Increasing TSS for FTP gains

I’ll try and keep this as short as possible.
I’ve completed a full season of training plans. High volume sweet spot base, general build and rolling road race. I made a great improvement of around 60w, but I feel like I’ve plateaued as the road season has gone on and I obviously want improvement for next year.
I’m thinking of increasing the length of the assigned sessions where possible by 30 mins, adding around 2 to 2 1/2 hours per week of training.
Is there any recommendations around this? Would it be too much? And if it is a good idea is adding another interval on sweet spot best, or endurance work?

Following…I read somewhere and not sure where, but anyone who wants to be 4W\kg or higher is doing a lot of SST work around 2 hours. I don’t even know if this is true but wondered about doing the 1 harder version of every workout in a plan if your body can adjust properly to the training load. I’m trying to push past the 4w\kg line and although close. Just can’t seem to get there. Let’s see what comes out of the thread.

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first, how long have you been riding and training? It is perfectly normal to not make any gains during the race season, and repeating a cycle with a higher starting FTP will lead to more gains in subsequent seasons, generally a smaller percentage as you near your genetic potential.
Increasing volume is a sure fire way to increase fitness as well. Where and how to do this depends on the phase of your training. I would suggest against simply adding intervals to SS work. Instead start extending the intervals you are currently doing by either combining them and skipping the rest in the middle or adding 10mins at a time to each one. 60 mins of continuous SS work would be a good place to aim for. Also getting out for 3-5 hour Z2-3 rides as much as possible.

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As you progress through towards the speciality phase, often the gains come not from a raw FTP increase, but from increases in your ability to repeat efforts. With RRR, the emphasis is on being able to match repeated over-threshold efforts.

You may want to think more carefully about your goals, your limiters and what specific improvements you are seeking. This may impact how you treat your off-season, and your plan design for next season. https://support.trainerroad.com/hc/en-us/sections/360000408892-Choosing-Your-Training-Plan has a number of articles that might guide you on how to approach this.

Also, I would caution against adding 2+ hours per week in one go. Perhaps add 1 hour now, seeing how your body tolerates/adapts to that, then adding more later. There are a couple of ways of doing this - adding some zone 2 riding after a workout, or perhaps selecting the + variants of specific TR workouts.

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I have been looking at making my 1 hour rides during the week 1:15 rides to add to the TSS. So basically start by adding a total of 45 minutes to each week and try that for SSB when i start a new cycle and see what further improvements I get from that. My guess is I should see an improvement in my aerobic capacity. Hopefully

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It’s also super easy with the workout creator to add an endurance block to the end of an existing workout.

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I was the same. Doing the high volume sweet spot plan pushed me over the line for the first time this year although I’m wondering if doing a couple of years structured training prior to that built the base for me to be able to do that.

Riding regularly for around 6 years, but structured training for only 3 years. I switched to the high volume plans from mid volume since August last year.
So maybe increase the endurance workouts in the plan or replace a 2 hour sweet spot for a 3-5 hour endurance ride?

Not sure if this will help, i watched this interesting podcast by TP…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtBW4CIGiEU&t=3765s

Most of us keep on chasing higher FTPs but could be missing another aspect of being a faster cyclist. Being able to hold high power for a long period of time. The reality is that most of us cant hold our FTP for 1hr.

This clip discusses the idea of building fatigue resistance. The progress looks being able to increase the length of intervals. For example 1hr of SST might look like 4x15, 3x20, 2x30.

You might be at 4w/kg. That is super fast if you can hold that more than 1hr.

Love to hear your thoughts?

To stimulate adaptations, you have to increase training stress (and then rest enough to allow adaptations to happen).

The most effective way for most of us to add training stress is to add additional low intensity volume on top of the 2 higher intensity (SST on up) sessions each week.

Most will do better over the long term by increasing the length of that long ride each week, or stretching out some of the zone 2 days in between hard days, rather than trying to do more intervals.

https://www.alancouzens.com/blog/volume-vs-intensity.php

https://alancouzens.com/blog/vol_int_responder.html

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60W is awesome, congrats on that!

