How important is it to maintain a 'ramp rate'?

Hi all,

As I work a varied shift pattern I often have weeks where I can train more than others. I can consistently hit 8-10 hours week to week, but sometimes I’m able to hit 12+. I also have a week off work coming whereby I could REALLY go to town (note, please don’t be concerned regarding overtraining/fatigue, I pay very close attention to my body and only ever push myself as hard as I can take. Also this time of year is mainly z2/sub FTP work). I also take recovery very seriously.

My question is am I better off having a level of restraint on these weeks where I could do more volume (without burning out etc) in order to maintain a consistent TSS/load ramp rate?

E.g would I be better off from a performance perspective maintaining a positive TSS ramp say 500 > 570 > 640 > 700 as opposed to say 500 > 740 > 510 > 680? (Note: these values are for example only and not reflective of what I plan to achieve).

Appreciate thoughts on this, hopefully we can get a discussion going on this!

Also note I do not hinder my sleep hours to train, nor do I neglect proper recovery, stretching rolling etc. This additional volume that I am proposing would come without negatively impacting other work. If I were to fail workouts following this increase in volume I would back things off :slight_smile:

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Depends. It’s more important to make workouts harder over time, which typically will end up with a higher ramp rate.

I have had several months of consistent 1000 tss weeks at times, and also plenty of periods recently where its up and down. The biggest difference i notice is making sure hard efforts are the priority, and then you can afford to drop some volume in some weeks.

Experience makes a difference too.

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Depends on your history. If you routinely do 500tss weeks spiking a 700tss week every now and then is fine assuming it is largely z2. Spiking a 1000tss week when you are normally at 500tss might be a bit much though. Listen to your body.

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If I was a coach to someone, my first rule would be:
“Forget about CTL, TSS, ramp rates etc.”

As I see it, these are mainly a bi-product of your training and varies significantly based on duration and/or intensity. The important part is what your training goal is and how you plan to get there! 100TSS endurance ride workout does not equal a 100TSS VO2max workout (you see what I mean).

An example:
You are aiming to be in top form for a 3h long road race. You can push pretty good powers at short durations (< 3min) but your weakness is long steady efforts. Hence you spend the winter focusing on e.g. SST progression (this is your “read-thread” or goal of your training).

Target TiZ is 60min and the first week you structure it as 3x20min at 90%. When week 3 comes, you’re at 1x60min. I think everyone will agree that the latter is a much harder workout? Still, it will generate a few TSS points lower due to no rest in between. So you will most likely be more fatigued afterwards. The good part is that your TTE will (hopefully) improve. But your CTL will hardly move… :crazy_face:

Adding volume (volume as in Z2 rides) is a good of way of increasing training load during base period but please do also take into account all the other workouts during that week.

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I’d argue that a steady ramp rate is actually a little important. What I’ve observed from my time getting coached vrs my time when i didn’t get coached is that over an entire season, that my ramp rate was remarkably steady… so i think that my coach believes steady ramp rate is important… but i should say no good coach is EVER going to prescribe you to simply achieve xyz tss… tss is a lousy metric… What matters is volume(hours) overall and balance between Intensity in zones…

How my coach pulled that off is not really surprising…
Really it came down to be:
A. I’m paying money and thus extremely motivated to make sure I’m nailing every workout…
B. The coach was applying a lot of tough workouts and driving my volume higher than it ever was before. With more volume, it becomes much easier to have a stable long term ramp rate. For me my volume when self coached was in the range of 4-8 hours and now it’s 10-14 hours…

The other reason i think steady ramp rate is important is because ramp rate is a sign that you are being consistent… and ultimately consistency is what is going to get you there… If you usually manage 6 hours a week and then one week you do 18 hours, that 18 hour week has a huge chance of making you slower in the long run if it causes you to quit riding for three weeks after that…

Idk… just my two cents… i wish you all the best in your training endeavors!

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OMG, your handle is hilarious! I also agree, that’s the coach’s job now, but people will always be curious about the method behind the madness.

I think so too, and also to be consistent about load (which is what you said here, and I again I agree).

