Help - Is a Base plan the right one to start all the time?

Hi, hope you can all help me.

Target: Trip to the Alps mid June (I know its not long enough to train as I should!!)

Current Stats:

FTP: 260 (3.6 w/k)

Over the last 6 weeks I have averaged around 580 TSS per week but have sore / tired legs and not really progressing on the FTP front (up from 250 at the start of the year) but want to make the next 11 weeks count before my trip.

Have started the SSB Mid Volume II but really menatally struggling with the lower than usual TSS, although I am sure (I think) this is the best route having a more structured routine.

Do people recommend starting at the Base Phase if you have a degree of fitness and scope for TSS or would you recommend jumping in higher up the Training Plan process?

Been using TR on and off for the last 3 years and just starting to get more structured so doubting the effectiveness of it, should I hold my nerve and just go with it?

Any advice would be great.

Thanks lads and lasses

I personally found I got great gains in SSB mid volume 1 and 2 both times i’ve gone through them… For a trip to the alps I wouldn’t be too worried about ever reaching Specialty, and would be more focused on threshold and SS intervals. As long as your FTP is set correctly and therefore the workouts are challenging enough. I took an approach of doing all the Over/Under workouts as a guide to FTP changes, and every week I’d increase my FTP by 1% (3w) and see if i can get through the next week like that. Ramp test at the start of the next block would put me within 1 or 2w of my self adjusted target.

I’ve wondered a few times how good my steady state fitness could get if I just repeated SSB 1 and 2 over and over and over whilst steadily increasing the FTP setting?

Thanks Nico,

Increasing the FTP each week sounds like a good idea and will help me mentally with the process I think. struglling with the days off the bike at the mo as I am used to commuting 30 odd miles a day, but think the structored process and proper recovery is the way to make me stronger on the bike.

Thanks again for your input

My only comment on that method is that you have to be honest with yourself! If you find you fail to complete a workout at the prescribed intensity after you’ve adjusted your FTP then make sure you consider if perhaps it was a jump too much. It’s also a good motivator - I told myself that if I dont complete a workout then I would put my FTP back down 1% so it’s a good way to convince yourself to push through the burn.

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You could also try the high volume plan, it’s a ton of work, and all TSS isn’t created equally. Hard intensity intervals doesn’t always add a ton of TSS but it’ll yield a lot of fatigue. What I’m trying to say is that riding 10 hours outside in what ever pace you feel like and riding 7 hours of structure for the same amount of TSS isn’t equal. The 7 hours of structure will add more fatigue.

What I’d do is do the mid volume plan and maybe add a ride on Friday where you can do a longer zone 2 ride, then you should be tired when you’re done with the ride on Sunday.

Long accents are often done in sweetspot or below, so starting with sweetspot base is perfect.

Thanks Daniel

Yep, trying to get my head around effective training. just pushing myself on the commute at Z4, Z5 every day just made me feel tired and I dont think was very effective in improving the FTP. Its a mental thing for me and I need to understand and believe that sometimes less is more!

Thanks again

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I did the exact same thing last year, but now that I’ve done SSB mid vol I and II, and half way through General Build mid vol, I can say that I never did the same amount of work on my own. Sure I’d ride up the same short hill five times, but on TR it’s 15 times the same effort, maybe I rode one or two 20 min sweetspot, but on TR it’s four 20 min sweetspot intervals. It’s just more work with these structured workouts in my experience.

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Have you soon gains?

Take it with a grain of salt since I had an injury in September that took me out for about four weeks - I had an FTP of about 276 before (20 min test) which at the time was 3.7 W/kg.

But I started TR in October (ramp test from here on out):

  • October 17th (start SSB MV I - piss poor at following it):
    • FTP: 240
    • 3.3 W/kg
  • November 13th (start SSB MV I - again, very decent at following):
    • FTP: 243
    • 3.4 W/kg
  • January 8th (Start SSB MV II - near perfect completion):
    • FTP: 264
    • 3.7 W/kg
  • February 27th (Start GB MV I - I’m starting the 4th week of it now, following almost to the letter):
    • FTP: 276
    • 4.0 W/kg

So yes, I’ve seen a lot of gains, and I really like that there’s a structure I can follow rather than going ad hoc. It helps with consistency and intensity – for me at least.

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