How much harder really is MV than LV - considering switching up

So I’ve just entered the 2nd year of using TR (yay :grin:). I’m midway through SSB LV - in 11 days I will hit the rest week before the ramp test that starts SSB LV II.

I’ve modified the plan a little by adding in an extra 'moderate / rest" week midway, somewhat along the lines (but not exactly as prescribed) of what is recommended in the thread linked below. I did this because I had found at age 47 my recovery and perceived ability to absorb the work for the overall number of continuous weeks of work was somewhat of a limiter and I stumbled across the thread as a solution to this problem so thought I’d give it a go:

NB: Big shoutout to @mcneese.chad for this alternate plan.

I definitely found that having a ‘break’ week (not a full rest week but one less interval workout and also cutting the 90 minute session down to 1 hour, plus no outdoor ride and a few days of ‘lazy mountain’) made a positive difference to my ability to hit all the workouts. Compared to my first time doing SSBLV last year the difference is night and day.

Basically I’ve nailed all but 1 of the workouts and on the one I didn’t nail I only had to down-adjust the intensity for the last 2 intervals of under-overs.

If I continue with this approach (adding in a midway ‘break’ week, then I actually think I could probably take on a bit more work in the weeks before and after.

Up to now I wouldn’t consider this because I was also doing one outdoor group ride each week with relatively high TSS (for me) on top of the three TR interval sessions; but with the weather likely to turn in the UK soon and the evenings closing in it means as time passes I will probably have more incentive to swap out the outdoor ride for an interval session.

So my question is, how much harder really, is the MV version of SSB compared to the LV version?

My plan (if it makes sense) would be to switch to MV, adopt the same mid-block ‘break week’ approach and then if an outdoor ride becomes a possibility switch out one of the MV weekly intervals, with my expectation this would happen only probably 2 or 3 times at the most across the entire block.

Ultimately my initial gauge will be whether or not I see a bump in my FTP from the SSB LV I block that indicates a quantification of the feeling I have that I’ve benefitted from the adoption of the break week approach. My FTP is set at 263 and I’m hoping for a 10 point gain, simply based on how I feel in completing the workouts at present.

If this pans out as I hope, then I will consider the MV switch up but before taking the leap I wanted the check with the more experienced TR users on this forum to try and gauge the degree of ‘step up’ in effort intensity, cumulative fatigue and mental drain that will happen.

I want to make sure I wouldn’t be biting off more than I can chew and ending up burning myself out. :laughing:

Thanks in advance


Toe in the water option. Set up LV with 2 days work, rest, 1 day work, then look at MV and add one workout (usually the last of the week).

For example:

  • SSB LV 1 week 1 is Ramp, Ericson -1, Baxter. Add Glassy from SSB MV 1.
  • SSB LV 1 week 2 is Goddard, Monitor, Antelope. Add Leavitt +2 from SSB MV1.

By the end of LV 1, you should know if you can tolerate the extra load. If so, consider switching to MV 2.

Also, FWIW, 53, can do SSB LV 1 as is, but added a break to LV 2, which has panned out well for me. I do 90-130 TSS on an outdoor weekend ride (solo) on top of the TR work, so I’m running close to MV TSS. LV because I want the option of a long outdoor ride. Your mileage may vary.


There’s the recovery of the “block” of weeks which it looks like you’ve thought out and have already been practicing, but the MV plan has 2 back-to-back 90’ rides on the weekends which is a different kind of recovery to consider–that may be something you need to experiment with to see how you’d recover before fully jumping into the MV plan.

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I did the SSBLV1 and started on LV2 and stopped working out at some point June 19, due to work travel and schedule issues. I had the TR sub running because I was to restart, you know, tomorrow.

But I seriously underestimated my capacity for procastrination. It was only in late April 20 that I was shamed by the son into hopping on to the trainer again.
The intervening period was virtually 0 km.

The first ramp test I did this year was even lower than I expected (2.15) . I did two weeks of so of SSB LV1, to get contact points used to the bike again (everything hurt) and decided to throw myself at the MV plans - on the theory that the lockdown period is probably my only / best shot at it.

I’m in the last but one week before the second recovery period of SPBMV currently.
Binge listening to the podcasts had me much better prepared this time. I ditched the IF (I was at target weight) and am gradually learning to fuel just right before and during, I think I’ve got the rest of the diet going decently; I didn’t drink much outside of the weekly TGIF binge but that is gone; and I worked hard at resting particularly at keeping sleep time consistent, but varying duration to be able to complete workout and make my effectively 0830 workday start.

It’s all worked.

The next ramp test I hope to get to the 3 mark.

I have missed one workout (Leconte, I think I redid CP on that day) and failed Elephants (the sixth one killed me) and Mary Austin -1 where I could not start the final set, I dialled down Monadnock this Monday after the first 3 min interval, because I was not sure 122% was sustainable for 6 rounds. I have been consistent (exercise addiction) and did not start any morning dreading the workout that was scheduled.

I don’t think I can keep consistently at the five days a week required by MV if/ when the work related travel picks up to pre Covid levels, the LV program has the time to juggle workouts around a bit.

For the rest IMHO if sleep and nutrition are figured out it should be doable, personally I found it challenging but doable, mentally it was a lot of learning. I do miss riding outdoors with my buds but I don’t have power on my bike (only on the Kickr Core) and don’t yet trust my RPEsensitivity to take a workout outdoors.

I am planning on doing the SSBMVII after completing the SusPB MV and following that up with the General Build MV next. I’m 52

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As we get older, I’m 61, rest and recovery becomes much more important, maybe more so than the actual workouts. I did SSBLV1, SSBLV2, General Build LV then did Sustained Power Build MV. It drained me.

