I Didn’t Follow the Recipe, and I’m Appalled It Turned Out So Awful

Change cooking to training and you get a lot of the posts I see here and elsewhere.


There are countless examples on this forum and in the podcast of people saying “I am not getting faster, what gives?” and then they reveal very poor compliance with their plans, or they have modified the plans so that they are quite different from the original prescribed.


Performance Ingredients:

  • Training Stress = Effort Frequency + Intensity + Duration
  • Nutrition = Food + Fluids
  • Recovery = Sleep + Total Rest (No or Minimal Activity) + Active Rest (Low Intensity + Short Duration)

The “recipe” is the basic amount of each of those things over any give period of time.

  • To the concept, we see people often deviate by doing too much “Training Stress” but adding more over and above the Training Plan = Recipe.

  • Or they hit the Training Stress and fall short on either/both of the Nutrition or Recovery sides.

  • Really, it seems a mix of that but with the current state of TR people seem to be keeping the full TR intensity while they add more intensity on top. What TR and others recommend is selective swaps out of TR workouts when more intensity is added (ex: group rides/races) or make sure to add only lower intensity on top of a maintained TR plan.


The recipe: Hard work + Recovery = Improvement


Can you recommend a carbon fibre spatula please? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


No but if you want to eat sushi


Are those chopsticks tubeless?


Hookless for sure, so you have to use compatible noodles :wink:


I agree that different width noodles need compatible chopsticks, but surely gluten free is more aero?


Adding a bit more here in the overly simplistic side like:

  • TR Low Volume Sweet Spot Base is primarily the “Training” portion of a recipe. It includes a the frequency of individual workouts (Training Stress) but also the more discrete composition of each workout (Effort Frequency, Intensity, Duration).
  • This includes the unstated assumption that the athlete handles the “Nutrition & Recovery” side. While not directly integrated into the TR training plans, these other two “ingredients” are covered in a wide range of detail in the supplemental sides TR provides (podcast, blog, forum, etc.)

This can all go in a multitude of directions when considering the finite plans offered by TR that cover each Base, Build & Specialty phase. Those are essentially “recipes” in my eyes WRT this idea.

Even if the metaphor above isn’t a 1:1 match for the OP, the concept that people blame TR for their own choices (to include oversights & mistakes) pretty frequently here. That is the essential point that I see being made.


Eggs, milk and flour will give you pizza dough. What you put on top of it is up to you (as long as it is not pineapple…that doesn’t belong on pizza). :grin:

I think the TR equivalent would be “I signed up for the full distance low volume triathlon plan. I don’t know how to swim so I substituted z1 bike rides. And it’s too hot to run, so I took those days off. Since I don’t know what my FTP is, I put in 100 watts. The tempo and threshold workout were fairly easy. On race day, I had to be hauled out of the water by race officials. Never made it to the bike or run. Can’t believe people pay for TR…”


Just because you have the recipe doesn’t make you a Michelin star chef. :wink:

regardless of how your training pans out in terms of the effect, TR gives you a plan (or menu). without some sort of plan, you have nothing to gauge yourself on. you have to be able to give yourself feedback and adjust as you go on over time. if you lack the experience to know when good quality training is being offered (or good food), then any plan will do. a good chef will ask you how you like your steak done, and you can ask for more sauce, but don’t blame the chef, if a rare steak is ordered and you don’t like the colour pink. be honest with yourself and adjust. blindly training will take you anywhere or nowhere. i’m as guilty as anyone, but i enjoy it, but i know the best chef in the world will only put food on the table today, there’s always tomorrow when i have to feed myself again

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The problem with training plans is that people are often trying to make a souffle and mousse au chocolat but really they could reach 98% of their potential on some basic mac and cheese.

All you need is:

a lot of endurance training
some threshold training
a little anaerobic capacity training and a dash of VO2

That’s it. There’s no secret interval that is going to make you magically 20% stronger. And it really doesn’t matter what interval you choose: 2, 4, 8 minute whatever. They will all have a similar effect. All roads lead to Rome or Tokyo.

Everybody is chasing the magic, thinking that they have missed something. But it doesn’t exist. You want to get faster. Do more volume. Extend your TTE. Ride consistently. Don’t slack off but rest every few weeks. Rest more than you think.


The problem with this analogy is that the recipe doesn’t account for your food allergies, or the fact that you could only get yoghurt instead of cheese, and that there wasn’t space in the fridge, so you left it on the windowsill to cool down.

Training is (and has to be) much more individualised than simply “following the recipe”.

The other thing is that once you understand enough about the ingredients, and what fits with what, and in which order you have to mix them, you don’t need a recipe, you can make your own delicious food from whatever is there.


Flattop Chopsticks are the future.


That all depends on if you’re making a typical weekly meal or if you’re trying to create a Michelin Star dish :wink:

I think you’re spot on.

As someone who co-authored a cookbook about leftovers - which, instead of giving precise quantities and recipes, aimed to give people the knowledge and courage to cook more freely with what’s in their fridge - I guess I’m kinda qualified to at least speak about the cooking side of this analogy here.

With cooking, it’s like this:

  1. If you just get started with cooking and know little to nothing about it, follow (ideally well-written and tested) recipes as precisely as possible.
  2. While cooking more and more, aim to learn more about the subject. Don’t follow recipes blindly and try to understand why you do what you’re instructed to do. As cooking is a complex subject, doing so will take a while: you can learn about ingredients, cooking techniques, flavor, cooking gear, the biology and physics of cooking processes, etc.
  3. As your understanding and competence grow, you will also be able to
  • Improvise more in the kitchen with good results,
  • question and modify recipes to your needs, and
  • even create your own dishes/recipes from scratch.

Of course, you are a superior cook once you have reached the third stage (which also is not finite, i.e. you never stop learning). At this level, you are beginning to “master” cooking.

With training, it’s similar I suppose. When you just begin training, it makes sense to follow a well-constructed plan. While doing so, aim to learn more about training and yourself. At some point, you will no longer need to blindly follow a plan - especially if it wasn’t created specifically for you by your coach (coaching doesn’t really have a cooking analogy I guess) - but rather can competently design your training in a way that works for you.


I agree with redlude97, that recipes equate to cookie cutter plans, which have their place. Particularly for beginner riders and people who have a lot of easy gains left. Also help for people that don’t have the inclination to learn or fuss with their own training or pay a coach. I think the other component here that may be more important is that people don’t know how to cook. A chef can cook based on understanding of principles of a good dish, knowledge of ingredients, and technique. They can create a recipe or just create a good dish. You don’t have to be a chef to know how to cook, but if you don’t know how to cook, following a recipe will even be difficult.