If you've done it before can you do it again?

New to the trainerroad ecosystem and loving the idea of just loading up a plan and attempting hit the workouts.

Got to a decent level before by just riding ALOT and attempted to self coach with some Friel workouts but really there was no structure just group rides and racing and the occasional ride in the hills.

Just started SSB LV on Tue,Wed,Thur and leaving the weekends for unstructured endurance and group rides, between 4-7hrs depending on weather and recovery etc.

If I’m trying to get back to a similar level will this work or not be sufficient training stimulus?

2012 - 77kg, 500w 5min 430w 20min
2021 - 91kg, 300w 5min 270w 20min

No riding in between and just riding without structure on a mountain bike for the last 4 months but have now got a road bike and PM again.

Listened to the podcast and combed the forum but I’m hoping for some feedback. Am I doing TR wrong with this approach?

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I’m no expert but it certainly sounds like a good place to start. Bear in mind that you’re 9 years older than you were in 2012, it may not come quite as easily but you should get somewhere close :wink:

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You were doing 430w for 20 minutes in 2012? Nice job! How old are you now?

The LV 3 days over 3 consecutive days? Now that will be very tough to do long term. That’s 3 Hard workouts in a row.


I agree, trying to do that week in, week out could be tough.

I do often have a hard midweek block like that, with Tuesday and Thursday TR plus a Wednesday club ride outside (which is very difficult if I go with the race group, more manageable with one of the slower groups). Then take Friday as a total rest day, Monday as easy Z2. It does make for a hard week though so need to be a bit careful about overdoing it.

I would be more inclined to keep the 90 minute workout on a Saturday or Sunday, and then just sub it for an outside ride if the weather’s good (in fact that’s exactly what I do).

Those 2012 power numbers are great! The 2020 ones are hardly shabby either, especially if you can get your weight back a bit closer to 2012.

Those figures are remarkable!!!

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I did roughly the same schedule, but 10-12 hrs/week and found it doable. It did not work for me in Sustained Power Build due to the higher intensities, mostly in the second half. A little too late I decided to focus on the two highest priority (to me) of the SusPB LV workouts instead of the 3. If you get through SSBLV I/II fine I’d still recommend being cautious going into a build plan with that schedule. Maybe pick two of the workouts to be high priority and recovered for and make the third optional and downgrade to endurance or active recovery if tired.

Getting back to a 400 watt ftp or whatever it was would be tough on 7 hrs per week but regaining fitness is easier than getting it the first time so maybe. Age might be part of the calculus too. Certainly it would be fun to try!


Those 2012 numbers are basically pro level, close to world class. So you were a very elite athlete.

Can you get back to that? I don’t know, maybe you can, but depending on how old you are, you may not need to. Like to race masters Cat 1 you’re with a lot of fast guys, still very fast, very strong, crafty as hell, but probably not putting out as much raw power as in their 20s

My point being, you can do a lot of rewarding things in the sport without needing to be a clone of your younger self.

That said, you can still get plenty fast. But you may need to build in more rest and progress more slowly than you did when you were younger

36 now; recovery has definitely fallen off a cliff.

Thanks for all the feedback, encouragement and perspective in this thread. Unfortunatley my progress was momentarily halted thanks to two fairly decent crashes in quick succession, one significantly worse than the other so basically ended up with pretty limited volume for about 6 weeks and basically no specific workouts.

I’m really interested in the broader question here if anyone can point to any other info or studies but does the body remember anything or is it really a case of the physiological attributes completely revert back to untrained?

Unfortunatley not remarkable enough lol. They would be fresh numbers so not necessarily indicative of what I could reliably do when it mattered and also pretty normal or even low w/kg for competition.

I don’t have studies but anecdotally, fitness seems to come back faster to people that have training in the past. We retain our neuromuscular memories. The biochemical stuff builds back quickly. Mitochondria and capillaries are slower to build back up.

Here’s my anecdote. I knew a former pro who sat on the couch for 10 years after he retired - 30 pounds over weight and out of shape. He decided that he wanted to race again in masters. Within six months, he was going off the front solo of strong fields and then lapping them.

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I would suggest that you go about it the other way around, if you’re looking to get back to where you used to be. This worked for me after 5 years off YMMV. I started with general riding, went into a (non trainer road) FTP crash block based on polarised. Then polarised training over winter. In Spring switched to a more traditional approach. My theory being… 1) I know how to train 2) I miss the sensations of going fast 3) I need some fitness & power rather then fitness power endurance at the end of a race. The traditional training has enabled me to push the number back further into the rides.

Have I got back to the levels I had in my 20s (LT2@360w 72kg) based on 10h a week, nope. Like you point out, life gets in the way of recovery - it’s not age I keep telling myself. Im hoping some racing, and another good winter I can build on where I am now, another 20w would be nice…

As for studies I don’t have links, but some has been done to suggest that yes, you will have faster adaptations to training because of your earlier exploits.

What kind of power meter were you using in 2012?

Started with off with a wired powertap (pre 2012) originally but then SRM.

How close are you now to your old numbers? Sounds like you’re moving in the right directions after what sounds like one year?

To be fair I think I am actually following your approach fairly closely. The first 4 months I just rode when I could and how much I could (slow and short) and the move to TR was ideally looking for some structure to build power before hopefully backing off the intensity and upping the time. What did your FTP crash block entail? I’ve been hesitant to do any vo2 efforts and instead have loaded up a HV SSB plan and am just pumping out as much SS/FTP work as I can take.

FTP crash block was a mix of 30/15s (30 seconds on 15s off x11 -13 as one set, do 3 sets) and 4x8min (variations on this being shorter blocks, but an extra), twice a week, one long 3h ride with 5, 10 then 15 sec max efforts in it, and 1 or 2 1.5hr steady rides too. It was also a 2 weeks on 1 rest week cycle, as opposed to a traditional 4 week block to minimise the risk of over training and made it a nice 9 week quick fix. Pretty much what Trainer road are offering with their Polarised plans to be honest, just a 3 week cycle.

The LT2 @ 360W I mentioned was in 2005 or 6 (I can’t quite remember) and was lab based. I was training on HR at the time so those numbers were not so meaningful, what was important was LT2 occurred at 186bpm. Now I have a CP (effectively FTP) of ~300, but been in a covid holding pattern with training since May waiting for racing to start. it started this week. The big thing is weight, down 16kg from a 2019 peak, and 8kg down in the past 12 months. Another 4 to go to get to a good weight for racing that I think I can sustain while enjoying life at the same time.

Can I get back to ~360W? Honestly, I probably can’t in the next few years, family, job, life, delicious food get in the way. Like I said earlier, getting to 4+ w/kg would be nice, but I see that as a winter project. In June I was flying in training - and it felt amazing - but took a week off as I didn’t want to peak before racing. That gave me some hope that I can add those extra watts later on the base I have now. My first coach always said it’s the second winter the real gains are made - I’m holding onto that right now.

What I have noticed in this comeback is that my initial progression was very fast, some of that is just knowing what to do, what sessions are supposed to feel like, how to get in shape, I’m also a bit more disciplined about my sessions and training methods have improved. On the flip side, recovery is slower and plateaus in power harder to break through. Though I think you could hack that a bit with training novelty, once you get to a stagnation level - do some different training.

A personal comment on threshold work vs. polarised training: I find the threshold stuff (including sweet spot) to be physically fatiguing. The polarised training I was feeling a lot less physically fatigued to the point I was questioning if I could do more, but was always mentally fatigued by the end of a block.


9 years older it will be hard to get back to those uber numbers :clap: but having been at that level before it will certainly be easier to get back towards it. Good luck :+1: