Help! I'm stuck

Is there any evidence out there stating that 10 hours of Z1/2 is better than 10 hours of SS training? Recent studies discussed in the pol vs ss tread indicate there is non out there. Actually it’s pointing more towards pyramidical.

We are on the same page. I only tried to tell him that stepping off the bike for two weeks won’t magically solve his problems. Progressing will take time and work. As will figuring out what works best for him.

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Oh I’ve got no problem with Tempo or SS instead of Z2 for their needs, especially in the more time crunched weeks. Sounds like no big problem handling that kind of intensity. But TR SS base is a lot of threshold and VO2 Max too. I’d cut that out this time around, just for a base phase. It’s January, plenty of time for that later in the year.

That said, I’d argue that with limited aerobic training background a 2hr Z2 ride beats a SS workout (since those are likely to be shorter). I think OP needs more long aerobic rides.

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Reading the mentioned TR blog, they state SS base is the most efficient way to build base. Traditional Z2 endurance base building should only be done if you have plenty of time 10-20h per week or more. Unfortunately, I cannot dedicate that amount of time.

At this point I’m thinking to:

  • take a week or maybe two off - ride if I like, but limit intensity, don’t follow a plan etc. Maybe do some extra mobility work, or some running. I guess 1-2 weeks and then perhaps another 4-6 to rebuild may not be that much in the big scheme of things? I just have this nagging concern about losing that fitness, but then again I’m not gaining much at the moment either…
  • then restart a 6 week SS base cycle. MEdium volume averages 350-400 TSS/week, while HV averages 533/630 TSS going up to max 11h/week. Should I try MV again and give that a go before looking at bumping the volume or immediately go to HV?

During the last few weeks I was doing 2h SS sessions like Tallac+4 (6x15m), Eclipse+3 (4x20m), etc. I would think those are more efficient than a 2h Z2 ride?

Sounds good. I think I’d recommend a modified HV plan. MV has over-unders and VO2 Max, which I really don’t think you need right now. I’d pick the HV and throw one of the shorter days per week away, based on how you’re feeling.

That’s an excellent idea. Get rid of the structure for some days or even weeks and do what you feel like. Assuming you get some hours in per week you won’t lose much (if anything).

I experienced the HV sweetspot plans to be easier than the MV plans. Mostly because those HV plans have no intensity at all. To make sure you are not doing too much perhaps replace one of the sweetspot sessions with a similar in duration endurance ride.

If you decide to do that please be aware that no VO2 work for some weeks might result in a poor ramp test result. In that case take your base FTP and bump it up a bit and see how it feels.

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What volume build plan should I do after a HV SS base? MV or HV? In case of MV, will the TSS drop not be too much?

Concern about going HV - given my time constraints, there won’t be much to go for after that… aren’t there ways to try to milk more gains from the MV plans? I was trying to do that by adding a 2h Z2 ride each week to the MV plan and that was my plan for the next MV SS base as well. Trying to figure out what the minimal dose of extra stress would be to start making gains again. Concerned that the jump to HV may be too much?

I personally did both SSB MV and HV multiple times. I experienced the HV plans to be easier. Though that only applies to base. For build I have only done mid volume plans and that was about the most I could stomach.

I tend to add 5+ hours per week of endurance riding and running. So that takes a toll too. Hence the lower stress build.

If I were you I would try to do the HV base plans (maybe minus one sweetspot session but plus one longer endurance ride) as per the weekly tipps and then I would go for a low or mid volume build plan. The build plan I would supplement with as much Z1/Z2 as possible. The idea behind that being to nail the intense stuff but also keeping the stress high.

If you decide to do that please make sure that your FTP is somewhat accurate. Sweetspot should feel demanding but never borderline hard.

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+1 to all this

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I’ve done no VO2 for 3 months (SSBHV 1 & 2) and I have an all time high FTP. I imagine that will be even higher after this week’s recovery. It’s my first go at HV plans so the volume alone has made me able to smash the ramp tests.