YOu could extend the sessions, but what about some longer road rides, and add some intervals at the END of the ride?

Do you do vo2max every week? That will help FOR SURE, but it’s tiring, so do it at the right times.

I wouldn’t just add more sweet spot, sounds like you’re already hammering that a lot, correct?

@Fkidenya I don’t think I’d be able to hold FTP for an hour. Even in the toughest races I’ve done my actual hour power still comes in about 50w down.
That’s interesting, I’ve followed SST sessions similar to the setups you’ve described in the past, but I’ve always just put them together in my mind as the same sessions with the same outcomes, rather than building to longer intervals because the amount of time in sweet spot is generally the same. But thinking about it, the mini 1 min/30 second breaks you get in 2x 10min really make a difference in fatigue to say 1 20min interval.

@RobertK @mcalista From the sounds of it, I think I’ll try an extra hour per week at endurance intensity and see how I feel, the base phase is a 12 week block after all. I’ve been over ambitious with training in the past and the result is generally too much fatigue to do any sessions!

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@brendanhousler Thanks! I was really pleased and surprised with the improvement. I guess it shows the training plans work!
So at the moment I’m trying to do 1 or 2 VO2 max or anaerobic sessions a week fitted around racing, and lighter sessions the rest of the time. I’ll be doing lots more sweet spot when I start base training again in September. I certainly find VO2 sessions taxing unless I’m really well rested.

If you can add 15-30min of zone 2 here and there, that additional training load can add up over the course of a year. Ideally, one would add an extra hour to the long ride, but if that’s not possible, adding that additional duration in small chunks is better than nothing.

I think it can be particularly valuable if you can add those chunks via extending cool-downs after the harder workouts (assuming that you have the time right then). There are some workouts like this in the catalog (often the + versions), where you do an additional 10-30 minutes at Endurance pace (55-75% of FTP) to close out the workout. Surprisingly beneficial and you are already on the bike (vs doing a separate workout at another time).

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That’s actually my formula for one long-ish ride each week. Hour of Power or 2 x 20, followed by a lot of easy riding.

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I think if you’re completing HV plans here and looking to improve the best thing might be to look into a good coach. Talk to a few, find one with experience you like, and have them get you through to the next level. You might find a new/different approach something you need.
Maybe you keep the same volume but change the order of workouts, exploit weaknesses/etc.

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I did a whole ton of base work from February through May this year. Typical week was 2x120 minute and 1 x 90 minute SS sessions from the HV plans, supplemented with a lot of outdoor riding in zones 2-3, including a weekly long group ride that includes a fair bit of easy spinning but does get up to 5 hours and 100 miles in the saddle. Quite a few weeks over 15 hours and 300 miles.

Got a small bump in FTP as tested (320 to 329 to 336), but much more noticeable was ability to hold sustained power and also how quickly I was recovering from intervals. Those long SS sessions were getting very comfortable plus I did some 40km TTs and long mountain climbs where average power over ~1 hour was right around FTP without tapering or being particularly fresh.

Now 2 weeks into General Build, haven’t tested yet but will do week after next, initial signs are good that the bigger base is going to be a great foundation for the higher intensity work. The hard sessions are already feeling significantly easier than they were only a couple of weeks ago, and my performance in group rides has surged, I’ve gone from being the guy who can hang with the surges and breaks to being the guy who is initiating them and putting everybody else in the red. Don’t know whether this will translate to much of a boost in FTP, but it is absolutely translating to performance on the road which is what counts!

Background for context - years of training at a consistently fairly high level, 25+ years of minimum of 200 training hours a year across all sports, and more like 4-500 hours in good years. I tend to be fairly consistent throughout the year though without a lot of periodisation, so have a tendency to plateau at a good level of fitness without ever really hitting the heights. Started using power 3 years ago, first FTP test was 298W, has rarely dropped below 300 since then, but also rarely gets above 320. So this year was a conscious decision to try and make a breakthrough with increased aerobic base and volume to get to a higher level.

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I reached above 4wkg maybe you can learn from my public profile?