Low Volume Plan/Unstructured Training

Hey everyone. Just started TrainerRoad after 18 months of binging the podcast.

As per the TR advice, I’ve set myself a low volume plan. My thinking here was that it will allow me to continue to do my unstructured club rides. My week ends up looking like this:
Mon: 1 hr TR Workout
Tues: 90 minute club ride
Wed: 1 hr TR Workout
Thurs: 3 hr club ride
Friday: 90 minute TR Workout
Weekend: 4-6 hour club ride

Last week, I had 314 TSS planned and finished with 621 TSS.

My question is, would it be better to go with a mid volume plan and schedule the unstructured workouts as outdoor zone 2 workouts? My thinking is that if I did it this way, It may mean that I can drop 1 TR workout per week. I’m also guessing that my training plan will consider my club rides for adaptations?

I fear the current setup is not sustainable…

I do similar. I was on a MV plan and substituting /associating but TR support recommended that I switch to a LV plan to get AT to calculate correctly.

One thing I would ask though are you getting a rest day in.

I do the Low Volume plans and add whatever weekend rides I fancy.

At the moment AT doesn’t work with unstructured rides but will work with outdoor rides associated with a TR workout, obviously the ride has to be reasonably close in structure to the workout so probably best for either steady state rides or short intervals.

You don’t say how old you are but there’s diddly squat recovery time in that schedule, you might, stress might , be OK for a while but three months down the line you’ll be laid low.

Either way you may have to end up either dropping/deleting TR workouts or changing them to recovery rides when you need them, as the MV plans aren’t just LV plus two endurance days. I’d stick with LV for the flexibility. What you need to modify will probably depend on how intense these club rides are… people talk like every single club ride turns into a total hammerfest, but I’ve never been in a group that didn’t have at least some chill social rides on offer, which is obviously a different proposition re: training stress compared to those hammerfests.

Sustainable is dependant on your training history. For some, a week like this would kill em, some. not so much… What sort of TSS have you been able to maintain consistently (for weeks at a time)? Also not all TSS is created equal, but this is just to get a rough estimate.

It’s important to keep fresh for your TR days so you can get the most out of your workouts - There is scope to fit in your TR workouts, particularly SS, with your group rides, just let your buddies know and take 20-30min pulls of the front doing your SS work, hopefully they can hold your wheel, if not, just rejoin them when you finish the workout.

Thanks to everyone so far for the feedback.

To add more context, I’m 39. Last year I averaged between 400 and 600 TSS per week.

To rephrase the question, currently, I’m on a low volume plan which gives me 3 sessions per week. Because there are so few, each session is a critical workout. In reality, I’m doubling this volume with unstructured group rides. These rides tend to be in the zone2-3 power ranges once normalized. Because they are unstructured and not part of the plan, the impact of these rides is not recognized.

I was thinking that by changing to a MV plan but including the 3 group rides as part of the plan (outdoor structured rides), I could in essence drop one of the TR sessions to give me 5 workouts per week.

It seems counterintuitive but could moving to a higher volume plan actually allow me to reduce volume overall?

Another option that’s been suggested to me is to keep it as is but drop all group rides during the recovery week. So three very hard weeks and then a very easy week.

I did something like that for a year and a half, but had more intra-week recovery. Looks like you basically have 1 day off and no lower intensity days, so basically 6 hard days straight. I think that is a path to implosion. The issue I often see with ‘club rides’ is even though the normalized power is in the z2/z3 range, I bet if you look at your power distribution you spend a ton of time in z1 and a good chunk of time at threshold and above, but not much in z2. So they are more like unstructured interval sessions. You’re trying to have your cake and eat it too, which I don’t think will work for long.

I think you need to make a choice between club rides and structured training or at least make some compromises to one or both to find the balance you are happy with. If you want to keep the 3 club rides, I’d ditch TR and make Mon/Fri active recovery and Wed straight endurance. If you want to go harder on TR, I’d skip the Tues/Thurs club rides in favor of active recovery / z1. Or something more like a middle ground, drop the Tuesday club ride and the Friday TR workout in favor of active recovery or aerobic endurance.

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Strong advice and you’re exactly right about the power distribution of the club ride.

In that case I’d definitely stick to low volume. I average 550TSS (including two rest days) these days on low volume with additional MTB long rides, just as you do. Just focus on nailing the 3 TR workouts as best as you can, don’t let your group rides affect your ability to really push yourself on the TR days. The TR workouts is what’s gonna help you get faster, not so much the unstructured group rides imo.

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