HIgh intensity days/ week

New to training and am a bit confused.

I am currently doing Mid Volume sweet spot training and its going well. MId volumes says Tues, Thur, Sat, Sun are difficult and Wednesday is low intensity. So, 4 hard days, 1 low intensity day and 2 off days.

But, I’ve read on other sites/sources that I should do only 2-3 high intensities days a week and the other days should be zone 2 days. Or is that not correct?

Sorry, just hearing different advice and am confused. Hope that makes sense. Thank you for any advice or clarification.

It depends on what you consider high intensity. Definitely doing training sessions with prolonged time periods in Z4, 5 & 6 are going to be very taxing and don’t think many people would recommend doing them for more than a few days a week regularly (block periodisation can prescribe a very dense series of intense workouts for a short time period/1 week).

Sweetspot and Z3 workouts are less taxing, and some people find they can do multiple sessions a week or back to back sessions without difficulty. The higher the intensity the more taxing they will be though (sweetspot is more taxing than low z3).

so I would say Z2 you can ride every day without rest (although you would be sensible to take a rest day eventually), Z3 rides can be done less often. but 3+ days a week is not unheard of. like all training, it is individual, you should experiment what works for you.

note that if your FTP is set too high these sessions will be higher intensity. not only will you be training the wrong energy system during the workout, but they would also be much more taxing than intended

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Yep - SSBHV has 6 days/week with 5 days at SS - SS is not high intensity - you should be able to string 2 or 3 days together if your FTP is set correctly - there is a MASSIVE difference between 90% and 100% FTP intervals…if you are on MV you have the o/u to compensate for the lack of volume but when you start adding these then you do need more rest.

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When I was coming up, I would typically do 5-6 high intensity (i.e., glycogen-demanding) and 2 lower intensity workouts each week, with a total training volume of 10-12 hours per week. Other successful P/1/2 cyclists I knew trained similarly. Most, though, spent a lot more total time training, but with less frequent intense sessions (e.g., just a mid-week training race plus racing both days on the weekend).

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Could not agree more…if your FTP is truly something that you can hold for “approximately an hour,” then 88-94% of that shouldn’t be “high intensity.” However, a lot of people have improperly set FTPs, so 2-3 consecutive days of “sweet spot” is actually 2-3 days of threshold, which will put you in a deep hole pretty quickly.

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Feel free to modify if you like. A lot of people follow a low volume plan and add additional Z2 to it to get the distribution you are looking for. Regardless of what folks are saying below, SS and the subsequent Build phases are intensity and intensity can overwhelm at times. I think you need to do what you think you can handle and then build from there.

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Thank you for all the great responses. It appears my FTP is pretty close estimate as the workouts are fine. I find myself wondering at times if I should kick up the intensity of a workout so I think I’m in that sweet spot.
thanks again.

I’ve thought about this too, especially after listening to the Fast Talk podcast and watching Dylan Johnson videos where he often references this Seiler’s review.

TR kind of goes against the 2, maximum 3, high intensity sessions per week since most plans (especially build ones) have three very high intensity workouts and one moderate intensity SS session. IMHO, as others have said, SS with a properly set FTP (for example with a TTE test instead of the ramp) shouldn’t be considered high intensity.

However, SS is still harder in many ways than Z2 and doesn’t provide the same adaptations in the long term, so if you have time you can swap the Sunday’s session with a Z2 workout as suggested in the weekly tips. As a matter of fact, the TR guys said on the podcast that originally they scheduled longer Z2 rides on Sunday but they saw that compliance was too low and decided to swap them for short and more intense workouts.

And if you have even more time, you could drop one intense workout and do a longer Z2 ride, basically going “polarized”. You can find a huge amount of information here Polarized Training Discussion (Fast Talk podcast & Flo Cycling podcast) and here Polarized Training Workouts & Experiences (80/20).

Personally, I tried for a couple of weeks to follow a more polarized plan, doing high intensity on Tuesdays and Thursdays, a short Z2 ride on Wednesday and longer Z2 rides at the weekend. However, I didn’t like it because during the week I’m more stressed and short on time, so the quality of the workouts and of the following recovery suffer, plus doing long endurance rides (3/4 hours for me) back to back on Saturday and Sunday was kind of boring and repetitive.

I would have preferred to do Tuesday and Saturday as intensity days but I don’t have more than 1.5 hours during the week to do long rides, so now I’m basically following TR MV plans, adding a bit of Z2 at the end of workouts and when possible (aka if I ride outside) a longer endurance ride on Sunday.

In the end it comes down to the time you can dedicate to training, the more time you have the more Z2 you will have to ride.

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I think it’s just down to the coach/plan. When I did a non TR one it tended to be shorter but harder and more days per 5d week but group riding at the weekend (sat maximal hard, sun easy, usually, some times both weren’t max but were hard). Which seemed effective but and even at the start of lockdown when I would chase long solo segments (30-60miles) but other things have seen me lose motivation.

I’m tempted to do a similar shorter but more intense plan :+1:

It’s a while since I did plan builder, but is it not 3 hard, 1 moderate and 1 “easy”, rather than 4 “Hard” for mid volume?

It depends on the training phase, the volume of the plan and, as said in previous replies, your definition of hard workouts. If you believe that >0.8 IF is hard then yes, there are 4 high intensity sessions or even more in HV plans per week.

However, with a correct FTP, SS shouldn’t be remotely compared to Over/Unders, VO2Max, Anaerobic, etc. workouts in terms of effort and subsequent recovery needed, so we can call it more moderate intensity.

Then of course, if you go out and do 94% (which is still SS) for one and a half/two hours (assuming your TTE is good enough) you’ll feel pretty shattered afterwards, but TR plans don’t have such workouts.

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Huh. That’s a workout that I used to do once a week, and always found it highly effective (not to mention time efficient). A bit odd that there is no TR equivalent.

There are: on workouts page select Sweet Spot zone and duration you want. Longest are 3h.

Last week did Whiteside +2 (for final interval had to drop to Z2, though), right now going for Marcus Baker, next week Saturday it’ll be Pendleton. I was getting little bit cocky after Chad’s short VO2max boost block, those workouts make me humble again :wink:

Increase time in zone (i.e., longer intervals) before increasing intensity.

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That is what I was wondering. Thanks for the response.

Tagging on to the end of this thread rather than starting a new one.

Due to me now introducing strength training and some new limitations to when I can train on the trainer, I think I will experiment with 2 “high intensity” days a week as opposed to 3. I also like watching Dylan Johnson’s video and, although he doesn’t seem to expressly say, reading between the lines it seems that he considers high intensity to be anything above Z2.

I commute to work most days of the week and have previously found General Build to give me good FTP gains but I have twice failed to complete Short Power Build due to illness or fatigue. This is a shame since at least some of my focus is on cyclocross and crits.

Coming off the back of Sweet Spot Base, I’m now going to go in to General Build again, but this time doing only 2 workouts per week, and using the spare time to just add more zone 2 work outside.

I’ll report back with my findings.