General Build HV - The journey to getting stronger in the bunch

Hi all. New to TR and just wondering if people could share some guidance on where to put my efforts in regard to a plan.

I usually ride outside however, with the COVID environment I am inside working from home and thought I would give the world of structured training a go rather than just slogging it out up Alpe du Zwift with no real goal in mind! I have heard great things about TR so really looking forward to the experience.

My goals? Over Summer I head down the coast and I ride with some pretty fast guys out on the road down there. I have always managed to ‘hold the wheel’ in those bunches but never really have the ability to pull a meaningful turn at the front. Those rides generally last anywhere from 1-3 hours and range from 30 - 90km in length - with the shorter rides being a lot quicker and a lot more intense than the 3 hour rides AKA ‘smash fests’. Looking to be able to hold my own in the bunch and also take turns to help the group out rather than just sticking deep left and hanging on. I would also like to better some of my PR’s on the local Strava segments down there. Most of the segments are flat, however, there are a few short punchy climb sections that I love doing as well.

Ideally I would like to increase my FTP to be above or around 4.2w/kg - 4.5w/kg and to also be able to rock up to those coastal rides over Summer (assuming we are allowed to travel to the coast by then!) and join the ‘faster’ bunches and be able to take rolling turns in the group, as well as longer sustained turns at the front pushing higher watts at threshold or above threshold for up to 5 minutes.

Would welcome any feedback or thoughts on which program to do?

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Try throwing in some dates into plan builder and see what it gives you? If you put the most experienced level when it asks you your experience with interval training it will skip base phase and start from build.

Thanks for the reply @tomm much appreciated! I did the above and it said to do a General Build MV before doing Rolling Road MV so I was pretty close with my initial guess of doing a Sustained Power Build MV and a Rolling Road Race MV.

Hopefully I am on the right track … I was reading about the Short Power build and I see that it is suite towards Crit racing. I am sort of torn between the General (TR suggestion), Sustained (my first thought) and Short Power builds (more crit specific which is probably the pace those groups head out at) now.

Not quite sure which way to go.

I had the same conundrum as you with my previous build phase, GB or ShPB. GB actually has plenty of short power stuff in the plan also with some threshold on other days. In the end I got a 9w bump from GB at the end of the phase. Obviously what worked for me might not necessarily work for you but just thought I would share my experience.

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Thanks @Matthew_Taylor always good to hear some insights from others that have been through the program. Sounds like you got quite a lot out of the GB program. Great result!

Did you end up doing MV or HV? Did you find that the 1-2hr sessions were long enough to impact your riding outside and off the trainer?

I also went with General Build having been undecided between that and sustained power. My decision was based on the mix of workouts rather than the thought one would be better than the other. I honestly think that unless you are very high level, if you pick a plan or some kind of progressive structure and stick to it you’ll see the gains. I’m not that sure there’s too much between them for the average Joe to really notice :man_shrugging:t2:

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Given you’ve done SST on the trainer before, I agree you could get away with skipping SSBI MV.

I’d suggest starting with SSBII MV rather than jumping into Build straight away though. That plan has SST on Sundays, but also mixes in 1x VO2 max and 2x threshold sessions as well as 1 x Z2. I’d recommend this plan to prep you and familiarise you with TR before starting Build - which may feel a bit brutal at times IMO.

Fair point @tomm … I think both builds seem like a good option and both would offer gains of some sort.

Brutal is in the workouts are too hard to complete @4ibanez? Or brutal as in the TSS and overall load of the MV Sustained Power Build is quite high over the course of the 8 weeks? I like the idea of having an SST on Sundays as per the SSBII MV as I would probably swap that out for a 1 hour outdoor session whilst we are in lockdown - depending on weather ofcourse. That could be another option to do instead of the builds.

Well, I start the ramp test tomorrow. Will be interesting to see the results. I have read a few posts here saying that the FTP that the ramp test generates might be too high in some instances and that that relates to sessions that are set at too high a resistance and bordering on impossible to complete during the training blocks. Either way, very happy to start a TR program of some sort - hopefully that will be locked in tonight - and see what happens over the next 8 weeks !

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I don’t know what your (indoor) training history is like in terms of TSS, so not really commenting on that.

It’s more the intensity of the workouts I’m referring to as brutal. The final week of General Build MV (7.5 hours) - when you already have fatigue in your legs - gets up to about 550 TSS, which is a fair amount of indoor intensity IMO. I got through them, but all 3 of the intense workouts crushed me. YMMV…

PS swapping a 2 hour SST like Baird Peak or Tallac +3 for an hour outdoors won’t give the same adaptations. I’d at least try to extend your outdoor workout to 2 hours minimum.

I ended up doing a modified MV. Tue/Thu workouts i added Z2 at the end of each workout to make them 1.5hrs, Wed I started increasing to a long Z2 ride starting at the prescribed 1hr adding 30 mins each week until I hit a 3hr Z2 ride, Sat I would add more Z2 to make it up to 2hrs and Sun i would always go for the longer Z2 option and just make it a 3-4hr Z2 ride.

I would say yes, but also prior to this particular build phase I wasn’t adding Z2 so I couldn’t say for sure.

GB should be fine as it covers most zones although, the best advice I could give is to try the program that you are most likely to enjoy.

Well, the General Build program has started. 1 x Ramp Test complete and 1 x Palisade complete. Really looking forward to seeing what results come out of the next 8 weeks!

Now that football is over for me, it feels great to get stuck into some structured training again and have some focus moving forward. Feeling really positive about it all! Just have to fuel up on plenty of Weet Bix over the next 8 weeks!

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Build phases are awesome because while they are hard you know you’re getting stronger! Enjoy the next 8 weeks :muscle:

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Thanks @IceBear … appreciate the support!

Well, three weeks down of the General Build HV program. Have enjoyed it so far! Have the Endurance week now (Week 4) and then an FTP test early next week. Will be interesting to see the results.

I’m a numbers man so love looking at the TIZ for each week and seeing where I have ‘spent’ my biccies!

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Well, I have completed the first 4 weeks of GBHV. I have stuck to the program but I have altered the Endurance sessions a little and have chosen to do longer ones instead of the 1hr ones that are prescribed. Things like swapping the Pettit rides (1hr) for Boarstone rides (2hrs) etc.

The process is definitely working.

General Build - Start of Week 1
FTP: 275w
WEIGHT : 73.2kg
W/KG : 3.76w/kg

General Build - Start of Week 5
FTP: 292w (+17w / +6.2%)
WEIGHT : 71.8kg (-1.4kg / -1.95%)
W/KG : 4.07w.kg (+8.2%)
TTE : 30min 30sec

First time in the 4w/kg territory for me. Have never been here before!

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