Losing faith with new TR plans

Hi all, long time TR mega-fan but…

Just started (end of first week) the new version of SPBMV and was surprised at how little actual sustained work is in the program. Having just come off the back of the ‘old’ version of SSBMV and having reasonably comfortably completed workouts like Lemarck and Leconte plus the lengthy Over-Under workouts, SPBMV ‘new and improved’ seems an absolute walk in the park. Having reviewed the entire plan I am concerned about whether there are enough longer sessions in there to help me with my goal this year of a comfortable ride through the French Alps in August.

Therefore, I am having a bit of a crisis of confidence with the new TR plans. I believe from what I have read elsewhere in the forums that TR have dialled down the intensity in the plans to assist with compliance and completion but to be honest I never found that to be an issue, even at the ripe old age of 51 with quite a few years of being a TR subscriber in my legs now. I get the progression method but I genuinely believe that the ‘easier’ plans, launched without the benefit of AT to raise or lower the ramp rate, are not going to give me the stimulus I need starting from the low progression base. The ‘Train Now’ suggestions are all at least 1.0 - 1.5 points higher.

Anyone else have the same concerns? Am I wrong to suggest that perhaps launching the new progression model without AT to calibrate is premature? Today was 7x7mins at low sweet spot (88%) over two hours which frankly feels pointless when I can knock out 3 x 15mins in 90mins at 90%+ fairly comfortably already (a note on my FTP - I saw a small bump after SSBMV1 but nothing after SSBMV2, and I think I am one of those rare types for whom the Ramp Test underrates my FTP as I usually add 5w and can finish my workouts pretty comfortably).

What’s the consensus? Stick with it as prescribed or go guns blazing with more highly rated (in terms of progression) workouts?

Also, anyone else struggling with the new app? The rendering on my Samsung Tab A 10.1 (2019) is terrible (really blocky rendering, bits of the screen not showing, missing the middle interval graph), plus the default screen is Train Now even when I have a workout scheduled, and potentially worse I can see my wife’s future and completed workouts in my calendar (we share the same tablet but different accounts of course). Had a few crashes on the app as well (all reported to TR support). This lends itself to my thinking that this whole launch has been rushed.

Anyway, good to hear if anyone feels the same re the plans or same issues with the app. Thanks for reading.

18 Likes

Similar experiences for me across the levels eg I finished up my last block knocking out (for example) 9.5 sweetspot but after a recovery week the new plan gives me a 3.1 sweetspot. Without an ftp bump it’s quite a drop off.

4 Likes

Seeing a couple similar threads recently. There’s probably more

3 Likes

There’s no reason to stick with the suggested workout levels if you have been doing more and have no signs of over reaching.

There’s a few threads on this you can read. I got into Beta shortly after raising similar concerns, and that has alleviated the issue. My plan was to substitute the workouts in each category using TrainNow and knowledge of the workout library.

2 Likes

If you had the opportunity to listen to the podcast a few weeks back Nate explained how the numbering works. In brief:

  • VO2/threshold/endurance numbers do not correlate to each other - they are each their own grade
  • If you can breeze through a 9.5 then this means that your FTP is too low. Conversely, if a 3.0 is very hard, then your FTP might be too high.
  • Most people midway through the block between ramp tests should find things achievable, but start getting more easy the closer you get to the next ramp test.
  • Without the full Adaptive Training bells and whistles, the workout won’t be changing and picking up early adaptations you’re making, so don’t be afraid to use the + to notch up a few % on the intervals (or conversely down)
  • The new plans have been intentionally started at a lower intensity as many people were failing at the older levels (per their data), and obviously will get discouraged. Plainly this will not work for all, so make adjustments with the +
11 Likes

So the new plans have been made easier to accommodate adaptive training? So that means everyone else had their plans screwed up and got lowered when we’re not on adaptive training? I switched to polarized and my plan went missing a little while ago.

6 Likes

Yup, although I have been doing that with TR‘s previous plans, too. I also found workouts way too easy, but I just modify TR‘s plans until I have access to AT. Although that is no different than with the old plans.

I would caution, though, that feeling easier means you will necessarily reap less training benefit. The new training plans seem to be more small-p-polarized, you can see that in the Wednesday and Sunday sessions of the MV plans. Instead of Carter or Pettit, they have scheduled much easier workouts on Wednesdays.

The 9.5 sweetspot workout isn’t stock, though. And if you write you’ve been knocking it out of the park, I’d suggest you should retest your FTP.

2 Likes

Yes I’ve read and heard all of that numerous times. OP performs badly at ramp tests, as do I. Without a ftp bump at testing time the drops in levels can be huge. That remains true regardless of everything I’ve read and heard from TR.

As you’ve noted, if you’re not on AT then you manually adjust. Not sure how that helps users trust the process.

3 Likes

Yes it was stock under the OLD gen build MV plan

Yes I did do an ftp test shortly after. As I said, the drop in levels needs an ftp bump to make any sense and I am in the same boat as the OP in that we don’t test well. Without access to AT, the plan then progresses up to levels below what was being achieved earlier.

So far more manual adjustments potentially needed on the new plans than the old for me :man_shrugging:t3:

1 Like

Different strokes for different folks…

I’m also early 50s, also training for a French Alps trip (supposedly Sept, gods willing :wink:), used TR for nearly 4 years, am at the end of wk2 of Sustained Power Build MV, and absolutely love the design of the new plans!

