Making the most of a week off of work

I just accepted a new job offer and will take a week off between jobs. I’d like to use that time to max my fitness in preparation for my A-race. I’m wondering if doing a mini training camp to pick up z2 volume would be the best use of that week off? Context:

  • The race (Le Grand du Nord) is a 110 mile gravel race with ~6K elevation gain (not crazy climbing, but much more than I usually do). I did it in 2019 and finished in just under 8 hours. My goal this year is under 7.5 hours.
  • The race is on May 28th, my time off will be April 30th to May 8th. Three full weeks between my new job start date and the race. There’s a chance my time off would move 1 week earlier, allowing for 4 full weeks between the week off and the race.
  • I just completed sustained power build low volume (after SSB1&2, also LV). Feeling fantastic during my rest week and anticipating an FTP bump when I “test” Monday (AI FTP detection FTW!). Current 6 week average TSS is 270, last week was 402 (set two all time power records).
  • I’m starting Century specialty phase (also LV) next week - planning on subbing out a few weekend SS rides for longer Z2 efforts (3-5 hours).
  • My long rides to-date have been ~2.5 hours (substituting the 1.5 hour weekend sweet spot workouts for longer variants).

I was thinking of doing 3 days on, rest day, and two days on with rides of 3-5 hours. Best guess of total TSS is ~700. Is that too much? Would there be enough time to recover and benefit from the fitness? Any other ideas for how to maximize my fitness during that time (given proximity to the race)?

That is perfect timing for a final big volume week. Whether 700TSS is too much is gonna depend on what you normally do each week. Last week at 402 indicates that it may be OK, as long as you focus on Z2 mileage.

I just got back from a week in FL…rode everyday for 6 days straight, 2-3.5 hrs. everyday. Z2 to low Z3. Was about ~900TSS, but I normally ride 600-700+ so it was manageable (but my legs were definitely tired the last day). A couple of days off and my legs feel great this week.

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My 2 cents - yes, I think going from normal weekly TSS of 270 → 700 TSS is too much. They’ve talked about training camps on a number of TR podcasts and there are a couple of issues that basically come down to: 1) if the jump in training stress is too much you are basically going to obliterate yourself and have trouble getting through the week. 2) with your baseline training load being so low relative to the 700 TSS week you might have trouble actually absorbing that training load and improving.

Going from a max 2.5hr ride (assuming 1x week) to 5x3-5hr in a week, thats more a little more to double your weekly long ride each day. @Power13 did a 40-50% TSS increase over baseline for a training camp week, which I think is doable. For you that would be in that 400 range you mention, if you want it to be productive.

All of the above and be prepared to listen to your body and dial it way back the following week to absorb the work. How much time off/how easy depends on how much overload you did.

In my experience your better off erring on the side of caution vs rushing to get back to it.

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Get some extra sleep, enjoy some nice cafe rides and take it easy for the most part. Hopefully the weather is conducive to outdoors rides!

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Thanks for the confirmation! I’m shooting for duration and not intensity, so I’ll keep things at the low to middle of z2.

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Makes sense, thank you for the input. I’m taking a look at the day-by-day to get total TSS closer to 150% of my 6 week average (projected to be north of 300 at that point). I felt fatigued but had more in the tank after the two recent weeks I did 400, so I’m very confident I can get in 450-500 without too much damage (assuming adequate recovery the following week). As others cautioned, I’ll err on the side of easy and listen to my body.