How much improvement is baked into the plans?

So I’ve previously completed the high volume Sweetspot training plans, but coming into them from a relatively low fitness level after a few weeks or months of quite unstructured training following races or holidays. FTP score in the initial tests was therefore relatively low for me, I was making significant FTP gains during the plans and was able to complete them with few or no skipped or reduced workouts.

Recently attempted them but coming in with a much higher fitness level (one week after racing a 70.3 where I PRed). Starting FTP was close to my all time high, and therefore much less scope for significant improvement, though I’d also decided to have a pure cycling focus so wasn’t doing any run or swim training which I figured would help with recovery. First couple of weeks were OK, but then things got tougher and tougher, I just about struggled through week 5 (should have dialled it down with hindsight), recovery week I was wiped out and took things very easy. I stubbornly put Sweetspot II on the calendar anyway, but bombed out on the ramp test very early (unheard of for me), and wisely decided at that point to call it a day and train by feel for a few weeks until things picked up again (which they now have).

Anyway, to cut a long story short it got me thinking about how much improvement is “baked in” to the TR plans? Obviously there is an expectation that completing a plan will lead to improvements in whatever power zone(s) the plan is targeting. Does that mean that effectively a certain level of improvement is “expected” and it becomes difficult or impossible to complete the plan if you’re improving at a lower rate than expected for whatever reason? E.g. if you start a plan with an FTP of X, do you basically need a FTP of X+3% to get through the final week of it? If so, what would be the best approach if you’re coming into a plan knowing that you’re already at a high level and only likely to get incremental improvements? Manually set FTP to be a bit lower than tested at the start? Tweak the plan by replacing a few workouts to give a smaller week-to-week increase in TSS? I’m not always great at cutting back a plan once I’m into it, would much rather have a more conservative plan to start out and then turn it up a notch if I’m feeling good than have an over-ambitious plan and have to skip or reduce sessions.

For context, I’m 99% sure that I was fully recovered from the 70.3 before starting the plan. Had a 10 day taper before and felt great and was bouncing off the walls the week after the race. I also use HRV to monitor freshness/recovery, and my HRV values corroborated how I felt. I also don’t think there was any underlying illness or other issue during SS1 plan - I simply saw a gradual decline in HRV values in the latter weeks which would be consistent with too high a workload and accumulating fatigue that I wasn’t recovering from. Recovery after I quit SS2 was also a steady improvement consistent with just gradually coming back out of a bit of a training hole.

While there is a certain amount of improvement baked into the plans in the form of increased TSS of the course of a plan, most of the improvement is metered and measured through regular FTP testing as part of the plans. If you don’t test higher, the effort levels don’t increase that much.

HV plans are very demanding, and in hindsight, jumping into HV SSB a week after a 70.3 might have been inadequate time off. Take a look at the TR support article at

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Thanks, hadn’t seen that article before, some useful info there. Interesting that the advice is to go into the Build then Specialty plans rather than back to Base which is what I did. Maybe something there to think about.

Really don’t think the race was the issue. With the taper and then the recovery week after I was very fresh. I’ve done races (marathon and Ironman) where I’ve certainly needed to take more time after so I know myself pretty well. Also worth bearing in mind that although the HV plans are tough I’ve done them before, and also that including my swim and run TSS in the build to the 70.3, the TSS in the SSB plan was actually a significant drop in weekly load. Realise it doesn’t work quite that way, swim and run use different muscles so it’s easier to accumulate more TSS than you can in a single sport,