Low volume traditional base, what next

Hi guys I’mabout to complete low volume traditionnal base. I decided to do that because I got back to more serious training after 4 years of severe illness one of wich was a stroke 2 years ago and very little riding in this period about 500-1000 km a year. My FTP went from 107 to about 134 over the last 3 months.

Now I’m wondering what to do next. I had a very hard last week at over 400 tss. The plan was about 300. I did one race and a modified hesperus that was 159 TSS instead of 119. This week is hard. I did the work out relatively comfortably but I feel it much more than last week where I felt a huge boost in form and fitness. next week is my recovery week and I plan to take full advatage of it.

Now what should I do next? At his point I know my biggest limiter is my VO2 max. I was pondering with 2 ideas. 1. Do low volume SSB2. 2. Do the low volume general power build. End of april is the beginning of the racing season. Got My licence this week. Cat 5. My first real objective is mid june. I’m a small guy, currently 62 kg, 5-7 kg overweight. And hills are my preferred terrain and the one I’m most likely to perform. So I got some time to peak. And I want to increase my capacity to handle volume. Such as to be able to tacle the mid volume next season.

I should add that my exploitable FTP in race for example sit at about 88% of my MAP taken from a ramp test.

Thanks for any help.


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Thanks I had read all that. My question is much more about a specific situation. I just did a low volume traditionnal base wich yielded amazing benefits, while it is not supposed to. Now that I feel much stronger and do with relative ease the wok in the last stretch of base III, I wonder if I should extend base phase for six weeks with low volume SSB2 even increase to mid volume ssb1 or continue on with a general build training at low volume.

I would go into a full BBS cycle, starting with SSBI at whatever volume you can handle.

Whilst youre right that SSBII will focus more on VO2Max, which you say is a limiter, given you aim to tackle hills you’re going to need to build you muscle endurance around SS intensities.

Correct me if I’m wrong. I always tought that power produced at Vo2max would be closely linked to FTP. I understand what you say about muscular endurance. When I do sweet spots/treshold intevals I rarely feel any burn in my legs. Much more in my lungs and High HR. Therefore my idea of going directly to SSB2 to start right away working on my limiter. The other thing being currently my FTP sits at 134 which is 86% of my best 5 minutes effort of the past 3 months (last week in a zwift race). Which seems very high to me. So I can produce a very high percentage of my VO2max power for some lenghty period. Much higher than the percentage the ramp test would suggest which if I remember correctly is 82.5%.

You’re probably not special. Just do the base build specialize that is recommended for most people. Do SSB1&2. Pick the right build and specialize for you event.

Ok thanks.

They are connected, but it is loose and varies over time. Certainly once you’ve spent a lot of time bringing your FTP up as a percentage of VO2max, then further FTP improvements will require building up your VO2max further. However, 12 weeks of low volume traditional base probably aren’t enough to squeeze out all the benefits you could from continued sweet spot work. Yes, your FTP looks to be closer than usual to your VO2max, but on the back of your current training regimen you probably have some room to grow there just by continued training of any sort.

I’m also interested in the timeline you mention - mid June as your “first” objective. Depending on your race frequency from the end of April to the middle of June, you might be looking at upgrading to Cat 4 some time in June, right? Further, as a Cat 5, your races should be mostly about learning technique, building comfort and smoothness, and gaining experience: if you were to peak your fitness as a Cat 5, and then continue to race as a Cat 4 the rest of the summer as your fitness takes a necessary and natural downturn, that seems like a real demotivator.

Now, I say this as a triathlete who doesn’t do road races, but it seems like you’d want to see your best fitness after you upgrade to Cat 4 and start chasing upgrade points for Cat 3, right? If you were to start at SSB part 1, you’d be in the middle of SSB part 2 when the racing season starts as a Cat 5, and you’d have May and June to do a build phase - and then hitting the specialty phase hopefully as a Cat 4. You’d be coming to a peak of fitness by the end of August, ready to see what is probably the end of the season in good form and you might start to collect some upgrade points.

Interesting points. First you need to know I live in Quebec where the Cats are a age/ability hybrid. I’m 41. So my real age cat is cat 2 40-49 Years old. There’s no way I can even follow these guys let alone compete. In the same peloton as me there would be a former Canadian road champion for an exemple. Cat 5 is for new racers and we race with cat 3-4 which are 50-to-60 (cat 3) and 60+ (cat 4) years old guys.

So the progression you suggest is not possible here. In theory if I upgrade cat I should race in cat 2 which is way out of my league. I can get under classed in cat 3. But even then it’s very competitive. You are right on the fact I should at least ambition to upgrade a cat during my season to stay motivated to progress. And what you suggest is definately a sensible plan.

What I’m left to ponder is the volume low or medium. I can handle 400 tss one week but I dont know if I can sustain that for a long period of time and I’m afraid I might get into the real season jaded with too much volume.

Thank you for the thoughts.


How much TSS will you be getting from racing? I’d definitely favor a low volume training plan if you are also racing a lot, but also maybe consider that you might be able to recover and benefit from more training stress during the base phase, than the more demanding nature of build phase TSS- so mid volume SSB and low volume build might be sensible?


That’s what I had figured out after reading your post thanks a lot. Very sensible suggestion


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