Help me Plan my Training for Next Year

Hi all,
With the cycling season quickly wrapping up, I’d love some insight on what to do in the next months.
I’m 40 and I used to race when I was in my teens, then after a very long hiatus (15-20 years), in 2017 I got a race bike and I started riding again. In 2017 I rode 1500km, in 2018 3800km, and at the moment I have almost 4400km under the belt. I’m 5’9’’ and weight 151 lbs.
I have no interest in preparing races (although I’m considering riding a mediofondo in 2020) and I mostly ride for fun, which means I don’t need to peak for a specific event. However, as it’s the nature of the sport, I enjoy getting faster, better, more comfortable/competitive when doing group rides.
I’ve never done structured training before the end of January/February/beginning of march, when I completed the low volume sweet spot base I and beginning of sweet spot base II, which I didn’t finish because of the nice season outside. The sweet spot base training has given me an amazing form in march, april, may and, even if it faded a bit, for June and July as well. In August I have taken 2 weeks of rest for a vacation, but I’ve been riding again since then (although not as fast as during the Spring).
I have a feeling that my main limiter is leg strength: it’s hard for me to pull big gears and to overcome this I have a tendency to spin (I easily spin 100 rpm or more on average). This is not a problem if I’m in tip-top shape, but maybe a limiting factor if I’m not, or at least this would be my argument.
The last piece of the puzzle: I ride most of the year where I work, which is an area of mostly rolling hills. However, I grew up in an hilly area of climbs between 15 minutes to an hour, and those are definitely my favorite terrain to ride on, which is where I usually am during the summer months. It would be great to improve on those climbs!

What would you suggest in this situation for the next winter months (october, november, december, etc.)? A regular progression, with sweetspot base, build phase, specialization? or would you do something else (Base? Specialization?) until January, and then with the new season start the regular progression?
I’ll probably be riding twice a week (either on the trainer or outside) and will probably be hitting the gym also twice a week, at least until March 2020.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

I’m no expert, but i would star now with sweet spot base 1 followed by 2. Then i would, if those long climbs are what you are wanting to improve on, do sustained power build and climbing road race speciality. All these phases has three workouts per week. If that is too many times per week for you, you can also do the enthusiast plans. Basically, what you want to do is a lot of sweet spot and threshold work.

1 Like

I agree with @vetleg, except if you aren’t preparing for a specific event and just want to get stronger / faster / fitter, skip specialty and repeat base & build.

SSB is probably the best base to do, maybe the first time through do it at LV level, and if you are feeling good, add in addition workouts or bump up to +1 versions. When you are just getting into structured training, better to pick a slightly lower volume plan and add in workouts / bump up workouts than pick a too high volume plan and consistently fail out of workouts.

Good luck, and check back in and let us know how things progress.

Considering my (perceived) lack of strength (and I believe consequent FTP threshold), wouldn’t it make more sense to work on a plan that can improve it?
Last time I tested my FTP was around 207, meaning around 3.0 watt/kg.

Consistently doing SSBLV and tweaking it will improve your fitness and perceived limiters. The key when starting structured training is to not fall into the trap of trying to do too much and getting overly fatigued, failing workouts, etc.

Once you do 1 complete plan, then figure out if you can handle higher structured training load (e.g., move up to the mid-volume plan).

Gotcha. I did complete the first plan of Sweet Spot Base Low Volume back in February, and started the following. I’m not going to be able to do medium volume though, for two reasons:

  1. I only have access to my trainer from Friday to Monday (back in February I did the three workouts Friday, Saturday, and Monday)
  2. I don’t think I could commit to spending so much time on the trainer.