In between Low and Mid volume plans- how to adjust within AT

I realize this question has been asked before but not since AT (from what I can see). I am wanting something more than low and less than mid volume plan to train for a Gran Fondo in September. I have read the advice on TR’s website to chose low volume and then either find the +1 version of some of the planned workouts, or to add more training load with an extra ride (either Endurance or Sweet Spot).

I have also however, heard on the podcast many times about the pitfall of riders making adjustments to their plans under AT and then complaining that AT is not working.

So my question is how to I add a bit of volume under AT without being one of those riders who is tinkering with plans and declining adaptations? If I add volume, will the plan then start to try to adapt me downwards to match the intended TSS of the plan? I’m assuming the answer is that it won’t do that unless it sees me struggling either in performance or survey response. Any advice specifically on how to add volume for a Gran Fondo training strategy? I would be more likely to add a fourth ride versus doing longer or more intense rides, but I am open to any suggestions.

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For modifications to workouts applied from the plan, make sure to use the Alternates function specifically. Doing the old-school manual changes are not advised compared to the Alternate/Swap.

  • As far as adding Endurance level workouts as “extra” workouts (new ones not applied by the plan), there’s nothing special. Find a workout, add it to the calendar and perform it as desired.
  • No, that’s not a problem. AT is not “capping TSS” in any way or otherwise looking to downgrade.
  • The only changes AT makes are in response to completed workouts and the related survey, or if you skip a workout where it downgrades the following workout since you missed a plan workout.

Ok thanks, and is there any advice about what type of workout to add? For example, if I’m in base, build or specialty phases, should I be adding more of what is in that phase, or just always more of a sweet spot workout? thanks again.

Keep your 3 core TrainerRoad workout, use the Alternates if you want some thing a little tougher but make sure you’re not overdoing yourself. Also if you want to add an extra work out if you have time add a long zone 2 endurance ride. When doing extra rides or extending rides make sure you can nail those 3 core workouts and you’ll be fine. I did this for a season and it worked remarkably.

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Great question. I’m in a similar spot and have been using the recommendation I’ve seen/heard the TR crew use. The “Train Now” feature does a great job of recommending additional rides that are appropriate for you. My personal experience is Train Now recommends an endurance ride in base phase. Then I just select the amount of time I have to work within and away we go. Hope this answers the question…

Great, thank you! I’m trying not to “overthink” it but on the other hand, I don’t want to create unintended consequences within the AT system. Good advice re not overdoing it especially during the planned lighter week. I will make sure to still take a light week.

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Great, thank you for sharing your experience! It’s very helpful:)

I do the same as the OP is planning, and for the first time had something odd happen and all I can come up with is that AT is indeed trying to “cap” my TSS. I have just started SSB LV II and yesterday I completed the recommended workout, Brasted. I have previously added Z2 rides on all Weds and Sundays, but otherwise have not altered the plan. I completed Brasted, marked it Moderate, and had a VO2 bump of +1.5. AT then told me I had adaptations, and to my surprise, it was to adapt my next VO2 ride DOWN to a workout that is easier than Brasted. Not sure what’s going on there, but I declined the adaptation.

Yup, I have recently experienced the same thing (before setting up my Gran Fondo plan) -this is what I’m trying to avoid with this plan. It’s an odd behaviour of AT when you supersede the plan and perform well and “check adaptations” shows everything downgraded for the next few weeks.

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Well, all I can say is that it’s worth emailing to see what they can tell you.

Edited: I will also add my related experience. I’ve done SSB 1 & 2 LV, and added 2.5 or 3 hour Endurance rides every Sunday on work weeks (1.5 hr on recovery) along with manual swaps to increase to higher Productive and a few Stretch workouts.

None of that lead to reductions in suggested adaptations on my calendar. Perhaps my mods were within a ramp rate window and your examples weren’t? I guess we will see if you contact them, or if there were other circles that lead to your changes.

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I have been doing LV plans and adding z2 now for awhile now. It has worked out real well for me. I did do MV earlier, but ran into the problem of getting both of the 1.5 hour rides in as I ran out of time to do so.

I make sure that I can nail the 3 core workouts and then add in z2 rides. I ride M-F as it works for my family - MWF are the key plan rides. I then add z2 on Tu/Th. The z2 rides I add are lower IF/PL levels as I do not want to wear myself out to the point of failing a plan workout. I end up adding in Totten Key (45 min), Lazy Mountain, Pettit -1, and similar workouts. At this point I am the strongest I have ever been on the bike - so it has been working really well for me.

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Similar experience to me. I’m on SSB2LV and add (a) long weekend rides (either done on an alternate day to the 1.5 hour planned ride or associated with) and (b) extra volume (I use train now to select a workout).

Not seen any problems with AT so far.

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I’m Always in between plans, for example I have a climbing gravel race coming up in a few months (70 miles, 6k elevation )
With a mid volume plan I skip the Sunday sweet spot for a long endurance ride and therefore I get 2 Vo2max and 1 threshold workout. I went back to low volume sustained power build because it makes more sense in my head to work on sweet spot and threshold. Looking at the race I won’t spend a lot of time in my vo2 zone but instead a lot of tempo - threshold. I’ve had great luck with a low volume plan with added endurance and decided on going this route again.
If I wanted to just build my ftp I’d stick with the mid volume plan without adding or subtracting but instead I know I need to work on my weakness of muscular endurance.
Hopefully my experience doesn’t confuse anyone but instead should let you know that low volume plans are great especially when adding endurance rides.


Interestingly, I did Black today, which I added to my LV plan, and after the ride, AT now recommended bumping that next VO2 workout UP to one that is harder than Brasted. :man_shrugging:

Maybe it’s “Black” magic!!

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I will definitely email support- just completed a Sweet Spot 6.7 (extra workout) and it just downgraded next week’s planned SS 8.3 down to a 6.9. I rated today’s workout as moderate and had no issues, didn’t pause or downgrade any intervals. I realize the AI behind this is very complex and maybe there are just some suggested adaptations that are hard to understand. My conundrum is whether to reject the downgrades at risk of not letting AT do its thing, or accept the downgrades but end up with lower weekly load than I want.