I have checked the programming, I have some questions

Hi All,
I was given a trial for a month. I created my program, given my time and goals. I have a couple of questions/concerns:

I have an event on Jan/31/21. This is a particular special event, a massive, constant 50 mile climb 13k ft in elevation change.

Issue 1: I can’t find any programming designed for this type of effort. It’s a mix of a grand fondo with a race climb / sustained power effort.

Issue 2: When I program the training to start in Oct 1…it gives me only 1 week of specialty phase, this being the week before the event. Which is nuts.

Issue 3: A more personal issue is that I don’t know how to incorporate my long weekend ride into the picture. The idea of doing structured workouts outside is crazy to me. I like to go outside to climb big mountains, put big efforts, enjoy nature, not to be looking at a computer like a maniac. I do like structured stuff in the trainer.

It seems to me that It is required that I get a lot more knowledgeable about structured training, workouts and what not, in order to:

Modify the program to my goals and preferences
Incorporate my un-structured outside rides

In which case, I guess I would be paying TR for the organization, calendar, connectivity, feedback. Not for the programming. Which is ok. I think

I was wondering if any of you have or have had these concerns and how did you go about it.


For issue 1 I’d say you want sustained power, as that’s what riding up a big arse hill is going to need.

For issue 2 it’s going to fit in everything as best it can with the small window you’ve given it. If it doesn’t have enough time to fit it all in, base 1 and 2 + build are the most important areas of the program to get through so it looks like it prioritses that.

For Issue 3 just substitute one of the weekend rides if you’ve selected mid volume, especially if missing that day outside is important to you.


For Issue 3 just substitute one of the weekend rides if you’ve selected mid volume, especially if missing that day outside is important to you.

Yes, but it’s not that easy. Sometimes I need 2 days to recover. Everything gets weird. Sometimes i do 300-400 TSS in that weekend ride. I probably might be able to fit only 2 days more…during the summer.

Hi there!
It sounds like your event is going to require a lot of muscular endurance and steady wattage- my pick would be sustained power build and century specialty. You can play with the length of the base/build/specialty cycles in plan builder using the 'how much experience do you have with structured training" question- you’ll have a heavier focus on specialty if you say you’re more advanced. Alternatively you can combine the blocks manually to your liking :slight_smile:

Regarding outdoor rides, a lot of the plans have an option to swap one of the weekend workouts for a long z2 ride- there are suggestions as to what this could look like in the weekly notes. Another option is to pick a lower-volume plan and supplement it with unstructured outdoor rides- I usually do this in the summer when the weather is nice.

Finally, the decision to follow any plan vs doing your own thing is pretty individual, and depends on your goals. My personal opinion is that it’s worth giving any plan a reasonable amount of time before deciding there’s something better- in the end it’s consistency and progression that brings about improvement, regardless of what method you choose. And part of that is deciding what fits your personality/lifestyle and gets you excited about riding :metal:


Issue 2. the full program takes 28 weeks. If you are going to start on 1 Oct, there are going to be some compromises. Base and build are more important than speciality, so that is what gets cut. You bake the fitness cake during the Base and Build phases, Specialty is just the icing on the cake. What would be nuts would be removing Base. I note that if you had 29 July as your start date, you will get nearly all of Base, Build and Speciality in.

Issue 3. I totally get wanting to do outside rides - that’s really what it is about. There are a couple of ways of dealing with this.

  1. Pick the low volume plan, and do all 3 scheduled workouts during the week. Then go and do your weekend ride as a free ride.
  2. Pick your terrain. There are some hills nearby that take me 20-25 minutes to climb. So I ride to them, climb and descend the other side, then turn around and come back. Hey presto, I’ve got in 2x20 minutes at sweet spot that is the staple of many Build and Specialty workouts, while enjoying myself climbing some beautifully forested hills. I also use a river loop closer to home that has a series of 2 minute hills, which are excellent for VO2Max workouts. These may not be as precise as the TR workouts, but by holding the same power for roughly the same time, I am getting most of the same benefits, while enjoying myself outside rather than staring at my garage wall.

I totally agree with you @mcalista. especially the option 1 on Issue 3. This is what I do. I choose a low volume plan and get stuctured workouts (which I do on the trainer or follow the outdoor workouts). I make sure I do them first, then I add in other rides, in your case your big weekend ride. with the low volume plan you can also fit in a few more recovery days and still get your three key workouts in. This system has worked very good for me


Why are you only starting your training on 1st Oct? Start now and you’ve 6 months, i.e. almost the full 28 weeks of Base-Build-Speciality. TR aren’t going for the quick HIITs (sorry :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:) the plans are long term to give you long term gains so you do need that sort of commitment.

If you’ve listened to any of the podcasts where they talk about the speciality phase you’ll hear the phrase: “forging the blade versus sharpening the blade”. In a nutshell, Base and Build forge the blade, Speciality sharpens it.

80km with 4000m of climbing is basically a TT, it’s just that it’s going uphill … for a long way.

