Is TR Giving Me Too Much Intensity?

Is TrainerRoad giving me too much intensity for a mid-volume plan? I don’t feel overly fatigued or anything but perhaps over time I may accumulate too much? I have a criterium and rolling road race at the end of June (back to back Fri & Sat) and then another criterium at the end of July.

I once heard someone refer to something called the “75/75 rule”. It says that 75% of your in-zone training should be under 75% of your FTP. I don’t know if this rule should be generalized or applied across the board, but it sounds somewhat in-line with more recent research. I’ve also noticed the TR polarized plans seem to follow this philosophy.

Thoughts?

Here’s a screenshot of my workouts for next week:

Looks fine.

You won’t get fitter at 7 hours of training per week without a decent amount of intensity.

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On 7 hours per week it’s actually possible to reduce intensity and increase fitness.

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There is no easy answer to that question. You have to figure that out.

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I think the answer is very individualized and depends on your current fitness, the training loads that you are used to, the aerobic base that you have built, etc. You’ll likely get an equal number of people that say ‘yes’ its too intense and others that say it’s fine, trust the process. I’m relatively new to the structured workout game and don’t have a deep aerobic foundation. I may find that schedule a bit much, but most of the younger guys in my group ride would look at that schedule as moderate to light in nature. I think assessing it in the context of the type of intensity that has worked for you in the past and to listen to your body for any need to deload and rest beyond what is prescribed is important. Seems you are handling it well thus far… good luck

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Yeah, I guess that makes sense. I suppose with the time I’m taking off the bike essentially being recovery time, a larger proportion of the limited time I’m on the bike must be intensity if I am to progress. The trick is finding the balance between intensity and recovery.

I hear that a lot, “trust the process“ or “Trust the plan”, and I tend to agree with that, especially if I’m listening to my body. A lot of people tend to overcomplicate things. For my first 10 years of riding rode bikes, I had no power meter and I would always ride full gas, so I’m used to way too much intensity. Maybe that’s why this MV plan doesn’t feel like too much intensity. It’s just that I started second guessing myself when people saw my plan schedule and said its too much. It goes to show that everyone is different and there’s no “one-size-fits-all”.

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You think so? I’d be interested to see if that would work. Try doing more endurance work by swapping out a VO2max workout?

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As said many times before in the forum and podcast: if you ‘think’ you are doing too much intensity, you probably are. I’m definitely in the ballpark of a LV plan with added endurance when I feel like it or the weather is nice. I can complete all the workouts in the LV plan. Every ride that comes extra is a plus. It’s a mental boost as well. If you can hold up that volume, the better. But if you’re in doubt, scale down.
We all cyclists are type A’s with big egos. Let the ego go, it never brings you fitness.

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This is really just not true. What are your basing that on?

It’s a really broad brush statement. There’s no science behind what your are saying or evidence.
Loads of people can gain great fitness off 7 hours with mostly low intensity.

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Yes, I’ve got some data.

Two years of twice a week spin classes with Stages trained instructors, plus an easy outside ride on weekends. High intensity in the gym, as high or higher than what I did on TR MV. Averaged 3-4 hours/week.

In 2016 doing group rides and more intensity than TR. Two years of that and managed to build a big aerobic engine on 7-8 hours a week with a lot of tempo and a lot of short 30-sec to 4-min full gas Strava segments.

First TR block was SSB 1 high volume, finished that in January 2018. Two years TR. Reduced volume down to say 5-6 hours/week.

The last two years I’ve been following the philosophy you see in CTS, FasCat, Velocious, and other top coaching companies - 60-80% endurance riding on 7-8 hours a week.

Best I can say about those four separate and different two year periods:

  • volume beats intensity. Every. Single. Time.
  • endurance done right, over long periods of time, will improve performance
  • consistency and volume and fun for the win
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Apologies to the science minded chaps, Mr simplistic here.

The ratio between high intensity/ low intensity should be manage by your recovery rate and goals IMMO.

If you only train 3x a week 1h per session, you will sustain a higher ratio of intensity because there is plenty of recovery during the week (for most folks)

If you workout 7 days a week averaging 3h per session, you will have to have a smaller ratio of high vs low.

Without trying to be controversial, this is my understanding of the polarised approach that only makes sense when the hours start to pile up.

Recovery needs to be sustainable week after week and not from ride to ride. Manage recovery it’s actually the tricky bit and any training plan should be built around it.

Keep it simple, keep it real. If in doubt reduce intensity.

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This is where AT comes into work. You need to rate the workouts after every session and be honest about how it felt. AT will do the rest.

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Don’t forget if you’re feeling worn down you can easily swap the Sunday sweet spot ride for endurance. Just try and match the tss if you want or choose a productive endurance ride.

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Yeah, I think if you can ride 7 hours a week, you drop an interval session, make one long ride at least 3 hours, and do two hard interval sessions, you’ll be able to consistently do that amount of work and over the long haul you’ll get much fitter. Your friends doing four interval sessions per week will get fit quicker, but will hit a plateau much sooner, while you continue to make consistent progress month after month, year after year, provided you’re targeting the right energy systems correctly.

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80/20 only makes sense when hours and sessions per week pile up. The concept of easy days easy and hard days hard does not need to scale. And I would argue that someone who can only ride 3 days a week would be far better off doing two one-hour interval sessions and one 3 hour long, steady ride in zone 2 than riding 3 interval sessions every week.

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I agree with this.

It’s hard to randomly do 3-4 hour day on a true LV plan that is 60,60, and 90 minutes.

If you can swap one to a longer z2 3-4 hour ride that will serve you better in the long run (outdoors obviously, unless you can somehow do that indoors).

This is my experience at least.

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I’m going to take a slightly different angle on this because

A) the forum sees questions like this a lot, and the answer almost always coalesces as it has on this thread (that’s a good thing IMO)
B) I generally agree with what has been stated about the importance of low-intensity. In fact, I’m fanatical about it so i often resist the temptation to answer because who needs another old dude (me) yelling “but it’s an aerobic sport, dammit” :joy:

Ok. Serious question. If AI or TR or whatever threw a bunch of endurance and tempo at you, would you stick to the plan? Would you get bored or think “what’s up the same old same old all the time”?

Part of getting better is staying on the bike. I gotta think that part of TR business model is keeping you on the bike.

So what’s going to keep you on the bike?

I don’t care about hours for this question. 100% not relevant. We constantly distract ourselves with “7 hrs vs 20 hrs” debates.

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As others have said above, this is highly individual and IMO the best teacher of what you can handle is always going to be experience. Obviously following established practises will give you a better chance of success, but the only way to really know if it’s too much is to actually do it- whether you adjust and learn from that or run yourself into the ground for ego’s sake will probably make a bigger difference than picking the ‘right’ plan.

With that in mind, I think there are a few questions to ask yourself- are you able to recover and hit your targets? Are you seeing improvements or reductions in performance? How do you feel off the bike? Can you see yourself realistically maintaining this load over the long term, and would you actually want to? Most importantly, do you enjoy what you’re doing?

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:point_up_2: Emphasis added.

Note that I didn’t say TR’s plan had the perfect amount of intensity. Moot point anyway because Adaptive Training and TrainNow already address that.

Personal experience. Most of my training is, in fact, Z2, but I do a lot more than 7 hours.

For how long? Everyone hits a plateau sooner or later, but IME this pushes one towards the “sooner” side.

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