Jump from Low to Mid Volume or Stay the Course?


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 . . .

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

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I’d go with SSB MV 1. It will be at a new higher FTP and will add in additional workouts.

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After just one base-build-specialty cycle with TR I can’t understate the utility in progressing through the numbered plans (ie. SSB 1 ->2 or TB 1->2->3) in order. This is especially valid if you are doing volume or intensity you haven’t done before.
I would agree that option #1 is a good idea, it will provide a new challenge, more volume and any ftp gains from the LV plan, along with being a little more strict structure than LV + volume added at discretion.

The plan is going to get much tougher, especially for someone new to structured training. SSB I is not a good indicator of how you will feel from the training load of later parts of the LV plan. I’d stick to LV and add training load when you feel you can.


I’d opt for option 1 and keep option 3 in my pocket.

It sounds like you’re coming into TR with an athletic background and you’re probably very robust. Just keep in mind that a solid FTP bump will make SSB MV1 a whole new ballgame.

Good luck :+1:

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Thank you for the replies, guys. Next ramp test on Monday. I am planning to wade into MV after that but won’t be shy about switching back to low if necessary. Cheers.

It sounds like you could handle the jump to mid volume for SSB II, but you could skin the cat another way. Commit to LV II, but plan on supplementing. With LV II you add in VO2 work which can be very taxing.

Go with LV, but put in something like Baxter for your Sunday long ride. If you feel good going into week 2, consider tempo (I love Mont Gosford for this). Still feel good and add in a full 90 min @ SS (here you can start borrowing from MV). If week 4 hits and you’re handling it all, pull all the MV rides over and finish strong.


I have a similar background and felt the same during base training. I supplemented just like you have been. My only warning is that build will be a completely different animal than base, especially if you see a big jump in ftp during base.

This is a very clever approach, zwillis, and something I will consider for SSBII even if I repeat SSBI at MV next. Good stuff, mate, thanks!

Yeah, feel you re the build phase. Given that it’s all unknown, each successive move feels at least potentially daunting. One workout at a time, I suppose . . .

I’d say that’ll be the best indicator of which way to go. If you make a huge gain in FTP you can be sure of getting a solid base by doing SSBMV1.

SSB1 is a walk in the park when your FTP is rising rapidly. Not so much when you start with a solid FTP.

Good luck with your TR journey. It’s a great platform.