Iñigo San Millán training model

But I would rather believe in what ISM is saying then what I see with my limited knowledge of actual thresholds in the Strava extracts. Especially after hearing how he determines zones. From the Strava extracts it’s pretty easy to figure out LT1. But it’s a different story what he sets as upper hinge point. And this does not have to be in alignment with the zones laid out in Strava.

At first I was surprised when he said lactate threshold and zone4 and “turbo,” because from the studies I’ve seen on increasing mitochondria content/function my conclusion was zone2 and HIIT work.

So perhaps I wanted to hear that zone4 “turbo” zone is fluid and dependent on duration. And if I recall correctly, that he stated a preference to longer suprathreshold like @Dostring stated.

upper zone 4 is not HIIT for you?

I do a fair bit of controlled zone5 / anaerobic / sprint work, and think of that as HIIT. And further, those intervals seem to be designed to push on glycolytic flux rates, which I believe ISM also mentioned on the Koop podcast (did he?).

Love it, thank you. I actually have some flexibility on Friday’s (thanks World-Wide Global Pandemic) so logging 2hr isn’t a big deal. I actually quite like the Z2 + Stuff rides that are 3+ hours long. I’ve really wanted to start doing the “stuff” in a fatigued state after say 1500-2000KJ as I find that’s when my race-performance really deteriorates.

Looks like a very solid training plan and weekly distribution.
You could work in the confines of that - playing with the intensity distribution on Mondays and Fridays. E.G. going for some extensive TTE (Time to exhaustion) work with sweetspot or threshold work. You could also occasionally switch the hard days around: M 60 mins LT1, T 90 Mins with Tempo included, W Intensity to build a nice block inside the week.

And then there could be the rare weeks where you could include a Sunday long ride - kind of like a mini training camp.

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True but on the other hand he doesn’t seem to be too concerned with zones or ftp for that matter. My takeaway is to do lots of upper Z2 with hard efforts in some of those. It might be too vague but on the other hand too specific is sometimes the problem. Hard will need to be hard enough but repeatable and recoverable. I was trying to understand his reasoning and don’t care too much about the precise prescription.

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Maybe I should listen to that podcast (in addition to the two other ISM podcasts I’ve listened to already), but perhaps you can also clarify: so the more intense “stuff” he does is whatever replicates the demand of the goal race? Shorter more intense if goal is short and intense, longer and more like “normal FTP” if the goal is a long TT etc.? Did I get that right? So far I’ve found him quite vague when asked about the more intense stuff.

This is exactly my understanding of what “he is saying”.


He is quite vague, its why I said he implied that threshold is event and duration dependent. In the Koop podcast the discussion about zones begins around 41 minutes, and zone4 around 44:35, and the duration dependent threshold stuff somewhere after 50 minutes.

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We’ve already had this a few times in this thread …

I guess he is vague because it does not matter so much. In contrast to other WT coaches he puts more emphasis on the outer edge of Z2. This intensity level is quite demanding metabolically. Especially at that rider level. Other coaches - like Bora/Sunweb - prescribe a lower intensity for this very reason. More emphasis on the high stuff (with that I mean that they can nail it).

Adding to this already demanding training you have all the racing at this level. Plenty, plenty of racing. A lot of (unstructured) intensity in there. If they do 8 or 12min intervals, with 2, 3 or 4 min rest intervals, in training does not really matter.

All he said is that he is a friend of longish intervals (likes of 15 min and so). And this is something you see in McNulty’s Strava extracts quite nicely. But then, would a punchy Flanders specialist train the same way under ISM? I don’t know.


Does ISM coach any classics riders/sprinters or does he mostly do GC? I could see that influencing a lot of his preferences with regards with the Z2 targets.

yes, and to my eyes/ears this older San Millan article What is Lactate and Lactate Threshold repeats the same themes as on the Koop podcast.

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I think he sets the exercises according to the determinants of performance for a CG

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It’s pity Kristoff doesn’t post his power data then we might get am idea what he has a Classic rider do (if he coaches Kristoff that is)

It seems conceivable that the prescription for pros isn’t overly complex. They are elite and respond much differently to stimulus than us Cat 3’s.

I’m not elite (novice/Cat5) and at my age will likely never become or be mistaken for elite. Have been training for 7 months under a FasCat coach, however it looks like what I hear from ISM. Since January its roughly looked like:

  • 2 days / ~5 hours of mid zone2 and higher, with higher basically working the edges of zone2/zone3 boundary
  • 2-3 days / 3-7 hours of mostly zone2 with a sprinkling of ‘stuff’ at threshold and above

Not overly complex, simple intervals based on max repeatable (or PDC, definitely not % FTP), and last 90 days has resulted in roughly 80/20 (HR) distribution. Just did my first hard group ride and did 46+ minutes at .93 IF. Felt great despite only having done a few tempo workouts longer than 10 minutes in 3+ months. In fact felt better than after all the times I’ve done TR SSB. If I tapered just a little and did openers it feels like I could go out and do a well paced 10 mile or 40k TT. Boring Strava feed delivers results and even PRs (short efforts under 2 minutes). I’m sold on this approach.


8 and 12min are quite similar, yes, but if you go to other extremes like 2min all-out vs 1h SST I do think it matters what “stuff” you do…

Also, I have never quite understood the argument about high Z2 being too “metabolically demanding”. I mean you just have to eat enough.

Interesting! Not to derail the thread, but that looks quite different from their off-the-shelf SS plans. While very sustainable and well-balanced, they have much more intensity than what you seem to describe here. Did the coach not have you do any SS at all or did that fall within “stuff”?

Last year I did the 18-week sweet spot plan and the quick results (vs TR SSB) sold me on the approach. The customized plan is a result of many discussions with my coach, and is specific to where I’m at, my goals, and being patient and focusing on the long-term.