How to improve ... when NOT improving ... 53 male

There has been some really good advice here to try and explain what might be going on. I don’t think I saw you mention or anyone else ask about consistency. That’s a major thing especially with the amount you ride.

You mentioned no smart trainer or a power meter. You’re using a KK trainer using virtual power. Tire pressure matters with that I believe so if not set the same every time it could be off, plus it’s not “real” power so there could be other factors.

I know almost everyone wants to see improvement, but since you mentioned you’re not racing and you find the workouts your way to destress then the best thing I can say is to enjoy the journey. I went almost all of last year without seeing any real ftp gains and only recently have I noticed it going up. I just kept it consistent, enjoyed the training, and tried not to worry about have the power number always go up.

Good luck and hope that helps.


5 TR rides per week at 53? Sounds like over training. Also, how long have you been doing this? If it is just 6 weeks, give it more time.

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Thank you for replying.

If we consider this say a case study, b/c I do think there are others out there like me,

My cycling background is; 10 years of spinning classes, riding a trainer, triathlon, average rider.
3 days a week riding is NOT a problem and makes me grumpy if I don’t do more … 4 and I’m getting happy …

I’ve been doing TR since 2018

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Thank you for responding.

Technical issues : I have a separate tire gauge 100psi every time and I calibrate.


I still need to read your full post, but have to clear something first.

I am NOT Chad Timmerman (TrainerRoad’s Head Coach). I’m just an active forum member and big fan of TrainerRoad. I try to help here whenever I can. #TheOtherChad :wink:


Ok, you mention the idea of changing the work / recovery week pattern. As I said, I’m not The Coach, but have crafted and option for Sweet Spot Base timing that is different than the TR default. In spired by one from The Nate, I made a 4:1, 3:1, 3:1 pattern that I have use last year and half way through my base this year.

At 46 yo, and following Mid volume for the 5th season of TR, I find this much easier to follow and nail the workouts more consistently. Check it out if you plan to do another Base, it might work for you as well.


You also mention difficulty in Build, which is a real deal, since it is often the toughest phase. You also said you want to stay closer to Mid volume.

One option to consider would be to follow Low volume instead, for 3 set workouts per week. Then you can manually add 1 or 2 other workouts as you see fit. It might be appropriate to add the shorter and easier workouts like Taku, Pettit and such.

All that is mentioned with the possibility that you are overtraining now, without enough recovery to really hit the hard workouts. Totally guessing and may be off. But I know that I am seeing more consistent gains from taking small bites that I can nail, and adding easy stuff when I know I can handle more.


Build is a beast. I’m 47 (been on TR since last October, no previous structured training but I ride a fair bit) & in the second half of sustained power build mid volume & Palisade shattered me today. I had a good vo2max workout Monday, Wednesday was Stromlo +3 which I killed, yesterday Beech & Palisade today. I shut it down & changed the rest of the years training to low volume. I need more rest & psychologically just don’t want to be suffering so much.

I’ve seen an 11% improvement in FTP over base & half of build. I’ll take it. Definitely able to ride harder for longer outside too, so I’m still improving. I’ll likely add an endurance ride or two until I’m riding outside regularly again at which point I’ll be pedaling 6 days a week, most likely. In the mean time, I’m hoping a bit more recovery will help get my head back where it needs to be to nail the 3 TR workouts I’ll be doing each week.


The virtual power could be a big issue. I have a friend who has a 100 watt FTP on TR because of his virtual power setup. He was happy to learn that his FTP is 200+ when I told him we were doing 150 watts just soft pedaling along on a group ride.

Do you ever ride outside? I benchmark myself on Strava segments and comparing myself to people in my club. I can easily see if I’m improving and who in our group is getting faster or slower.


Thank you for replying …
I like your idea a lot of using Strava as a way to see what is happening … it makes sense … I got a little caught up in TR training … on the one hand we have to do our FTP to set our training baseline … but it sounds much more fun to evaluate one against an actual segment and others on Strava … thank you for the tip …

Question? How are your real world rides ?
Are you feeling stronger, faster, better?

I am 6’ 3”, 225lbs.

In my training I am no longer focused on raising FTP, but improving endurance and increasing cadence so the gains I’m achieving are not well represented by FTP changes.

I and doing 3-5 rides per week and feeling pretty beat overall. 14 weeks total, 1/2 way through strength build. And doing strength training and mobility weekly too. And I did Tour de Zwift on top of my TR workouts.

