Low Volume Plan - Best way to use 'Extra' time

So I’ve used the plan builder to plan my season. Between work and family I have varying time available to train. Sometimes I have a fair bit, other weeks I’m stretched, so I based my plan on the minimum hours I know I can train each week, which is low volume. There’ll be a fair few weeks where I can fit more in. The low volume plan also has workouts usually between 60 to 90 minutes. I’ll also have days where I can ride longer than this. My goal for the year is a rolling road race in October.

What is the best way to approach my ‘extra’ time?

Should I use the variations of workouts which have a longer workout when possible? Or just complete the workout and finish with some endurance/recovery/enjoyment riding?

Should I use my extra days for endurance/enjoyment rides? (I have some nice mountains nearby with good climbs between 2 & 6km in length which I really enjoy riding. Or should I use extra days to complete additional workouts similar to those already in the plan for that week?

I also have local club racing roughly every fortnight which I have not factored in to my training. These are additional to my planned workouts.

Would love to hear some thoughts.

(And I don’t want to change a whole block to Medium Volume, because it will not be for the whole block that I can afford extra time, and don’t want to be constantly deleting/adding/deleting my plan due to the varying training availability. As far as I know there’s no way to change the volume of just one week???)

You’ve presented a lot of sensible options. None of them is definitely right or definitely wrong, and it sounds like you’ll need to be flexible.

What I’d suggest is to try to stick to the main principle set out in the low volume plans that no week should have more than 3 hard workouts / rides.

So if all your extra riding is easy, then you can stick to the LV plan as it is. But if you’re doing one of your races, or a smash-y group ride, then you might want to substitute one of the workouts for something easier.

If it’s just about adding volume to the plan through Trainer Road, then again, all approaches are valid. Longer versions of workouts, extra time at the end of workouts, extra workouts. But as long as the extra volume, however you achieve it, is mostly lower intensity and doesn’t end up creating a week that’s so hard it puts you in a hole.

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I’m doing the Low Volume plans (just at the end of SSBLV2) primarily because I want to ride outdoors as much as possible and also I see workouts on the trainer as, well training, for such rides. The Mid & High Volume plans have workouts on both days of the weekend and I’d be out riding thinking “I’m missing a workout”. Doing the LV plan means I can use the weekends to my advantage - outside if the weather’s good, etc. or inside if it’s vile.

The LV workouts, especially in SSBLV2 are pretty tough, you might not want to extend them at all other than a few minutes of extra cool-down time. You could either choose one of the longer versions (but check the IF and TSS and read about the differences between the scheduled and variant workout) or do one of the various endurance or recovery workouts as well. Keep the intensity of the extra work low.

I’d keep the rest days as rest days - you’ll need them!

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What I’m about to say may or may not be of great importance to you, and will partially depend on how well trained you are. If you are new to riding or structured training then the following advice may impact you less than a well-trained athlete however the principals are still the same.

When talking about adding volume, a lot of people overlook the week-to-week structure that is built in to the plans. Ever notice how each week of a plan introduces small increases in TSS, followed by a lower stress week for recovery? Randomly sprinkling in extra rides whenever you have time risks compromising this structure and undermines potentially 50% of the benefits that a proper training plan provides.

So, take my opinion with a pinch of salt, but I would argue that unless your aim is purely to just ride as much as possible (in which case you aren’t benefiting from the structure TR provides and might as well just pick random workouts on random days) then you should be careful to plan your extra time to still conform with the week-to-week stress structure. In other words, my suggestion would be:

  1. add extra workouts but keep the weekly TSS of these extra rides the same every week (and probably drop them during the recovery week)


  1. add extra workouts as/when you can but ensure they don’t disrupt the progression of stress throughout the plan


  1. stick rigidly to the plan (it works)

I’d agree with the above about the structure of the plans (3-5 weeks building difficulty then 1 week easy); the only way I’d differ is in defining it around intensity rather than TSS.

After all, week 7 - the hardest week - of Sustained Power Build LV is 330 TSS. You could easily do more than that with higher volume, lower intensity, and it would take less toll on your body. “Not all TSS created equal”, etc.

But like I say, the general principle of remembering a general structure of building difficulty and recovering from it is an important and sound one.

Not new to riding, but new to structured training.
I guess the thing is I ‘feel’ like I can add more when time permits, without causing my planned workouts to suffer. When I look at calandar I can see on the plan my TSS will be anywhere between 200ish to 350ish. When I look back over my previous year, there’s plenty of weeks where I was hitting between 400 to 600. It’s just not regular enough to fit it in to a plan, but I feel like if I don’t ride as much when I can, I’ll feel a bit lazy, and feel like I could be doing more. I also thought fitting in longer rides when I can, will me assist in longer races.

I’m not against this approach either but I suggested tracking by TSS since that’s what TR uses both in its plans and in the calendar. In other words it’s much easier to track. I’m not sure lower intensity and higher TSS takes a lower toll on your body so much as a different/less muscular toll.

Otherwise we’re in agreement I think!


Yeah sure, if you want to ride more then you can. But, like I said, randomly adding in extra workouts in an inconsistent manner undermines the basic and important structure of structured training.

But also note that “feel” is only part of the equation. If “feel” was enough to get us efficiently through a plan then we wouldn’t need power meters and HR monitors and apps to track our stress and recovery.

It’s also worth noting that doing a structured TR plan shouldn’t have you on your knees. So it’s not that you CAN’T add more work to the plans, but sometimes you SHOULDN’T if you want to optimise recovery (a very important part of training) and generally build a base for a stronger athlete who can continue to find gains year-on-year.

Often doing too much (aka over-reaching or over-training) isn’t noticed until it’s too late. So my approach is always to do less comfortably than to try and do too much. If you’re barely making it through the week because you’re so tired after chasing that “I can do more” feeling, then you’re probably doing too much and you’re going to struggle as the plans progress.

I have the same idea as you. LVP to give me more variations. Adding more recovery,endurance workouts,or going for some outside rides. My goal is atleast two TR WO, and one LSD ride per week,since having two kids and shift work.

My new approach since i got my PM, is to plan my training load with help from Intervals.icu and TR. Will try to get around 400-500 tss per week, around 300 from TR LVP plan and adding some recovery and LSD ride to fill it up to 400-500. In Interval.icu i can follow and get my fitnesscurve in the right direction, with help from importing my TR calender and then planning and adding training load

Also doing my LSD as endurande WO from TR, picking them from how long time i want to ride.