Hitting a brick wall

I think that there’s a growing consensus with regards to interval training. Two, maybe three hard sessions a week. The remainder is endurance work.

Why not skip the hard weekend workout and replace it with a 2+ hour endurance spin. Try and build that up to 3+ hours. Rides like these can have really positive effects on your mood, your mental health and your cycling performance. They’ll also enable you to get your nutrition plan sorted for your bigger events.


In Joe Friel’s book “Fast after 50”, he recommends a maximum time in zone for VO2 max of 15 minutes for younger athletes (ie. nearer to 50 yo).

It’s an interesting read.

I currently miss the intervals at the end of workout that have more time in zone than I want.

The received wisdom also seems to be that training VO2 max is perfectly possible after 50, but it might take longer. So spreading the same number of workouts over a longer period may be required to get the benefits.

Unfortunately TR doesn’t have ‘masters’ plans that take any of this into account, so you have to alter everything manually.

Reduce the intensity of the workout, not ftp. And if the third workout still seems to be too much, swap in an endurance ride instead.

And I think this is especially hard for a new-ish rider. You are building a base far beyond the micro-cycles represented by a 4-6 week plan. I takes years in my opinion to build up the resiliency to handle the volume of these plans gracefully, but struggling isn’t an issue in my opinion. Just try to keep your awareness of how you are feeling and dial it back when you feel you need to. No plan or coach will be able to know exactly how you feel so you need to have an attunement to your own body and adjust accordingly.

1 Like

I hope you are doing a lot more saddle time than just following the LV plan. For 150 mile fondo ride, I think the priority is endurance and practicing fueling so you can complete the 150 miles comfortably without bonking and having a miserable day.

SS Base plus a lot of extra low intensity endurance riding might be a good plan. Consider an easy “rest” week every third or fourth week. By easy week, lower volume a little and don’t do any intervals until your legs feel fresh. Keep doing your easy endurance riding. The new TR polarized plans might be a good bet.

You might want to take a look at your sleep/rest/recovery and also nutrition.

Also, how much riding do you do outside of the TR program?

It sounds like you’ve made some really good progress.

I’m not quite your age but I know I don’t recover as fast as I used to.

I know the last time I went through power build it was pretty brutal. If you need more time to recover, maybe only cut back to 1 or 2 Vo2max sessions a week?

I think slightly lowering the intensity of the workout and then increasing it if you feel good is a good option.

I struggle and I turn 39!

OP - maybe step back and think of your ultimate goals here. It appears to be more about getting fit - using TR is awesome and will help you, but if you don’t want to get faster increase every strength and reduce your weaknesses - then struggling a workout is just unnecessary pain.

You are early in cycling - start to find out what you can do, what you can’t, and where you struggle. Don’t get beat up or mad about it, just take notes.

I’ve been doing advanced training for 10 years now, and I still mostly stick to the low volume plans. The medium volume is too much intensity for me. Chad has said this over and over in the podcast. Most people misinterpret the medium volume plan as being “medium difficulty”. This is false. It is VERY difficult, and he has said this many times. Stick to the low volume. Nail those workouts, and give yourself easy “fun” rides in-between. You’ll have a lot more fun and still get really fast.

1 Like

Hey, 35 and up is masters!

@doctorhammond I’ve bought a handful of training plans from different companies. My humble opinion is that Coach Chad made plans with pro level intervals. Intervals more appropriate for younger or more experienced riders. Some on this forum will tell you to htfu or change FTP. Both of those options are bad advice. And I’ll be clear, I think Coach Chad does a great job at progressively developing energy systems.

Ok, so what to do if you want to stick with TR plans? My personal belief is you should do as many intervals as possible. And for vo2max/anaerobic work, because those efforts are not tied to FTP (unlike sweet spot and threshold workouts), adjust intensity to push yourself to the breaking point on each vo2max interval as Coach Chad says the in the workout description.

In other words, don’t judge yourself as failing workouts. Get an accurate estimate of your FTP. Do the work you can. Get faster.

Having used plans from other coaches, I think going that route is also a very good approach in particular if you can’t help but judge yourself based on completion of each workout.

Again I’m not a coach, just some random guy on the Internet.

Hope that helps.

1 Like

Thanks everyone for the replies. Some good advice there and makes me feel less of a failure for not being able to carry on with the plan in the same way I was before. Some specific responses to comments below but I really do appreciate everyone’s thoughts.

@splash - yes. C2C. I did it 2y ago but had a major mechanical issue at exactly 100 miles (to the metre) and had to stop. Last years was cancelled…

@AJS914 - weather and COVID has hampered longer rides up until now though I’ve got a few in: but yes. Longer rides are featuring heavily in my training from now until late June.

@bbarrera - yeah. The build seems very very intense. I’ve managed most of the work so far but it seems I don’t have the experience and trained physiology at the moment to get through it. Like you say: perhaps more for the pro or experienced club rider? I haven’t heard Coach Chad’s thoughts on this so will look them up in the podcast.

I think the comments about age are really helpful. It’s hard because I’ve never really been fit before and so don’t really know what I should expect of my body. I spent most of my 20s and early 30s drinking and working too hard. But I clearly need to accept I cannot just go and blast and recover like I occasionally did before. I think the cumulative fatigue of many months on the turbo has slowly taken its toll and I perhaps should have gone easier sooner. Like many (all?) medics I have an exaggerated competitive streak / type A personality!

So I think I’m going to enjoy the rest of my week with the kids, then get back to it but drop the intensity a few notches and retest as usual. Also if I don’t feel like it, not beat myself up. And ride more at weekend with the club on the social ride.

