Is lockdown the time to try high volume base?

Hi folks – looking for some guidance on how to break through a plateau and best make use of some extra training time in the coming months.

TLDR: Have a few weeks/months of extra training time. What would you do to bring your FTP higher: pile on the hours in Sweet Spot Base High Volume or stick with the plan of Rolling Road Race Specialty Mid-Volume?

I’ve been using Trainerroad for a few seasons and have seen my fitness grow. Progress, however, slowed in the last year just below 4.0 w/kg. I have followed mid-volume plans from SSB to General Build since mid-January with my best-ever consistency. Since lockdowns began, I have been able to add a bit of extra volume, upping my hours per week from around 7 last season to 9 this season and bringing my 6-week average TSS to above 500.

Having just completed the Build Phase, I feel strong on the bike. I logged some choice PRs in recent days on Strava segments and am setting some all-time power PRs. That said, ramp tests aren’t charting a big improvement: this season have my FTP has been measured at 250, 256, 252 and as of yesterday to 254 (3.9 w/kg at 65 kg).

I’m scheduled to begin the mid-volume Rolling Road Race specialty phase. I bet the focus on vO2 max could help me progress (my current strength definitely favors longer intervals rather than vO2 max/anaerobic stuff).

That said, I’m likely working from home for only a few more months – then it’s back to the office and back to having fewer hours per week to train.

With no racing on the immediate calendar (I’m registered for the re-scheduled BWR in November but am doubtful it will happen), my goal is to bring my FTP as high as I can and want to best take advantage of my remaining 9 or 10-hour training weeks.

Would this be a wise time to try Sweet Spot Base High Volume? From there I could go back to mid-volume build and specialty later in the year.

Thanks everyone!

Option C: Add in a bunch of Z2 rides. I’ve read a lot of posts on here of people who significantly increased z2 hours and saw huge gains.

I’ll let others chime in with more details?

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I would go with the sweet spot high volume plans.

Did them before and am doing them now with some added easy riding and running. I experienced them to be super beneficial. Especially when followed by a sustained power build block.

For what it’s worth I weigh 65kg and my FTP is 280. So number-wise quite close to you.

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Interesting – on that note, would you add Z2 rides to the Specialty phase or do a more traditional base phase with lots of volume and not a lot of intensity?

SSBHV is not for the faint of heart…basically 6 days / week of 1:30 - 2:00 of Sweet Spot work. I was doing it, able to handle it physically, but it began to wear on me mentally. As the weather got better, I started dropping the SAt / Sun rides and going outdoors more. Still kept the same TSS, but was doing longer rides outdoor.

Now it probably didn’t help that I am not training for anything this year due to COVID19, so it also seemed kinda pointless and that likely affected my mental approach as well.

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If you’re not doing any racing anyway and are primarily focused on upping your FTP, I don’t think Speciality is the most efficient use of your time (sorta regardless of where you land with your choices anyway). It’s also concerned with keeping you fresh and eventually tapering you down. You won’t lose fitness on it, of course, but it’s specifically not a base or build.

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Good to hear – definitely leaning toward High Volume Sweet Spot Base.

If you somewhat like sweet spot work, you cannot go wrong about it. Plus you can still add some easy riding if you want to make things less monotonous.

Also like Justin said you might want to consider dropping the speciality phase.

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Yeah, PlanBuilder keeps serving up Specialty but considering the current lack of racing/group rides, it seems like a better moment to oscillate between Base and Build.

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This is important to hear. Last thing anyone needs right now is for training to add to that mental/emotional strain.

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I’ve also done SSBHV, but all I did was ride, eat, sleep. For reals.

Didn’t get much of an FTP boost but it really helped push my muscular endurance out.

As others have said, it’s very monotonous because it’s ONLY SS. Buyer beware.

If you’re chasing FTP gains then maybe give Sustained Power Build a try.

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SSHV seems very plainfull.
I only done the LV and it was painful I cant imagine going 5 to 6 days at SS.

I would personally do MV and add longer steady rides z2/z3 range. Possible outside if you can.
But i am a “triathlete” so i also need to think about my running.

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How is that different to your normal schedule? :joy:

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Yup…you could also do the same with the HV option…your work doing the week is very focused and based on intensity, but manageable even with HV. Weekend rides are Z2/3 for variety.

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Or you keep all the prescribed workouts of the high volume plan and add additional endurance stuff to it. :grimacing:

Obviously playing devils advocate here but well for one never knows how much they can stomach until they have tried. Guess this situation right now is quite unique. Chance to really nail it might never come again. :grin:

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I effectively did this but with traditional base. Don’t know your age or anything but for me SSB was a bit more intensity than I was able to handle while keeping sane and motivated. In reality I used traditional base for most workouts and probably did 1 or 2 workouts a week that would look more like SSB, like Galena

My FTP has risen pretty significantly as a result though I am sure there are other variables that contributed as well. Just an option to consider. You might jump into SSB HV and think it’s not enough ass kicking and want more. That was not me and I’m pretty good at suffering.

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Similar here.

With only two years of road cycling I came to TrainerRoad in late 2017 at the tail end of a very strong base (base was fading at that point). Did SSB-1 HV at 55 yrs old and saw a nice result - best HC climb ever at the end of week 5. However with that much hard Sweet Spot work (5 days/week!) it was difficult to stay motivated. The TR SSB HV plan is a threshold plan to my eyes.

This year I took a more pyramidal approach - 10 hours/week with less SS (vs TR SSB HV) and more zone 2. That has resulted in higher motivation, less fatigue, “stronger base” that is capable of generating more short (sub 5-min) power, and similar FTP.

Like stringwise said, you might jump into SSB HV and want more. I’m sold on a pyramidal approach.

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Yes that sums me up too pretty much across the board. My intervals.icu analysis puts me in the pyramid as well.

Capture

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Looks similar to my last 3 months:

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Have been wondering about this too. Currently doing specialty (rolling HV) based on a peaking for a race in July which now won’t happen. Main reason for not going back to base or build was that I felt pretty fatigued after general build so wasn’t sure if more volume would be a good idea. I’ve also never seen a periodised plan through to specialty before and know my top end power is weak. Interested to hear what others are doing in similar situations? Maybe I should have just taken a couple of easy weeks and gone back to base or build…

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