High Volume SSB and over 50 years old

I’ve read through most of the HV threads, including the HV mega thread. I’ve only seen two comments that relate to my question. How have users over 50 faired on SSBHV?

I just learned I will be WFH for the rest of 2020. So no travel, no commuting. So I have time to do it. Looking at my TSS, I’ve been averaging 475-525, with one spike week up over 800. I’ve done both LV and added in lots of Zone 2, as well as MV. Never tried HV. I’m 53, have been on TR for 2+ years, on the bike for about 4 after a 25 year hiatus (raced after college and in grad school).

Thinking about giving HV a shot, maybe with the modification of 3 weeks work, recovery week, 2 weeks work if I feel I need the break.

@Nate_Pearson Don’t know if you would be willing to share any data on how users over 50 on a SSBHV plan.

My racing is long distance gravel so it would seem to be a good base prep. But don’t want to kill myself either.

I’m 51 and did my own variation of SSB HV 1&2 late last year and I’m currently repeating SSB HV2. I try to follow the workouts pretty close during the week and do a long ride on Saturday. Fri/Sun vary based on my schedule and how I’m feeling. I’ve had no issue meeting/exceeding the TSS targets, but that’s with some unstructured time in the mix. I can really feel the benefit and building fatigue of the tues/wed/thrus blocks. Tuesdays are a cake walk and by thursdays it takes some mental focus on those 2 hour sessions. I’m ready for an easy week after 5 weeks of SS, but it doesn’t leave me wrecked like 3 weeks of build. I’ve been averaging 700+TSS per week since may and I’m feeling pretty fresh.

I don’t think there is any better training for gravel events where you have to put out decent power for long periods.


I did SSB-1 HV with a few mods on the eve of turning fifty six. Coming off a two year base-build (outside, semi-structured) it was pretty straightforward. Focused on 90-95rpm cadence and ended week 5 with my best HC climb ever (18 miles, 4500 feet climbing). Call me mentally weak but SSB-1 HV didn’t leave me hungry to keep pushing hard, too many hard days for questionable return on investment. In other words I think the risk/reward is slanted too far to the risk for masters. But you might find the risk/reward tilt the other way if you’ve got a well oiled aerobic engine from years and years and years of riding.

I did SSBHV1 at the end of last year, it was tough towards the end. I didn’t start HV2 as I saw how much time I would have to spend on the trainer. I do like indoor training but not that much.

I can handle volume but that plan would have been too much for me.

I’m 54 soon with over 25 years of cycling

I’m 55 and just finishing up my second round of HV SSB 1/2 after my A race BWR got moved from May. A couple of observations:

  • Did it last year as prep for BWR and it kicked my butt–could barely finish sessions (I ride when I wake up). Hit a record FTP for me though of 226 (3.7w/kg) as part of the build

  • After racing my first cross season last fall here in SoCal went back into HV SSB in Jan and felt much stronger, even though my beginning FTP dropped to 197 as I began. Sessions felt way more doable.

  • Fast foward to July and I’m sitting at 235 FTP 3.85 w/kg and the workouts continue to be achievable–though admittedly Thur’s sessions can be tough and I generally do the Sat workout inside followed by 2 hours of endurance outside. Sun is usually a long ride in the mountains of 4’ish hours that ends up a mix of tempo and endurance. If I push too hard on Sun I often have to swap Tues to an endurance ride to get fully recovered. Usually stay around 600-700 TSS per week. BTW, I won’t rest until I hit 4w/kg :).

My profile: 5’6, 61’ish kg (135). Grew up a runner/wrestler (HS only). Ran most of my life. Did Tri’s for 7 years and then went bike only when I moved to SoCal in 2016 (the riding is just that good!). My big learnings 1) Ride 6 days a week and don’t swap the structured rides for unstructured outside rides–outside unstructured TSS should have a discount factor 2) Use the FTP from your ramp test–regardless of the blow to your ego. Better to complete sessions than be dying every day.

I am 56, similar done TR for several years on the MV plans seen good FTP improvement.
I have just finished Base of HV plan , on my recovery week.
Like the others the HV plans are tougher. Sitting for 2 hours with Galena, 90% intervals that are flat… I swapped them for Eclipse, at least they vary up and down a bit. I ended up taking the training outdoors on the Garmin at least once a week. 6 days a week with only one rest day needs serious commitment and a very understanding partner.
I will be testing on Monday next week, not sure i will have got much more out of HV compared to MV, That’s probably because i do longer outdoor rides than the plans so probably am doing HV as my TSS are over 700/week. I like that extra day recovery that the MV offer. And if the weather is nice , i go out on the rest day for a long Z2 workout.

You can do it mate! It’s no biggie!

I guess it’s best to ignore those kind of discussions on the forum and make your own experiences.

