Gaps/commuting/running in the training plan

I’m in my third year of road cycling. I don’t race, but I want to improve my year-round fitness and become faster cyclist. I prefer longer (80-130 km) solo rides on rolling terrain and look forward to completing my first imperial century or 200 km ride next season. My typical week consists of 250-450 TSS, depending on time I have available and weather conditions.

Decided to do my first full structured training plan this fall/winter and got Trainer Road annual subscriptions. I was using Zwift workouts and Sufferfest without very structured plan last two winters but decided to invest time and money in full TR training plan as it’s really next level.

I guess this would suit my needs:

Sweet spot Base mid-volume 1 -> Sweet spot Base mid-volume 2 -> Sustained power Build -> Century Specialty

Ideally, I would like to complete this by March or April, then enjoy and maintain gained fitness without a strict plan until the end of July, get off the bike in August (family vacation), start a new training cycle in September.

Looks good?

My questions are:

  1. I don’t consider myself a runner, but would like to maintain some running fitness, as a tool for keeping some of TSS while I’m forced off bike couple of times a year for 1-3 weeks (family vacations, business trips, etc.). Is it OK to substitute lower TSS Wednesday workouts (namely Carter and Petit) in my TR plan with a running workout of equal TSS?

  2. With no fixed event at the end of the cycle, I’m flexible to schedule a start of training plan earlier or later this fall. I will, however, be forced off the bike for last 14 days of December. I can keep some of TSS for those two weeks with increased running sessions. Should I schedule the start of my training plan earlier so that those two-week gap falls between my Base and Build phases, or later so the gap falls between Build week 4 and Build week 5?

  3. If I go with later, where should I cut the plan before the gap and how to restart it after the gap? My gap starts in the middle of the week (Thursday, December 19th) - should I match that week with Build week 4, reschedule biggest workouts for Monday (Townsend) / Tuesday / (Boarstone) / Wednesday (Brasstown), skip Whorl as the easiest workout, and then will the end of the week with running to exceed planned TSS for that week and preload? Then do as much running in the following week (no cycling)? Then start the next week with some running, get back to bike on Thursday, January 2nd and repeat the same biggest workouts from week 4 (as before gap) and simply roll into week 5? Does that sound right?

  4. I like to commute when the weather is nice. My daily commute is around 20 TSS both ways. With 3-4 days a week, that’s 60-80 TSS weekly. I only commute when the weather is nice enough. I guess I will be able to commute 3-4 time a week for first 4-6 weeks of my training plan. When commuting, should I skip planned workout or lower its intensity, to match planned TSS and have consistent growth of planned TSS later in winter when I ditch commuting altogether?

I would suggest running replacing an actual workout, not a recovery ride, sonce (especially early in running career) they will not be “recovery” at all. Also, be careful to not overdue the running suddenly during your two weeks off in December and injure yourself (acute or overuse). Rule of thumbs for running is increase 10% of mileage per week, you could stretch that to 20-25% but that’s not going from one run per week to 4.

As for commuting, slowly add it in as extra TSS and as long as it doesn’t impact your ability to complete workouts it will just be additional base TSS, not needing to replace workouts. I plan my commuting (60 each day, 180 ish per week) by doing a lower volume llan than i otherwise would (LV instead of MV, or MV instead of HV).