How much TSS/Week can you handle and how can we raise our sustainable limit?

I’m currently following a 3 week on / 1 week off marathon plan and SSB1/2 LV that I adjusted for a 3 on 1 off cycle as was suggested somewhere on here. My A-race half distance tri is quite late in the year so I figured there’s time for a marathon in April.

I’m hitting all my key workouts and feel extremely fit and fast. However, I barely reach week 3 with good form. Yesterdays long run was already terrible. You all know the feeling where you really need a day off, right?

I reviewed my training log from last season and until today and it appears that I top out somewhere around 600TSS per week (bike and run combined). It was like that for my full distance season and I see this limit now again, only with higher intensity (I average between 65 and 75 TSS/hour over a week). In other words, right now I couldn’t add another quality workout even if I had the time.

I wonder, how much can other half and full distance triathletes recover? Any recommendations on what to do to raise that limit (apart from stopping being a wimp?)

Let me start by saying that I never tracked my TSS. I found out early on, I needed to eat more in general, but especially on the bike. Once I did this, I was a much happier camper. Getting proper sleep is of course HUGE as well.

I did the high volume full distance base, build, specialty plans last year. I ran 5-6 days a week w/one tempo (warmup, 10km tempo, cool down) and one long run (usually easy, sometimes build into tempo). Did I ever feel tired? Yes. I would then skip a run, typically an easy run on Fri or Sat. Could I have added more intensity? Even if I wanted to, I could not have added more intensity w/out running myself into the ground or worse getting injured. Maybe instead of a tempo run I could have done some intervals. On the bike, I think the plans provided all the intensity I needed or wanted.

The short version: While TSS can be useful, TSS is not the be all end all metric. Chasing TSS is a mistake.

There are more blog articles and podcasts related to TSS if you search. Here are a few:

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I too, have a hard time with the cumulative effects of training stress. I’m in ssblv2, and I got off to a good start, but by week 3, I suddenly couldn’t hack it. I did ssbmv1 and had similar issues, and figured dialing it back to LV for ssb2 would fix the problem, but still I’m struggling. This last week, since I blew up, I’ve just been picking through the library and doing a mix of sweet spot intervals, and short vo2 intervals, but keeping the workouts to only 45 minutes. I’m feeling pretty good again, but I’m about to leave town for a couple of weeks, so my rhythm will be broken. I’m taking the MTB and will get out for a few fun rides. When I get back, I’m considering just starting back up with ssb1lv.

Anyway, you’re not alone, struggling with the stress load of even an LV plan

I am doing an average of 600TSS a week (580/660/710/420). My Base period started in mid November and I felt that 600TSS was at the limit and often quality of workouts suffered. Since beginning of February I feel that my body has been able to cope with the training load and I am now ready to focus on quality of the workouts and don’t need to deal with volume constraints anymore - which comes in time for the Build phase.

My advise is either to focus on increasing training volume or if you don’t have the same time then to find an appropriate volume that let’s you perform quality workouts.