That’s at least what I did. I ignored all those opinions and started last year with the mid volume plans. After one base build cycle I switched to high volume and never looked back. Pretty soon I even added extra riding and running. About 12 - 15 hours per week in total. As I now recently got a kid, I have reduced the volume to 10 hours. Though it’s all still super doable.

If I would have listened to all those opinions on the forum, I would have done a couple of low volume plans and perhaps a mid volume base plan. Now with the kid I would be doing hardly anything. Glad I have ignored all that. 2.5 to 4.5 watts per kilo in a bit more than a year.

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In your 50s and just got a kid? Late bloomer!

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Haha i don’t necessarily qualify as 50 yet. :joy:

things start changing in your 40s… This season I did a couple high volume blocks (8-12 hours/week) but with fewer intervals and got faster versus doing TR SSB-1 HV and then SSB-2 MV with mods.

Sometimes fresher is faster, particularly if you benefit from more recovery (at any age). You won’t know if you don’t try, so experiment and figure out what works! I’m definitely sold on 8-12 hours/week to build a strong base of aerobic fitness, the question then becomes how you fill those hours and organize the year.

Absolutely, it’s pointless to worry about other people’s opinions when it comes to volume and intensity. What works for one likely won’t work for another person (and vice versa). Though chances are that one will surprise themselves. :v:t2:

my point is that what you can do in 20s and 30s is probably both different and not what you should be doing in 40s and 50s. You may not agree with my opinion that TR HV plans are designed for people in 20s and 30s, but I’m not the only one pointing out that more intervals and threshold heavy plans are not designed with the masters athlete in mind.

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Totally agree. It’s almost like a couple with pets saying, “Go ahead and have kids, I have pets and they are no problem at all” :stuck_out_tongue:

I am all for people giving different training approaches a shot. But I am also for trying to learn as much from others experiences (good or bad) so I can reduce the time I need to get to whatever goal I have in mind. So saying to ignore other’s experience is a potential mistake. Right to not necessarily take it for gospel, but it isn’t worthless either.

This volume question may still take a full attempt for each of us older riders to learn. But I agree that it sure seems the HV options in TR are likely a bit much as a general trend, for masters age athletes. At the spry young age of 46, I am still rolling Mid Vol TR plans as a rule. But I am paying extra attention to my sleep (including regular and scheduled naps) along with modified schedules (extra recovery weeks) from the TR defaults.

I am interested to try some more plan mods along the lines of what you have mentioned. I’ve even considered snagging some FasCat plans to really see what a different approach it may be and yield. I agree that many masters riders likely need some form of adjustment compared to the default TR plans.


Then your opinion on high volume training is not formed from the experience of doing high volume and intensity at over 50 years of age. As much as people may want to deny it you need a touch more recovery time as you age and how much varies from person to person.


I think intensity becomes a growing “TSS multiplier” as we age. At 51, I can do 4 weeks at 800 TSS and feel pretty decent if most of it is sub threshold. Contrast that with a few 650 TSS weeks that include significant V02 max work and I’ll be pretty shot by the end of week 3.

I’ll get a decent bump from a few weeks of v02 work coming off base, but I can start going backwards from there if I do another v02 block. Just too much fatigue.


Well it’s formed by seeing what others do and did. I think it’s too easy to generally say it’s like that when you are that age. There are way more factors than age at play. I have quite a few older people in my family and friends circle who put down huge volumes and intensities and are doing just fine. The oldest of them is 71.

Nah, I don’t argue that. It’s your opinion and it very well be true for you and also others. My point is more that we are all different in our physiology and our life stresses. OP will only know what he is able to do after he has tried it.
Though OP seems to know what volume feels like. He also seems to have a good understanding of recovery. I don’t see why he wouldn’t be able to make it work.

I did HV SSB last year at 50 …no problems. High volume build with those 108% intervals in a 2 hour ride. Lasted 2 weeks until I got ill and my weight crashed down. That said the 12 weeks of base HV increased my TR FTP from 236W to 280W so it works. MV is ok because using o/u etc I got from 280W to 298W this winter just gone - so multiple methods work.

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Thanks for the replies.

While I recognize that we all react to training differently, I also know that age is a pretty good category definer for training (unlike say height or build etc). So I was looking to get TR users over 50 (arbitrary line I know) who had either done SSBHV successfully or failed. And hopefully thoughts on it. And I have. Seems like at least some have done it successfully.

I think I may give it a shot (at least through SSB1) and see how it goes.

On a side note, I think doing LV plans and adding lots of Z2 is a pretty good strategy. But in my quest for 4.0 watts/kg, I think I going to give this a shot. Probably will not do HV build though.


Very wise HV build is horrible (Sustained power anyway) - Managed the long versions of Fang Mountain and Avalanche spire but the 2 hour 108% FTP stuff is a killer. The base is very doable though - there is a lot of residual fatigue when doing stuff like Tallac+4 etc but it is manageable with focus …I just found the real super threshold stuff wiped me out - especially trying to do it after a full day at work. :open_mouth:

I recommend trying it this way:

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