High Volume vs. Mid Volume - Not just volume and time differences

Looking at the tradeoffs between high and mid-volume plans, I read the very informative TR article on this topic. To quote from the opening, “the version you choose will largely depend on a few key factors: time availability, lifestyle stressors, training history, age, and recovery profile.”

Having just successfully finished the Sweet Spot Base 1 High Volume (SS B1 HV) training block but considering spending a bit less time training the next 6 weeks, I compared my SS B2 HV adapted by Plan Builder post my ramp test at the beginning of that block and the SS B2 Mid Volume option.

What I saw appears to be 2 quite different plans in the energy systems they are working and training goals rather than just slightly more or less volume (ride time and TSS).

Specifically:

  • The SS B2 HV plan shows 4 SS and 2 Endurance workouts per week until the recovery week with about 9 hrs of ride time and 500 TSS +/- per week

  • The SS B2 MV plan shows just 1 SS and 1 Endurance workout per week but has 2 Threshold and 1 VO2 max workouts most weeks with roughly 6 hrs of ride time and 350 TSS per week.

The mid-volume plan’s 3 sessions at or above threshold makes it look like a Build plan while the high-volume plan’s workouts no higher than SS still seem like it’s still a Base plan.

If I’m reading this right, it looks like I need to decide between whether I’ve got enough base to start my build in which case I go with the mid-volume plan or whether I should continue building base with the high volume plan.

Am I reading this right or missing something? Thanks for your input.

The HV plan doesn’t have the same intensity because of the higher volume. MV will also give you nice adaptations.

Go for it based on what feels good and time/recovery/life stress, and trust the process.

when is your first race of the season? Even if it’s a C race, the higher intensity of the MV may better suit your racing needs for early season races.

Thanks for the input. Just seems a little bass backward - you spend more time training with HV but get less adaptations toward a higher FTP and w/kg than with MV. Also, why call the SS B2 MV plan a “base” plan when it really isn’t?

These things don’t build a lot of confidence that I should “trust the process.”

The second part of the base phase starts you towards the increased intensity of the Build phase. You could equally call them “Pre-Build” or call the sequence: Base - Build Pt1 - Build Pt2.

Calling it “Base pt2” means that you can nudge people towards doing “Base - Build - Base - Build” cycles rather than sticking in Build all the time and burning out. Look at the various threads along the lines of “can I do multiple builds back to back?” along with the responses.

Lowering volume is always gonna have to come with an increase in intensity to compensate. That is naturally going to blur base/build phases.

I doubt there is any significance behind a traditional low intensity base period followed by a ramping intensity build period other than making sure athletes are mentally and physically rested coming into a new season and don’t over extend themselves when building back up after a break.

The higher volume an athlete is, the more difference one should see in their training schedule. An avg Joe training 3-5 hours a week should not try to scale down the types of workouts of a pro doing 20-40 hours a week.

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I switched from MV to HV plans 1.5 years ago and have never looked back. I actually think the MV plans are the worst TR has to offer, just too much intensity. That clearly applies to SSBMV 2 which feels nothing like Base. I’ve never been fitter and feeling better than coming out of SSBHV2.

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The SSB HV plans are great for a advanced/elite amateur. I had great success with them last fall. Going into the old build plans from them though :(. Wish I had AT then.

I’m doing a run/bike focus now. Pretty much the HV workouts, just replacing a few days with runs. See how it goes.

The LV and MV don’t mesh well with running. I have had good success when learning to do interval training on both the LV and MV.

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I agree, I think this is also why so many people (as now TR recommends) should use LV plans and add in more endurance rides rather than using the MV plan.

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Thanks for all your responses. From what I read from your experiences with these plans my takeaway is that, far from being gradations in volume, the differences between mid and high volume are a significant difference in their intensity/target energy systems to the point where the mid-volume base plan is not a base plan at all. I really appreciate the reinterpretation of what SS MV B2 is and how to use it for what it really offers - @bobw, @TrippHolt - and the candid feedback about the MV and HV plans from your experience with them - @MI-XC, @jjmc. Cheers and Chapeau!

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