Hopefully that’ll carry me across the Lakes, the Dales and the North Yorkshire Moors before midnight on 26th June.

Thanks again, Chris.

1 Like

Hey Chris you got this, just work hard and recover as needed. More volume is better. On the podcast I’ve not heard much on the topic, but there is/was an older blog post where Coach Chad stated masters plans were being worked on. But Adaptive Training appears to be the priority, and I can understand why TR prioritized this over a masters plan (but its still needed IMHO). There are several masters threads on the forum, here is one: Plan builder for masters [Feature Request] you might want to scan for ideas.

This. Was going to suggest finding a good club but sounds like you’re already in one. Cycling with other people is one of the best ways of dealing with feeling low IMO. Always put enjoying your cycling above optimising your cycling, in the long run that’s what’s going to lead to the better consistency and volume over months and years that builds fitness. And will have you still out there enjoying your riding at 60, 70, hopefully 80…

1 Like

Stick to what you can handle. I would think that 2 hard sessions per week would generate enough stimulus. Supplement them with longer, easier rides.

In the context of this thread, having an appropriate and achievable plan is more important at setting up an athlete for success. I don’t know about you, but TR’s build made me feel like a loser even though prior to TR I was able to build a higher level of fitness by coaching myself using fundamentals. Don’t underestimate the psychology of failing workout after workout.

Which comes back to my point about training plans for non-elite new riders. TR is teeing up Adaptive Training as part of the solution to this issue, but when that will be generally available and how much that will close the gap are still open questions.

Think we’re coming from the same place. I totally get the psychology of failing workouts. Hence why I always make sure that I’m regularly doing group rides which can’t be “failed” and which remind me why I enjoy cycling (watching a yellow line tracing over blue boxes wasn’t what first attracted me to the sport!).

So in the context of the OP yes I would fully agree with the advice above to dial FTP down a bit until he can complete workouts. But I would also stop doing workouts like Fish at the weekends and go for a long club ride instead. Ideally a ride where you can get a decent amount of sustained work at ~SS-Threshold so you’re getting a similar training stimulus to Fish. E.g. a flat ride in a small group where you can do some long turns on the front. Or a hilly ride where you can do the climbs at ~threshold and then regroup at the top or on the descent. Way more enjoyable IMO than a solo structured workout, and if your ~threshold effort turns out to be 10W lower than your TR estimated FTP then you don’t feel like you’ve “failed” - you’ve still done your turn or got to the top of the hill!

@doctorhammond some great advice ^^ from @simonicusfacilis

I’d second, third or even fourth the club ride element. That will get you hopefully some good long rides in at varying intensities. Over the last few years I’ve stuck to LV and mixed it with club rides. I’d swap out rides/workouts depending on feel. I’m 55.

The workouts have helped me no doubt but the much longer club rides including the coast and back have been invaluable from a mental perspective of long days in the saddle… fuelling and so on.

Also done a couple of C2Cs and if yours is the coast to coast in a day I’ve not done that one yet (and it finishes around the corner from my mums) but still plan to. :grin:
Was going to do the Reivers Way off road next (thanks Covid)

Think it’s all complementary… But you have to enjoy it and when you look at the trainer and think “nah” or it’s sunny - head outside. I don’t think you can really have junk miles in preparing for something like that.

And to make it relevant I once tried a build phase and it really really messed me up. I won’t say never but I don’t think I’ll try that again in a hurry. I see the TR side as keeping me at a level there or there abouts.

Thanks (again) everyone for the tips.

The VO2max work is interesting. I can get to the end of a session but I end up with a HR of 170 plus (think I’ve maxed out at 174). This makes me feel weird and probably not in a good way. And then I’m knackered and down for days. I think this is telling me something.

I’ve looked back over my training history and it turns out the last time I attempted build the same thing happened. I stopped and then totally lost mojo for 8 weeks and did nothing, wiping out and gains I’d made over the preceding few months. Won’t make that mistake again.

It’s really interesting hearing other people’s experience of the build phases, especially people of my age. It sounds like it’s just too much for me at the moment so I need to dial back, especially as my target is a long endurance ride rather than necessarily high power. And I need to listen to what my body is telling me.

Interestingly there are parallels with having the frame on my broken leg. I was told by my surgeon not to overdo it (and he also told me that he was almost certain this advice would not be heeded). But he was dead right and if I did too much it would set me back more than if I’d just taken it steady. Eventually I got the feel of what I could do on the leg and how to understand the messages from it and when to rest it. It’s the same now. Just the message source is different!


I went through a phase where I was constantly fatigued by intensity (group rides and chasing KOMs). What cured it was a block of 10 weeks of very low intensity riding (base miles) - 10+ hours a week of riding at talking pace (70% of HRmax). After that block, my FTP was up 20 watts and I was crushing Strava PRs on the group ride.

@doctorhammond I’d start with this on VO2max intervals, it was my earlier point about elite intervals. I prefer simple intervals, starting with something like 4x2-min all-out on each interval, then progressing to 4x3-min, etc. Based on what you said, 8 minutes (4x2-min) or 12 minutes (4x3-min) is plenty of stimulus. If you are on sustained power build and just did Fish -2, then Kaiser +2 is coming up and that is 3 sets of 3x3-min for a total of 27 minutes. See the difference? Kaiser +2 is nine 3-min intervals, while a classic starting point is four 3-min intervals.

And FWIW I’ve also determined that TR SS base does not properly prepare me for vo2max work. What does appear to prepare me better - doing a longer base (4-6 months) with up to 80% of my time doing aerobic endurance / zone2 workouts. During that time I’m also keeping my top-end fresh, but the focus is on building a “stronger base” with all that aerobic endurance work.