I am squarely in the over training zone. I probably need 2 weeks of taper and reduction to feel strong again. Rest seems to always help me feel strong again.

Think about taking a week with almost no intensity. Recovery rides only, stretching, walking.

Take a break.


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I’ve been thinking about training schedules that plan for more super compensation and adaptation. We usually think in 4-5-6 week blocks of training and many of us are loath to take a rest week. Over the course of a training block we get slower. The rest period is when we get faster through super compensation.

I read about a fast master age grouper who qualifies for Kona that does 1 week on / 1 week easy. I probably do 4 to 6 weeks before I start feeling tired and then am forced to rest. I think I might improve at a greater rate if I tried 2 week hard / 1 week easy or at the maximum 3 hard / 1 easy.

I had an unintended peak in January. I did my year end test in November - FTP 275 watts - rode at reduced volume in December - took xmas week off and then was sick new years week. Two weeks after being back on the bike I had a Strava KOM and three top 10s on climbs. WKO5 was estimating a 290 FTP and I felt like I had it.

Then I started base miles and did the following hours 6-9-11-12-13. I was cooked by that last week. This week was supposed to be an easy week and I’ve done 8 hours. I didn’t feel on form on today’s group ride so I probably still need more rest.

Long story short, I’m wondering if I’ll get more improvement on 2:1 or 3:1 blocks.

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I can relate a bit…a little bit of a different scenario for me. I’m 52 and have been racing competitively for about 10 years, been using trainerroad since 2013. The ages of 47 thru 50 were great for me, I was about 160 lbs at 5-11 with an FTP of 308…was riding great and winning CAT 4 races and placing at local CAT 1 MTB races. Since then I have developed some arthritis in my knees and I also took a really hard crash in 2016 at a race and broke my collarbone, scapula, 5 ribs, and bruised a lung…Its been downhill from there, now I am struggling to keep my losses to a minimum. My FTP has dropped to 248 and my weight has climbed to 170. Basically I am trying to say that at our age it is hard to improve, you just have to take whatever you can get.


Tire pressure does matter, yes. TR also has the ability to do a spindown test, and you should do it after a 5-10 min warmup before every ride @EveryThirtyMins. That said, the data is pretty darn accurate, which is really cool:

I just watched this … Functional Threshold Power: Does It Really Matter?

(Functional Threshold Power: Does It Really Matter? | GCN Does Science - YouTube)

all this is a bit more nuanced which makes a lot of sense … slowtwitch vs. fast twitch etc …

interesting …

Based on what I’ve read thus far, I’d say you’re in need of more recovery than the TR plans are offering. A kitchen sink ride is the last thing you need IMO.

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FTP is not the end all be all. It’s a convenient single measure off of which we can base our training zones. There are other ways to get there, but they will invariably involve more testing or more invasive testing. So don’t hang your hat on FTP, but these GCN pieces and others start with the assumption that you think FTP is everything… and no one should actually think that. Recognize it for what it is: valuable, but not invaluable.

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I’m starting to think I need to do LV build for my first build of the year, and then maybe graduate to MV for the second. Short Power is wrecking me at MV, as Sustained did last year, but I made it through GBMV as my second one last year.


Hey Craig …
That is a tough break! probably tougher b/c you know what it’s like to have some legit performance … the mental game seems to ultimately be the biggest challenge … accepting and being grateful no matter what … good luck

There are a lot of similar overtraining posts in this thread, so hopefully this isn’t too redundant. That said, I tend to think there are three viable options that you should consider. They are (in order of increasing difficulty for me to explain):

Change to low volume. Relatively easy to implement, just an across the board reduction

Change your rest week cycle. Slightly more complex to implement, but this is what @mcneese.chad was getting at with the change from three weeks on one week off to two weeks on one week off. You can do this by copying his plans or by dragging weeks around in the calendar. Not too bad, and honestly a really good way to experiment

Decrease intensity but maintain volume. One of the often overlooked ‘problems’ with the TR plans, particularly as relates to masters athletes, is that they often have three days of higher intensity work per week. This can lead to fatigue and burnout. I think more people, particularly those in your shoes who get a lot of satisfaction out of riding 5+ days a week, should consider the approach of decreasing intensity but maintaining volume. This is achieved in a number of ways, but most simply you can take a TR plan and replace one day of intensity each week with a similar, or longer, endurance ride. More complex, and as you learn your body better, you can start putting in higher intensity workouts to replace those suggested by TR, but only two per week.