How fresh should you be when entering any given training plan?

I generally like to track my CTL and ATL…
I was wondering… does anyone consider these numbers when deciding about starting a plan?

what CTL and relative ATL do you want to have before you start a plan? in other words, how “fresh” should you be before jumping into such and such plan and does it vary by plan? for example: since generally people move from a base to a build plan, I guess the ATL is going to be higher and the athlete will be less “fresh” than when they start the first day of a sweet spot base plan.

It would seem extremely foolish to try to start a high volume plan if your CTL is only 35-40 right?
So doesn’t it seem wise to try to pick a training plan which conforms with a rule where you only increase your training load by no more than 10% for any given time frame?
I theorize that simply having 3 plans, low/mid/high is sort of foolish. in reality, one should develop a plan which delivers a training load that is no more than 10% higher than what they have been doing over the past 6 weeks.

for example… an athlete has been finding that mid volume is something they can handle… they have sorta plateaued and they want to increase volume to see if that gets them out of the plateau… They might try the high volume plan… but that is effectively about a 30% jump in training volume! so they should scale back workouts constantly so that the volume jump is more like 10%… right?

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Aim lower and tack more on if you’re feeling good imo.

I dunno. Did a big climbing Fondo in Nov 2017, took 3+ weeks off, and jumped into SSB1 High Volume with a CTL of 43. Finished week 5 of the plan with my best HC climb (18 miles @ 5% grade).

To be honest despite taking 3 weeks off, I didn’t consider CTL when picking the plan as I had a strong base from earlier in the year. Was still riding strong and had plenty of muscle endurance.

CTL is a training volume/intensity metric, it doesn’t really say anything about:

  • the composition of the volume (built off a lot of sweet spot, or all LSD, or polarized)
  • which of your energy systems are working well (or not)
  • the state of your strength/muscle endurance (e.g. CTL of 70 doesn’t predict ability to hold ftp for 50-70 minutes)
  • probably a few more things I can’t think of when writing a quick reply

As stated above, the advice on the podcast is to pick a lower volume plan and nail all the workouts. If you are feeling strong go ahead and add volume via + variants and/or riding outside to accumulate more time.