for the tuscany trail end of mai (4 days bikepacking each day 120km, 1750 elevation).
Since I burned out quite heavily during SSB last year I wanted to try something else. And after reading a bit I came across the pyramidal training which looks appealing to me. So I worked on my own pyramidal plan and would like to have some feedback on this:

Basically I have this (roughly) distribution 78% Zone1, 19% Zone2, 3% Zone 3 with a 9 hours week.

Monday: 120 Min (Zone1)
Tuesday: 120 Min (Zone1)
Wed: Rest
Thursday: 60 (Zone1) 20 Min Zone3
Friday: 90 Min (Zone2)
Saturday: 120 Min (Zone1)
Sunday: Rest

Every 3 Weeks I want to do an FTP Test and adjust everything according to it.
The Zone1 training will be based on the Fletcher Workout (65-75%FTP).
The Zone2 training will be based on first week Antelope, 2nd Eclipse, 3rd Galena.
I am not sure ab out the Zone3 though. Since based on the share it would only be 20 min. Maybe I should do a 40 min every second week or a 60 min every third?

Are there any big objections regarding this kind of plan?

Any ideas or improvments are welcome.


1 Like

I think its better to approach it from the ‘what am I working on to prepare for Tuscany Trail in 16 weeks?’ angle, rather than polarized vs pyramidal. Your example is 9 hours/week, which is plenty of time to take a more classical approach of doing a lot of endurance riding and adding 2 or 3 days of structure.

For example this is from the (no longer on Strava) CTS/Strava Gran Fondo Intermediate plan:

And the intervals for week 3 / day 2:

The other interval days for that week are 4x15 (5min RBI) Tempo, and Saturday’s long 3.5 hour ride with 2x20 Tempo with every 5 minutes doing a 30 sec acceleration. In the CTS system tempo work is done with a 70-75rpm target. Some details here: CTS Cycling Training Glossary

Using those Strava/CTS plans as the basis for my self-coaching, I pushed my fitness to all-time highs back in 2016-2017 to support epic climbing events. And now again I’m almost back to those all-time highs using a FasCat coach that has a similar approach - more endurance, fewer intervals, always focused on building the aerobic engine (my weakness).

Food for thought, hope that helps.

@WindWarrior feedback is good, and if you choose to dig into that, make sure you look at the glossary he posted. CTS uses terms that are specific to their system (they all do) so you don’t want to be confused thinking they mean one “tempo” when it’s actually more like SweetSpot (e.g. when CTS reads “Steady State”, that is Threshold. So get that mapping down.

As for your proposed plan, I would be most concerned with Friday. All (most) of the 90 mins in Zone 2? You’re basically proposing (Coggan) Tempo zone for that day. I’m not debating that you should or shouldn’t ride in that zone, but that you think you’re going to dedicate 90min (or thereabouts) TiZ to ~.75-.90 FTP. That’s more like a (small) weekly total and not sure it’s doable in a single session after the Thursday intervals.

On the forums ppl used to do this all the time, but not seeing it as much any more I guess (a good thing). You are trying take the outcome (intensity distro) and use that as the input. The “what should i work on” or “what needs to be improved” are better inputs, was @WindWarrior suggests. Ask those questions, and then answer them with weekly hours, type of workouts, etc. The intensity distribution with COME OUT OF that.


You have to think also how you progress the plan. I am falling naturally into pyramidal distribution, with similar hours and I can tell you that 2h z1 rides will do a little in a long term. You will need those one longer ride to move a needle a little.

If I were you I would go with some TP plan from fastcat or tim cusick or if you want to try new things - check Join app. They have something like plan builder, with setting a goal and daily availability. Their plans are very sensible and manageable - more suited for you if you want to go this route. When it comes to no fuss training plans for a normal human being they are the best on the market in my personal opinion.