Is all TSS the same?

First some background. I’m a 52 YO guy and have been riding bikes regularly about 7-8 years now. I’ve been racing for about 2-3 years, and this is my second year with Trainerroad. Last year I nearly completed traditional base mid-volume, got sick and crashed and burned. STILL in many ways I was a stronger cyclist when racing season came around. BTW I’m a cat 5 in road and CX.

This year I started off again with traditional base mid-volume completed the first two months 100% and then a buddy finally convinced me to move to Sweet Spot Base. So using the plan builder I redid my training from scratch and started off with SSB mid-volume 1.

All was going well, but then I noticed major body-ache on Mondays – you know the type one has while undergoing full blown sickness. I took the Tuesday off and then was again ready on Wednesday (yeah for the short endurance workout). The week would go fine and then repeat itself. Or some close variation of skipping workouts and resuming a full schedule to repeat. You get the point, with SSB1 I am not at 100% compliance (and yes I know the goal is NOT to achieve 100% compliance but to finish on the lead lap of the upcoming criterium season).

The question hinted at in the subject is this. With Traditional base I was racking up more TSS than what was planned in SSB, but the SSB work wreaked way more havoc on my body than the traditional base workout plan. So, do two workouts with identical TSS but different intensities affect fitness and fatigue in the same manner? My guess is (based on n=1) no they don’t and that TSS like so many other calculations and measures is imperfect.

To address this, I’m opting for Sweet Spot Base II – low volume. I can always add in workouts and feel like a boss rather than skip workouts and feel like a loser.

Ahhh, Trainerroad – my rise and shine frienemy!

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You seem to know the answer. No, not all TSS is the same. 100 TSS after a blazing 75 min race is going to inflict stress on different systems and parts of the body than 100 TSS after a 2hr Z2 ride. And you will feel fatigue in a different way.


Trad Base does not wreak havoc on your sympathetic/autonomic nervous system like higher intensity work does (e.g. SS). There is very little unrecoverable stress with Trad Base; stress and fatigue will accumulate at SS+ intensities.


Short answer: No.
Long answer: Nooooooooooooooooo.

Spot on. Chad has said many times on the podcast that this is the preferred method.


Thanks & Thaaaaaaaannnnnnnkkkkkkkkks! :rofl:


If not all TSS is the same, is there a better calculation we should all be using?

At age 65 I’m in the same quandry. I spent the summer and fall doing polarized training with lots of zone 2 riding. Decided to do SSB MV. As I approach the end of the block, I’m just plain tired, with a niggling “discomfort” in a knee here and an ankle there. I’m taking a couple of days completely off then doing the last week of SSB MV1. I’ve been looking at the workouts in LV and MV for SSB2, and I think what I’m going to do is 3 MV workouts/week and throw in one more zone 2 ride. I have no plans to race, and was doing well until I tried to follow Coach Chad’s pedaling instructions for low cadence.

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Win %.

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All TSS is the same when comparing the same TSS. However, if they are different, they are not the same, unless they are the same and were inadvertently identified as different, in which case they are the same.


You mean a particular work out called for low cadence? Or are you lowering your cadence in general?

In the Last 3 days, I did Carson, Palisade and Eclipse. Carson has pedaling drills that include low cadence and standing, I did some of those in the second interval, but developed the niggling complaints that I mentioned. Eclipse has some of the same, but I ignored those. My normal cadence is about 100, and anything below 85 with a lot of force seems to bother my knees.

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