This is going to be a garden-variety-unnecessarily-long-ish-special-snowflake-“What-Plan-Should-I-Do-Next?” post, but there are often such useful and interesting perspectives on this incredibly helpful forum, so here goes . . .
I am a middle-age ball-sport athlete (lots of sport-specific strength, agility and interval training in my history) who has forever declared, “I am not an endurance athlete!” . . . Until now . . .
Decided I needed to build up better aerobic base, started reading about the utility of power-based conditioning, one thing led to another, and just like that–I am absolutely hooked on doing my TR workouts and obsessed with learning more about cycling and endurance training.
I took the conventional-wisdom advice and started with Low Volume Sweet Spot Base I, hoping to augment with additional endurance and/or active recovery rides if I felt up to it, but mentally prepared that it might go the other way: that the newness of riding so regularly would cause discomfort somewhere along the chain. Really I just wanted to ease my way into this and give myself a chance for success at being on the bike so frequently. The plan was to take it slow with an emphasis on consistency . . .
But I guess my fears were unnecessary (um, so far) because everything is clicking (uhhh, so far). I have felt strong, am getting tremendous satisfaction from each workout, and have not only adhered to the plan but have added :60-:90 minute endurance rides and active recovery rides. As I approach the end of Week 6, I’ve been consistent with 4-5 days on the bike per week. (And still doing some strength work a couple days a week, and core stuff more frequently. Recovery. nutrition, sleep, flexibilitymobility–all have been on-point lately; hopefully I can keep all that up.)
Here are my options as to what comes next . . .
SSBMVI - This is my instinct. I feel like, as long as I’m going to ride 5 times per week rather than 3, I should use the structured plan, rather than just add workouts (Coach Chad knows his business!). Since I’m new to all this and trying to ingrain good, consistent habits–and wanting to give myself every chance to succeed when things get more challenging down the road–repeating SSBI at mid volume is attractive.
SSBMVII - I guess on paper this makes the most sense: stay in sequence but switch to higher volume since I seem able to handle it. But, I think the move to a higher volume plan combined with the added challenge of SSBII on a possibly-increased FTP (my next test will only be my second ever) might be a big ask. If I were on any kind of a schedule w/r/t trying to peak at a certain time, this would probably be my choice, but since I’m not, changing both the volume and the workout block at the same time seems a bit much.
SSBLVII - This would be the “safest” option, in that it continues to build on SSBLVI and only commits me to 3x/week. So if my body stops recovering quite as well, or if the physical/mental challenge gets more daunting, I’m not obliged to do 5x/week–and I still could continue to add workouts à la carte. I would choose this option if I thought my momentum would slow, or that this early “enjoyment” of the training were a honeymoon phase that might end sooner rather than later.
Like I say, my instinct is for #1, particularly since, in searching the forum, I saw @Nate_Pearson give a +1 to repeating SSBI (https://www.trainerroad.com/forumt/repeating-ssbmv1/22702/2).
I realize the stakes are low here; I can easily adjust and change course as needed. But since I’m new, just curious about others’ experiences and advice. Thanks in advance!