It also makes it easier to plan than hitting a 90TSS one day and a 300TSS the next, and a skipped workout the day after, etc. I also think the rate should be sawtoothed, as we all need regeneration days (micro?) and weeks (macro?) and can’t grow indefinitely without a break of some sort.

OP, I would take it as a training camp week. A boat load of TSS, and then regeneration after.

My take on this, is just go to town. You’re going to pay the piper one way or another. Either some recovery days off or Z1/Z2 spins for a week or more and/orlots of stretching and foam rolling, etc.

The thing about training weeks, is that it is a massive jolt, and then to progress you have to retain what you gained. Otherwise, it’s short-lived and just a fun week. Which it could be as well?

You don’t ‘plan’ x TSS. You plan a workout that progresses your overload. It happens to have a TSS that is higher oftentimes.

Context.

It makes it easier to plan (ramp rate) and the example was intended to highlight randomness without planning.

And who says that you don’t plan TSS as part of the workout needed? You just don’t happen to have TSS. Like you said, it’s progressive overload and one of the trackers is TSS. It’s usually TiZ and TSS with overall duration coming in third. So, yes, you do plan TSS.

@iamholland and @isaac124, you are absolutely correct. Maybe I didn`t precent my case properly, but as you say, a steady ramp rate is (or can be) a sign of being consistent and having a planned overload in your trainingplan. However my point was that an athlete should not only focus on CTL and TSS etc. That should be the least of their concerns :rofl:

For non-professionals training has to contend with our other real-life duties, work, family, friends, etc. So if this is the best you can do given your work schedule, this is the best you can do. If I were you I would try to stick to your plan and if the necessity arises, start by eliminating easy workouts. Prioritize quality over quantity. If you can only manage to dedicate one hour instead of an hour-and-a-half? Pick a -1 or -2 variant of your workout.

Nevertheless, let me suggest an alternative: why don’t you start with a lower-volume plan and pad it with other workouts. That’s what I do. I’ve created a mid-volume+/high-volume- plan (in terms of TSS, it sits squarely in the middle). I try to add most of my volume with easy Z2/Z3 workouts, so e. g. I’d be a 1:30 workout coupled with a 45-minute or 30-minute easy workout. In addition I usually switch the regular workouts for a slightly harder version if available. That’ll give you tons of volume, and you have more consistency in terms of ramping up effort. And the easy workouts are the first to skip without sacrificing quality. Perhaps you sacrifice a little bit in terms of power (i. e. your power bar might be shorter), but IMHO you should develop more stamina (i. e. a longer life bar).

If you still have time to spare and weather permits, you could also add outside rides.

I apologize… i put my answer in without reading previous posts to the forum thread besides the original post. i definitely think we said a lot of the same things.

On another note, no one has mentioned it yet, but if your ftp jumps, be sure to realize that there should be a reduction in your tss for a very long while…

If you’ve been working on a progression in Duration of your ftp and sst intervals and you were operating at 300 ftp then you do a test and it bumps your ftp to 330… then you will want to back off your duration of ftp intervals… ie you were doing 3x20’ @300w… after the ftp bump you 100% need to shoot for a shorter Duration and start working your way back towards 3x20’ over the course of many months… But what duration you start at is unique to the athlete.
regardless, you’re going to start generating a less tss when that increase in ftp occurs…

Thank you for your reply, in this instance the extra volume would largely be z2/tempo/sweetspot as thats where my focus is at the moment.

I will make sure to follow up with proper recovery as needed, Christmas break will certainly allow for some fatigue to fall off!

I love this, thank you so much. The added volume will indeed be z2 for the most part.

I have my priority workouts still within the week which are fuelled and treated with the respect they require! If I were to fail them due to the increased load I would of course change things up to ensure I still hit them as needed.

Thank you so much!

This makes a lot of sense. I’m fortunate enough that I seem to do well off volume (especially as the volume is mainly sub FTP efforts). This means after a high week (12+h) i can still hit my workouts the following week.

I’ve been diving deeper and deeper into my nutrition later and very much looking to maintain weight now I’m in a happy place after a few years of shifting the pounds (down 34kg currently). This means getting 6g/kg+ in carbs and 1.2g/kg protein. I’m doing my best to fuel my efforts and hopefully this will translate into an increased ability to reap the benefits from my training.