I particularly like the more polarized aspect (easier endurance w/os) enabling greater recovery, else the MV plans would be a challenge for me to handle (too much intensity interfering with recovery), despite having in theory almost unlimited training time, and I like there being 2 VO2max w/os per week.

My guess is that that for every person such as yourself who thinks the new plans may be a step backwards (esp without AT yet operational) there’ll be at least one person like me who prefers these new plans. Whereas previously I may have had to tweak the plans to better suit my needs, perhaps you may now find yourself in that position, roles reversed?

One thing I would mention is that if you’re prepping for an Alps trip in August then your plan scheduling looks like it may be a touch out, eg. it doesn’t look like there’s sufficient time for your plan to include a full Speciality block following Build. Opinions may differ, but the Century speciality plan is possibly most appropriate for an Alps non-race climbing trip, and it’s what I’ll be doing. Remember, our current phase is Build, with that Speciality phase event-specific honing to follow…

The Century MV plan has two Threshold w/os per week, and of the type that it sounds like you’re looking for in your post - that honing for sustained climbing efforts. But under the new plans this greater emphasis on that type of work is occurring in the final Speciality phase, not so much during the build phase as you’ve pointed out.

Personally, I like that change a lot, and welcome the emphasis on greater VO2max work within Build. For me, this will keep that phase much more interesting, and the more polarized plan design will suit my recovery better - both aspects leading to greater compliance for me, and I suspect greater efficacy for me. But we’re all different.

9 Likes

If all that hard work didn’t give you a bump in FTP it seems like it wasn’t very productive? Maybe you should give the new plans a chance?

3 Likes

I’m 52 and loving the new plans. Levels have changed everything for me, making some of the workouts achievable instead of impossible. I fell outside the bell curve so these changes are huge and positive for me.

6 Likes

Ah, being utterly crap at ramp tests doesn’t mean I don’t get FTP bumps. I’ve increased ftp from 225 to 267 over the past year and had excellent gains across the whole power curve - I couldn’t have hoped for more out of the old plans. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy with TR and I’m certainly embracing the new plans, but with the large reduction in levels (especailly if FTP is unchanged / lower than the last block) and no AT I think they require a larger leap of faith.

2 Likes

Thanks all for the great responses. It seems the new plans have polarized (no pun intended) the collective. For some the new plans have become more achievable, and for others (myself included) they subjectively feel easier in their presented form and require manual changes in lieu of the promised AT engine. This reinforces my thinking that the new plans have been released too early but the fix is fairly straight forward. I dont think though that I agree with just knocking the intensity up to compensate. Surely that just has the effect of potentially pushing the workout into a different zone? Wouldn’t the sensible thing be to use the progression levels provided by TR and using those to swap out say a 4.5 for a 5 or 5.5 instead and keeping the FTP figure the same?

My Ramps are the very definition of frustration. They tend to go backwards or stay stagnant unless I switch to doing something more sustained like a 20min test or Kolie Moore protocol.

4 Likes

Useful, thanks. I’d seen the latter one but not the first. Seems I am not the unique individual I like to think I am :slight_smile:

Thanks for that useful summary. That last point is the one I think I have an issue with. What that says to me is that some (many?) people have just over-estimated their FTPs and to compensate TR have made the plans easier (to stop people cancelling their subs?). At face value this does seem a bit like a commercial decision (reducing ‘dropouts’) driving the change but perhaps I am being too cynical.

6 Likes

If your training point (ftp) is too low I think that requires a lot of daily fiddling and guesswork and you have the same issue at the next new block when your levels go from 8/9 back down to 3 with no ftp change again. Raising the ftp 2-3% at the start of the block and seeing how you go is potentially more of a one-off solution.

1 Like

My trip is actually end of Aug and mostly into Sept so maybe you’ll pass me going up one of the cols!

This could be the case. Easily fixed, just adds a bit of stress and guess work which TBH is not what I feel I should be paying for. But then, I’ve used TR for a long time now so it’s not too big an issue and just needs some planning.

You are right that the timing is out but this is intentional. I’ve found that I don’t need a long taper so what I have done is tweaked the plan (also Century MV) to have 3 weeks’ work, and a mix of rest and tapering until I travel. Long tapers don’t really work for me for multi-day events.

1 Like

All these threads on the new plans recently and some comments from several people here has also raised a thought in my head…‘minimum effective dose’…

I wonder whether the TR plans have always basically had too much intensity, or perhaps simply more than is needed? It’s been discused to death here for a long time. I recently got some plans from Fascat and have heard anecdotally from others with plans from other coaches, that pretty much all these plans have significantly LESS intensity in them week to week, yet people still seem to progress nicely with them.

It just makes me wonder whether the historic TR plans have simply conditioned many of us to expect to have to kill lots of tough sessions in order to develop fitness when in fact the minimum effective dose is a lot less than we think and fitness gains are achievable with a lot less volume of intensity than we think eg the no pain no gain theory. It might just be that we can do less, be better recovered and fresher, be more consistent AND get good results…

Just a thought :wink:

19 Likes

Ah, true. I checked and you are right. I failed that workout, though, according to my notes I didn’t feel it that day. But given that is a 9.5, it’s probably just a freaking hard workout …

I’d still say if this workout felt easy, it’s time to reassess your fitness :slight_smile: