I apologize in advance if this topic has been beat to death.
I started with TR in December and was super stoked right from the beginning. I followed the schedule religiously (SSBLV) and due to my enthusiasm, added endurance work a couple of times per week on top of the scheduled workouts. These did not seem to impede my workouts, though.
I started at 198ftp and moved to 216 on the 2nd ramp test. The 2nd phase of SSB was harder but still doable, and I found myself turning down intensity on different workouts but still getting through. Then came the 3rd ramp test and there was no improvement, just the same 216. I was a little bummed, but decided to trust the process as I moved into build phase I.
I was able to complete the first planned workout (Carpathian Peak) but bailed out of Mt Goode due to feeling like I just didn’t have it. No worries, I did a couple of easy-ish outside rides and took two days off. Then last night I bailed again on Bashful +1 on the 2nd interval of the 2nd set. Just didn’t have it in me to keep going. I felt like I was rested and I eat well throughout the day. My legs (or more accurately) my head was just having none of it. And definitely my enthusiasm for getting on the bike has waned over the past few weeks, for whatever reason.
I don’t know what’s up. But I’m afraid that failing is getting into my head such that I’m unable to make myself push through. I don’t know if I need advice on how to be tougher mentally, or if 216 is too high, or if I came in with too much TSS or what.
I guess I’m not sure what I’m asking, but I’m interested in everyone’s thoughts.
drop your FTP, you could be one of the ones that the ramp test overestimates for. If not, it surprises me that the progression got to you so fast. Failing workouts can be a confidence problem for some and confidence is key. Lowering the FTP and succeeding will be more beneficial than anything. It takes a while to learn how to suffer and that ability waxes and wanes based on the amount of stress you are carrying. If you are working with an FTP that is too high, I think the learning curve becomes to steep for suffering and you are at risk of burning out prematurely.
It’s weird for me that other than a three workouts during base phase II when I had to turn intensity down just for a short period, and basically at the end of the workouts, that 216 is too high. For most of base 2 it was fine. Maybe it’s the VO2 max nature of Bashful that got me last night. 216 is doable. 327 was not, even if it was just a minute on/30 sec off for 7 minutes.
I think I’ll give one more try before manually readjusting FTP down a notch or two.
Do you know what your weekly TSS had been in the months before you started?
Consider decreasing the volume of threshold work during the LV plan a bit (ex: for carpathian peak only do two threshold intervals instead of three but replace one with 12min of z2) - basically converting the plan to more pyramidal.
I had a similar experience with a few vo2 max workouts. It looks like Goode +1 goes up to 130% FTP. I’d work up to some of the harder workouts by replacing the next one with something more doable for you…look for shorter intervals at 110% FTP. If they are challenging but doable, you should get a better idea of how your body feels at these hard efforts and how long you can hold them. You can then slowly increase the interval length and/or % FTP. It might be more of a mental/confidence boost than anything else. There are workouts with intervals that holds 45" or 1:00 at a higher vo2 max wattage then slowly decrease for a minute or so. You can try 30 on 30 offs or 1-2 minute intervals at 110%…try a few workouts that look fun to help increase that initial motivation…i find if I’m dreading a w/o I give up too quickly.
Bashful +1 should not have resulted in 327 for the intervals at an FTP of 216. Each interval is 125% of FTP which means they should be 270 for you. So either you overshot the targets by a considerable margin or something else is going wrong.
In any case, the Build programs are very tough. You jump right into a lot of VO2 work after not really reaching to that level of intensity for many weeks. I find it very jarring and often drop the intensity of the planned workouts by 5-10% depending on the workout I’m doing, or I’ll go to a lower variant instead.
Look at it as an area you can begin to improve. Take some extra notes for those workouts and after a bit you will start to see patterns. And like everyone else is saying here, there’s not shame in taking some extra rest to recoup. Sometimes the stress unrelated to the bike transfers over and makes a big difference in RPE.
I know you are getting a lot of advice, so you will have to choose what advice you take. Here are my thoughts:
What you are describing sounds very familiar to me. I think you have dug yourself a whole, and or overstrained. Overtraining doesn’t have to be muscular. It can be wearing down of the autonomic system. I think that describes what you are going through. The legs don’t necessarily give out, but you just can’t sustain the focus needed to override the fatigue and things grind to a halt, literally. I’ve been there done that and got the T-shirt. Last season, my FTP started at 260, I got it up to 284 then it slowly dropped to to 269, all while maintaining pretty good adherence to the TR Low volume plan. I stepped away from structured training for months. Rode outside for fun, came back. FTP was 264. These were the best 5 watts I ever lost.
