How do you guys "train" with no goal for the season?

So despite my best intentions, I’m coming to the realization that this season is just not going to be a good time for me from a competitive stand point. Between now and September, I’ll be balancing finishing my PhD, finding a job, moving, and getting married and I just can’t dedicate myself to training and racing like I have in the past. But, I’d like to stay active as it’s a great stress release for me and maybe jump into some local races if I can manage it this year and ultimately come back in 2020 ready to go and qualify and race Leadville.

My question is what have people in a similar situations done in the past that allowed you to train/ride even if racing was low priority? I figured I’d do the low volume plans to keep my schedule relatively open but if my schedule allows add in other workouts/rides during the week to supplement the Tuesday/Thursday rides.


I’ve not been racing previously so perhaps not in line with your questioning but I don’t really have a defined A event this year. I’ve got a pretty challenging self-supported ride in mind for my own personal aim this year but as it’s not organised the timing is really flexible.

I’m also finishing my PhD this year (yes, I should be writing right now) and have a 4 month old baby to look after so I am in the same boat regards reduced time to commit to training.

I’m on LV plans too and I find it a pretty good balance in these winter months. I’d love to do more but I could see MV/HV plans being more difficult to stick to without the additional motivation of a big race. Things should get a little easier once the weather improves also.

Good luck with your life events this year, I get the feeling that riding will help you to decompress.

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Count me three. I’m in the same situation but being in the humanities maybe have it a bit easier. In any case, I am doing MV mid-morning which serves as a nice barrier for the early morning hours to be reserved for writing. I then do everything else I need to do after the workout. In terms of racing, I just picked a few local races and randomly picked an A-race to simulate a full season and I think I’m not going to plan for the summer (yet) but instead re-evaluate after the spring.

Congrats on having a date!

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Even when you are not pursuing a target event for the year, we recommend following the Base>Build>Specialty progression in order to maximize your gains. The periodized nature of this progression is still beneficial, even if you do not plan to race during your peak.

So I would recommend picking a Base, Build and Specialty plan that interests you and/or suits your 2020 athletic needs. For Leadville pre-preparation, I would recommend

Base: Sweet Spot Base I and II
Build: Sustained Power Build
Specialty: Century

I hope this helps!


I’m in this boat with my second daughter due… literally today. I’m not planning to race in 2019. If I happen to jump into something, great, but definitely no triathlons. Just cycling events.

I’ve done SSB1/2 MV, but backing off now to a LV Build (probably Sustained Power, but kicking around General) for exactly the reasons you stated. I think it is far better psychologically (and probably physiologically considering impending lack of sleep) to have a lighter plan that you can stick to, rather than missing workout after workout every week. I think the latter is a recipe for inconsistency, where you might hit 3 of 5 planned workouts, then it becomes 2, then it all falls apart and you just think “screw it, it doesn’t matter”, and then you wake up one day and you’ve had six months off the bike.

So, I’ll do a LV Build, and then I’m either going back to SSB 1/2 again, the follow with another Build depending on how I progress. If I’m stagnant, I’ll do short power to boost VO2, or if I’m still progressing I’ll hit Sustained Power again followed by some specialty if I have a race later I want to try.

Alternately, I might do the Climbing or Century specialties as those are the likeliest events I migth be able to do, and then conduct a rebuild in the same manner as above, depending on progress.

TL;DR: play it by ear, but be consistent once you choose a path.

+1 on the follow a traditional linear periodization path of base-build-peak. Even though you may not be racing, you’ll still be building fitness that will help long-term.

After having the best Base of the last decade, I got hit by the flu that has been rampaging through my school. After 11 days off, CTL has gone from 103 to 81 – where I was at the end of November. So, my spring racing season is shot. I’ll be fully ready to race in May, when most of my goal races were in March and April.

So, I just have to build for a first peak in May or June, and a second in September, just to do it. At 52, I think I have one or two years more left. Here’s to hoping that I don’t get sick next winter, and that the last (or next to last) go round is a good one.

What type of racing are you doing that 81 in February isn’t enough to be ready?

