How much fatigue is too much?

I’m about to finish traditional low volume. Next week is my recovery week. After it I will enter SSB1 mid volume with a 31 CTL, 38 ATL and a form of -12. SSB1 and SSB2 mid volume will get me to an ATL of 76 and a form of -14. Which seems very high to me. Last time I flirted with 60 ATL I got sick. I also plan to do the weekly zwift community race on Thursday. So I just replaced the workout by a race.

Would it be a better plan to do the low volume and adding the race. Wouldn’t this be more manageable without limiting my progress?



You’d be surprised how much you can really handle once you to build up to it. my ctl is currently 82 ATL 102 and TSB - 21, I’ve gotten my TSB lower and not felt overly fatigued, somewhere like -38, I’d have to check. But last year I got up to 100 ctl briefly before I peaked for a fondo I did. I’m on the last day of week 4 ssb2 HV so I’ve done quite a bit and am feeling good. I’m no super athlete BTW, just a medicore racer and flirting with 4w/kg

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I’m nowhere near your fitness. My FTP stands at 2.2 W/kg up from 1.5 after 3 months of low traditional base. The fitness I have now 31 CTL is the fittest I have been in the last 4 years. I’m really afraid of reaching too far too soon.

I did a Monster Month in December and my ATL went to 164.

Took a true Recovery week and a week of not-feeling-super regular workouts to get flying again.

Only your body knows how much is too much.

If you’re following the plans, you can rest assured that they’re designed not to bury you and bring your tsb back up at the end, they’re really well designed in that way. A zwift race can easily replace a sweet spot workout and you’d probably break even with tss (and intensity since zwift races are sweet spot/threshold more than anything else)


Going down up to anything between -20 and -30 should be fine during training weeks. Make sure you bring the form up in the recovery week.

If you feel exhausted despite not exceeding those values just squeeze in a rest a day or two. Be aware that the real recovery from those rest days often is only experienced a couple of days delayed. You won‘t get into non-functional overreaching when you don‘t push yourself throuh several weeks of feeling fatigue.

One or two rest days most of the time helps to overcome this state. Early in the season you train your body to cope with the training load - act by feeling. You will notice that your body can handle more training volume each cycle.

If feeling fatigure ensure sufficient sleep and naps at the weekend.


Thank you for the help. I’m relatively new to all this and appreciate your experience. .

you’ll know when you get sick.
That said it is entirely individual dependant, specifically outside stressors (work, family, etc.) as well as how well you are recovering. On the sickness front, if you make sure you are eating clean you should be getting all of the vitamins to help your body ward of sickness, but know that your immune system is working overtime, so if people around you are sick (ie. offices this time of year) know that you are going to be more susceptible than you would otherwise. Washing hands is key.


This might be of interest to you:

Friel has found athletes optimise training when their TSB is between -10 and -30.

Too much time above -10 and you’ll plateau.

Too much time below -30 and you’ll end up overreaching.

+5 to +25 for peaking on race day.

I’m finding that without the quantity in the mid volume plan I’m only going below -10 on the weekend.


I spent 4 weeks between -30 and -60 (peak was -70).
As stated, it took me 1 week of complete Recovery (<50%) and then a week of lowish Sweet Spot to get back to normal. But the benefits have been great.

During those ultra-fatigue weeks I ate and slept a lot more than usual, which probably helped me keep afloat. Unless you can recover in-progress, I wouldn’t recommend this strategy. :no_good_man:

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Wow, 4 weeks!

Obviously this is what Friel has found most athletes can handle. There will always be exceptions. I’ve gone below -30 for a few days when I’ve had cycling holidays but never for longer than a week.

Kudos dude! :ok_hand:

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If you are moving from traditional to sweet-spot base, I suspect you would be better off sticking with the low volume plan. Sweet-spot isn’t easy.

On the podcast they typically recommend erring on the side of caution, and gradually ramping up if you feel able to increase the workload.

I was pondering 2 scenarios.

  1. Doing low volume and adding a race on Thursday. Moving the workouts to saturday-sunday.

  2. Doing the Mid Volume and replacing the Thursday work out by the race.

I looked at both in the light of your comments. The first one lead me to a CTL of 39 an ATL of 54 (my current level) and a form of -7 after SSB1. Which if I read you well is on the low side.

The second leads me to a scenario where I peak at 76 ATL and a form of -14 after SSB2. Which really makes me nervous.

After reading your comments I toyed with another scenario. Which is doing SSB1 at low volume + a Race. Then SSB2 mid-volume replacing the Thursday or the Sunday work out by a race as the beginning of the race season will start 3 weeks in SSB2 with a race weeks 3,5,6. It In this scenario I feel I have a much more manageable progression in terms of volume form and fatigue.

Thanks all

I think that’s pretty spot on!!! When I get to -30, I am really tired and find I have a hard time getting into higher gears when I’m around 0.
-10 to -20 is a fantastic spot for me and I’m firing on all cylinders. I once got to -50 and it took me a whole month to recover. So now I take a recovery week when I get to -30

To the OP, if you have to ask… you prob need a rest day and a light day at minimum.

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This could be too much… soon find out.

-86 is a bit high, but you never know… take some recovery days and see if you super-compensate!

216 Fatigue? :face_with_raised_eyebrow: Sounds like something I’d do. :+1:

Not sure if I super compensated or not but new 20m test PB last week. Which is nice…

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Nice indeed!

It‘s very personal I think. For me I know I should avoid being below -50 form at all costs, and - 100 puts me in a hole (although that might have been compounded by work stress)