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Hence the “might”. :wink:

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@dpues, I agree with most what’s been said above. You probably need a break to reset and start over with more volume. I had the same issue in 2020 where I mostly plateaued and saw little little gains throughout the entire year. I was doing the MV plans and I think I reached my potential on mid volume. So I took three weeks off the bike and tried the high-volume plans starting in November 2020. The results have been amazing and I’ve never felt better during training. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to Sweet Spot base mid volume. I’m curious to see how HV Build will go, but I’m ready to drop one of the intensity days for z2 if I feel like it’s too much.

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I would disagree with those saying that you must continue to maintain your fitness and not take time off exercise. If you were doing some other form of exercise during the 2-week time off and then try to return to the bike, you won’t feel any change. Your hormones such as testosterone need to return to normal.

I understand that you do have a concern of loosing fitness, but if you look at the bigger picture this is beneficial in the long term.

edit: your time off should really be time off. No strength training, running or any other form of exercise.

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What did you do during those 3w off the bike? Any physical activity or nothing at all?

Also, if I move into HV SSB after this ‘break’ won’t the ramp be too much? Should I just jump right in or ease in and gradually build up eg a week prior or something?

Do you have any proof for your claim that one has to be completely off exercise for weeks or is this just bro-science? Ditto for the hormonal change.

I did nothing for the first week off then added some walks with the wife the last 2 weeks. I really needed a physical and mental break. It was difficult to do nothing at first, but I knew I needed it. After the 3 weeks I added a couple weeks of unstructured easy/fun rides outside. Then I started SSBLV while I added another easy z2 ride each week to eventually lead into riding 6 days a week. So this transition period actually happened gradually over 11 weeks before SSBHV. My TSS looked like this with SSBHV starting the week of October 26th:

EDIT: As a side note, I actually also concurrently took that time off of all cycling related activities. Meaning no forums, videos , bike maintenance or anything cycling related. A clean break and refresh of my cycling hobby.

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the blog also is a good source.

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@yajvans Should have read your own source then. The passages bellow were copied from the blog post. Also on the podcast they discuss that everybody does it differently. By no means they come up with a general recommendation to not do any exercise for weeks. On the contrary they even encourage you to do whatever you need to do in order to again become eager to train.

Maintain Your Aerobic Base

The longer you’ve been training, the slower you’ll lose your aerobic base. It takes about 25-35 days before you see a decline. The best news is that you don’t have to do much to touch up your base. Over your break, do an endurance workout every 10-14 days. A 90-minute trainer workout like Baxter or a 2-3 hour outside ride is enough. This endurance work doesn’t have to be on the bike. You could run, hike, or go for a swim. It just needs to be something that stimulates your aerobic system.

Establish a Strength Training Regimen

The benefits of strength training for cyclists are numerous. You want to begin a weight training program that you can maintain throughout the year. Plan to start out building your strength, then transition to maintenance as you enter the race season. Halting strength training will diminish the benefits. You can also plan out how you are going to incorporate lifting with riding. Just make sure to lift on your easier days and keep your off days for rest

As per Dylan’s video, it’s not the first one that is somewhat controversial. His last video about sweetspot training was equally questionable. After all he has very limited knowledge as a coach and the science doesn’t necessarily back his claims up that often.

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Doing some reading today - I came across this article

" Why would sweet spot cycling be overprescribed? If a new cyclist gets on a training plan with tons of sweet spot, they’ll improve a lot! And therefore be happy! BUT THEN THEY PLATEAU. EVERY TIME."

Anyone having some scientific insights into this to either support or refute or comment on this?

To my understanding the science out there is inconclusive. Some studies indicate pyramidical is best while others claim the same for sweetspot or polarized training.

Discussions on the matter pop up frequently on the forum. Here is one of the more recent ones:

For what it’s worth if you add endurance miles to the TR plans your tid will be pyramidical.

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