Well, our Spring season is two weeks away. Originally, I wanted to be good in March-April. Obviously, that’ll have to shift back.

For the last 30 years, I’ve been a good TT’er who can’t out-sprint an anvil, and despite those years of racing, I still compete with the acumen and nous of a brain-damaged rhino on crack. As a result, for me to do well, I need to be near my best for 5-60 min – waiting for the sprint isn’t going to cut it. Also, my complete lack of snap means that a two-week sick turns me to pack fodder.

Finally, Joe Friel’s advice of “two days easy zone 2 for every day of symptoms” is a good one (no crap – he’s Joe Friel). So that’s going to give me 3 weeks of twaddling around and no hard stuff. That’s a pretty crap preparation strategy for 2hr road races.

With my strengths and limitations, I’ve found I need a CTL of 100 to be competitive for top 10, and around 120 to be top 3-5. And frankly, I’m not going to pay the entry fee and bother with the drive if I can’t do that.

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Yeah, Joe Friel seems to know a couple things about training…

I was just curious. I’m with you though, I’m not driving to a race and paying entry fees if I’m not at least near the pointy end of things. Excepting early season crits this year. I just may race a couple while totally buried in TSS just to get my racing legs back. I’ve been off the bike for the past four years and have always been similarly challenged in the nous department myself and hoping to somehow make a fresh start this go round.

Good luck with shuffling your season.

I jumped away from structured training for about a year after the 2017 season. I bought a fixed gear track bike and a SS CX bike and just rode for fun. I did some TR sessions on an inconsistent basis and got back to structured training in November. I lost quite a bit of FTP, but, should be back to where I was by June. It will come back and then some eventually.

Thanks Bryce,

I was actually of thinking this year doing short power build since that’s a weakness for me and then doing a XCO or XC Short Track for the specialty, since that will get me ready for the races I’m more likely to do on a limited schedule this year.

Given that I’m sure I’ll be chasing Leadville next year, does the short power focus this year make sense? Obviously a traditional Leadville progression in 2020 would be the plan. I guess would it be better to shore up a weakness/slightly change focus while I can or just keep improving my strengths? Thanks.

Working on your weaknesses this year is a great approach. It sounds like you’ve put a good bit of thought into this, and it all makes sense to me :+1:.

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You’d have to be crazy to question Joe Friel. But, being in the same boat (51, sick for a week, race looming) and crazy, does he give a reference for the 2 days Z2/1 day of symptom formula? Just curious is all. Not arguing. Both my Dad and wife’s Dad are M.D.'s so I’m naturally curious for a reference. Wondering if he’s more concerned with immune system or heart?

And a big HOLY SH!T to the 120 CTL for top 3-5! First, 120. Then, in the context of top 3-5 I’m wondering what sort of CTL you try and attain for a W? I kid. Very impressive. Best of luck this season. I predict it will be one of your better ones. :wink:

p.s. Crazy run in with Joe Friel last year. I was riding home after a long ride. This guy in a pick up starts giving me really really good advise on how I was riding while stopped at a light (n. Scottsdale). At first I was thinking good Lord buddy just let me be. But, he was right so I turned and looked and I swear to God it was Joe! The light changed and we went our separate ways. Absolutely nuts! Believe it or not I ride a little different today because of what he said.


Well, I have won exactly 2 races in my lifetime, both on summit finishes in the Appalachians, which is weird for a guy who weighs around 77kg. The really fast guys weren’t there, and I’ve always had reasonable TT power, so if it’s a long drag up a climb that’s not too steep, I can do ok.

The 120 CTL is what I usually hit in July/August. I have the summers off, so I can recover a lot during the summer – which means I can pile on the sweet spot, which my body really responds well to. That’s also when I hit my best 5min and 60min numbers.

My moronic racing strategy is “go like snot for a whole bunch of times until you’re in a small group, preferably 5 or less, and then just accept that everyone will kill you at the line.” I’ve been getting toasted in sprints like a Peterbuilt vs. Porsches since the Reagan administration, and I long ago accepted the inevitable (cue connection to the negative relationship between VLaMax and FTP).

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