Plan Builder has its quirks so it’s worth trying different input parameters to see what changes - experience is one, the more experience you have the more the plan leans towards Speciality. You can also set your start time “in the past” if you are already training and it will account for that. Having said that a lot of the Speciality plans (I’ve not looked at the TT ones) are aimed at short high power output rather than steady state so you may not need much of that work. Of course your climb could have a series of 20% ramps in which case …

I’d choose a Low Volume plan (or let Plan Builder choose that) and use the weekends for long steady state rides outdoors.

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As above my question is - Why wait 8 weeks to start the plan?

I would Start today or Monday, ride the weekends outdoors and move the Tuesday ride to Weds if you have battered yourself at the weekend.


Keen to see these rides that generate 400 TSS, that’s a heck of a lot.


On the podcast they recommend against “hero workouts” and I suppose by implication “hero rides” would fall into that category. I don’t believe any of the training plans are set up to accommodate digging yourself into a hole that it takes days to climb out of on a weekly basis. 400 TSS is a staggering effort. TR’s Mianzimu is 5 hours in duration and clocks in at 222 TSS.


I opted for the already mentioned solution: Low volume plan Mon - Wed - Fri and a long easy free ride on the weekend (normally Sun). Wed is my hard day of the week (so I have a rest day before and after).

You have to ask yourself if you either want structured training or just riding around. It’s a trade off between the best possible gains and well… more fun and flexibility.


“Why are you only starting your training on 1st Oct? Start now and you’ve 6 months”

Because right now is beautiful outside, so I’m doing un-structured outside rides. H

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I said 300-400, more exactly the range of the biggest rides has been 315-388. Pretty much if you go somewhat hard on a 70 mile x 7000 ft route. This coming Sunday I’m going up Mt. Evans, the route itself is not that hard, but it gets to 14k altitude. Let’s see.

Big days those, FTP set correctly?


Is it being great outside better than smashing your big event?

I often look at the nice whether outside the garage and think - I should be outside, but on the flip side when I do go outside I get the benefits of the training. I do LV and ride outside at the weekends - it works really well. And on LV i have done evening TT’s and other rides in the week when I’ve been able to - but just as relaxation or playing with the kids rather than it being a smash fest. Life is after all a balance.

You have to decide if you want to put in the work now to be better in 6 months or put in the work later and not be as good. As most on here have seen the benefits of structured training most will advocate getting on with the training now - more time to forge an axe rather than a dagger…maybe ? :grin:

If your FTP went up say 5% in 3 months it could go up 10% in twice the time…?


Its hard to imagine a 70 mile ride with 7k feet of elevation gain providing 300 TSS. How long did it take you to complete the ride?


Issue 1 - your event requirement is basically steady power for 4+ hours. Century plan is probably the best plan for this, the power requirements are pretty similar. Race plan is aimed more at racing over hilly terrain, which requires regular surges above threshold to attack, chase, get over a short climb, do a pull, etc. Going over threshold in your event is a bad idea!

Issue 2 - if you have to drop one phase, then Specialty is the one to drop. Specialty doesn’t really build fitness, it fine tunes the fitness you’ve built from the previous 2 phases to meet the particular demands of your event. In your case there is minimal fine tuning needed since your event just requires you to put out steady power for a long time. If you want to complete a full Specialty phase then the simple answer is to start 7 weeks earlier :wink:

Issue 3 - just replace the longest ride on the plan with an outdoor long ride. Don’t worry about structure if you don’t want to. Replacing, say, a 2 hour Sweetspot ride with a 4 hour ride which is a mix of endurance and tempo, is absolutely fine, you’re just swapping more volume for lower intensity. Which given the demands of your event makes total sense.

Other approach is to follow a Low or Medium volume plan which you can complete during the week, leaving your weekends free to do whatever you want.


Its hard to imagine a 70 mile ride with 7k feet of elevation gain providing 300 TSS. How long did it take you to complete the ride?

Ok, let’s look at this past Sunday ride:

65.78 miles
6791 ft elevation gain
Finished just a tad under 5 hours.
Strava gives me a TSS of 363

Add that I live at 8k ft elevation. And i rode Wednesday and Friday for 1.5h each for 100TSS each.

My input to Strava as perceived effort was “Hard”, does this factor on their TSS calculation?

Big days those, FTP set correctly?

This is a good point. I could be under-estimating my FTP a bit. H

TSS is entirely based on your FTP (not a Strava ‘hard’ designation, not elevation, only FTP compared to power). To do 363 TSS in 5 hours you’d have been doing around 72 TSS/hour - definitely achievable but pretty far out there on the bell curve of rides.

If you aren’t riding with a power meter or have an improperly assessed FTP that would explain this. If you’re going that deep every weekend it is hard to imagine that one of these isn’t taking place. That type of effort would take significant recovery and if you’re hopping back into training afterwards then I’d guess you’ve got your FTP set too low in Strava

Edit - to give you some context on what your effort is like, I went back and looked at some races from last year. The information below is from a P123 road race and a 4 man breakaway I was in that lasted nearly two hours. This starts with establishing the break and then a period of time in a very small tight rotation - so basically an extremely hard effort. As you can see - I’m barely at the same TSS/hour rate as your weekly outdoor ride, for a significantly shorter duration. There is no way I could’ve maintained this pace for five hours