There is good news, you can fix this by make course corrections early. I would take a week break from structured training. During this week I would only ride outside, and I would not exceed the TSS of the prescribed recovery week. After one week of low TSS unstructured riding, I would see how I felt. My guess is that you are going to feel a lot better. So, then would do a ramp test, and go back to the training. For me personally, I’ve learned that after a block of sweetspot, I need to drop one of the workouts. I can only manage two interval workouts per week. So in the build phase, I drop the sweetspot workout, and make up for it with two low intensity rides with my friends. It seems to be working for me. I would think you may try that.
What I wouldn’t do is lower the intensity by 5%. The TR workouts are gauged off of this and you want to be in the right zones for training. My experience is that the lower volume may make the unbearable workouts bearable, but that doesn’t treat the underlying symptom. You are overtrained. Plus, we are trying to push our performance, and the only way to make gains is to push the limits. The rationale behind my approach is that you save yourself for your really hard workouts, so that you can work do the work. Get your volume in at a very low intensity. Kinda sounds like periodization.
This may be controversial. There are a lot of smart athletes and coaches on the this forum. Some of them have been very helpful to me when I was crashing last season. These are my opinions founded on feedback I’ve gathered. Seems to work for me now. I hope you find it helpful. And I really wish you well and much success.
Do you track calorie intake? Under fuelling shows up more in higher intensity workouts than easier sessions. Ensure you’re recovering properly, fueling before a workout, and maybe try fuelling on the bike if not doing so already.
The ramp test works for some to define FTP but a lot of people have to adjust because it measures mostly VO2max. In your case you should lower your FTP. So you did not do your threshold or sub-threshold workouts in the correct zone and lead to overreaching. Overtraining is something different…
Trainerroad bases VO2max workouts on FTP while this is where this is not correct. I base my vo2max workouts on 5’ power (90 to 95%).
I would suggest redo the base 2 with a lower FTP and then move into build
What I think is typical for a person new to structure is that they ride a lot outside pretty hard, which means they overdevelop their anaerobic system. They do the ramp test and their solid anaerobic system pushes their FTP value higher than it really is. Trainerroad Bell curve says VO2Max is 120% of FTP, but when your FTP is inflated, that may be actually 118%, 115%, or even lower. The likelihood that your FTP is inflated is important because it makes it harder to find out where your vo2max occurs. You probably find that everything is hard, but vo2max would be especially hard. It feels good to have that higher FTP, but you haven’t really gotten there yet.
Thanks to everyone for their thoughts; what a great resource! To answers some of the common questions:
Yes, the 327 number I threw out for the intervals on Bashful +1 was a typo. Sorry!
Brief background: 48 years old, 5’11" @ 150. Have been riding seriously since 2005, but have been unable to ride consistently since 2012 due to job/family and most impactful, weather (moved from SOCAL to SODAK ). Last year I bought an H3 and used Rouvy; then found the TR podcast which led me here. It’s been years since I’ve done structured training, and prior to this I was grabbing outdoor rides as life permitted, maybe 50-100 miles per week but usually very inconsistently outside of June-September.
Cooling: I have a super-strong Lasko directed at my head and chest; a weaker fan on my left pointed at my torso, and a weaker-still overhead fan on high. I sweat, but don’t generally feel like I’m overcooking.
Nutrition: I would say it’s “ok.” I cut out alcohol and most of the associated late-evening snacking. Most of my intake is decent-ish quality, very little fast food, and I try to eat carbs in the afternoon leading up to my post-work rides (an apple, a banana and usually a gel right before the workout. Only on longer workouts - 90+mins - do I take another gel about halfway through.
Sleep: Generally 7-8 hours per night.
Miscellaneous thoughts: I’ve been reading How Bad Do You Want It? and listening to some Rich Roll podcasts to up my mental game but if I’m being honest, I think that’s the limiter for me. I’m trying to reframe the sub-par workouts into learning experiences but I think personally my mental side has always been my issue. Or maybe I’m just beating myself up about it.
Again, I am super appreciative of everyone’s input. Thank you for taking the time to respond - y’all are great!
Probably this is an issue. it’s hard to be prepared for how sucky it can feel at threshold or higher. You can both psyche yourself out of a work and in the moment, it’s easy to bail on an interval when it feels bad. This never goes away, you just go faster. What will improve is your tolerance to discomfort and your confidence enduring it.