One of my planned events actually took place earlier this year, it was a 300km MTB ride, I got 80km into it and the tank was empty. Six weeks later and I did another similar event that I hadn’t planned but I just did some maintenance rides in the interim and let myself build up again.

So I’d be wary of the accumulated fatigue, it does take some months to, err, accumulate. The extra recovery weeks as indicated in the first response make sense - it’s one of the items that’s most asked for in Plan Builder.

There’s a few threads on this so it’s possible to see what works given that we are all heading one way age wise.

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Thanks guys. This is all excellent food for thought.

On balance I think I will stick with the LV plan but select one of the 60 minute workouts from the MV plan (from the corresponding week) that are not featured in the LV plan and add in.

I can the gauge how I respond to the additional training stimulus during the week, without over committing to something I then end up bailing on.

This way if I feel it isn’t working, I can still fall back to the LV plan without too much disruption to the programme / block.

On the other hand, if I feel OK then I can persevere and re-evaluate at the mid block break-week I will have added in to the plan, to see how the cumulative fatigue feels.

Thanks again

I switched to MV during lockdown but I did increase gradually and didn’t find the additional volume too much of an issue. I am back on LV at the moment as I am doing a zwift race series on a Tuesday and a Team Time Trial on a Thursday but still hitting around 400-500 TSS per week. I haven’t really pushed above 500TSS a week but think I would start to struggle then.

Just add some volume in gradually - perhaps look at the +1 versions of some of the workouts to add some more volume and gradually ramp up to the MV plan?

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Thanks - appreciate the steer on this.
I have already been adding in some extra low stress volume by tagging on 15 to 20 minutes of extra cool down time after each internal session.

I also always extend the warmup time by a minimum of 5 but sometimes 10 minutes as I find I’m not ‘ready’ for the hard work if I only use the allotted warmup time in the workouts.


I have only done LV since the beginning of time on TrainerRoad, but switched to MV now this fall.

The biggest difference for me has been the mental aspect of having two longer rides on the weekend. The total ride time difference doesn’t sound like much. But add life and sleep, as well as nutrition, and you actually have to put some effort into mentally preparing for MV.

LV I just did along with life, no biggie. It was like working out and living life normally.

MV feels like you actually need to focus a bit on the training, and everything around it - and more important, have a goal. I think that with MV you have to see it as a progression towards a goal and not just “riding my bike”.

To make it mentally easier, I actually moved one of the weekend workouts to Friday, so I just have to ride one ride on the weekends. And it feels nice to do a hard one on a Friday before the weekend, to finish the week off!

So I usually ride Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday. If I have a hectic week I skip the 45min-1hr chill volume filler workout that is on Tuesdays.


I have been on LV since beginning of the year (mostly because I have little time to ride at the WE)
As I adjusted to the work, I added the easy day2 ride from MV, and peppered a few, hard, WE Rides (usually before a recovery week)

Overall, my engine had no problem adjusting to the extra workload, and I was considering bumping to MV.
However, peripheral bits starting falling apart at the seams.
My knees, for instance, took badly to having an off day removed consistently.
Also, adding that extra ride meant I didn’t have as much time for stretching, yoga, core exercises…

In the end, as i was just about to finish specialty, my physio told me to stop training for a bit, otherwise, I’d not heal properly.
It was initially for a week, but I was going on holidays, so I thought i’d treat myself to a long, easy ride.
Uh uh. Bad answer. 2 more weeks off the bike for you sir.
So, after 3 weeks of enforced rest, I went back, and this time I am sticking to LV until I feel I have no peripheral issues. I am however, adding an extra 15 to 30 mins of Z2/Z3 at the end of most workouts, because, although it is extra stress, it doesn’t remove a day of recovery from my schedule.
I’ve also gone back to rolling, stretching, yoga, core work, and it seems to help keeping the ailments at bay.

Not all training is on the bike, in the end.
Just my 2c.


Thanks - some good insight :+1:t2:

I ended up going the other way, from MV to LV because I wasn’t willing to give up my weekly 3 hour ride, and even replacing the easiest MV workout with an outside ride was accumulating too much TSS for me. I’m finding that doing 3 hard workouts a week and 1 long easy/moderate ride outdoors is the perfect amount of stress right now to get me to the recovery week hurting but not wrecked.


To me, MV is 75% more difficult than LV. Most of that is down to 2 hard rides back to back on the weekend and 3 ride days in a row during the week. This really only applies if you’re doing the plan as it is, not if you’re adding in outdoor rides a couple days a week. However, if you just stick to the MV plan, you will get stronger. I would always recommend adding in strength training before going MV though, for better overall health.


Another n=1 for you. I am doing LV but adding in two z2 rides a week. I also extend one ride out to 75 min if I can get started early enough. I do all rides M-F, leaving weekends open for family and what not. It was the two 90 minute rides that held be back from going MV. The two extra rides are nice and it is one way to test the waters and see if you can handle it. I am finishing up recovery week of SSB1 and ramp testing Friday so will be able to tell as I compare gains to SSB1 last year…


Usually the problem is the time you can invest, not the intensity. The plans are designed to work if you properly build your base. If you stop extracurricular activities (group ride) i don‘t see why you should not move to MV.

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I’m about to start MVSSB1 next week. I see the weekend as time to ride outside, so if the weather’s good I’ll be doing a variation of the hard weekend workout outside and then just keep the 2nd day as an endurance ride. If the weather’s bad I’ll stick to the prescribed weekend workouts.

Despite what the TR folks have said in a podcast last year about the benefits of the mid week endurance workout, I still think it’s too short to give any real benefit. I’ll therefore skip if I’m tired or increase it to 90-120 mins if I’m feeling good.