Managing Training using Form (Mid Volume vs. High Volume

Hi All!

I am currently finishing Sweet Sport Base Mid Volume 1 and heading into Mid Volume 2. I am using fitness tracking to see my “predicted” Form (fatigue ATL - fitness CTL) for my 2021 events. In, they use categories to determine the Optimal form vs over reaching etc. This is all based on this blog by Joe Friel.

According to the blog, if your form is -30 (your fatigue is 30 points larger than your fitness), then you are at high risk. How realistic is this? Are any of you constantly in high risk? I m specially wondering how people on the high volume plan do it without going deeply into high risk.

As I look forward into my next block, I considered jumping from mid volume to high volume since I do think this will give me a very solid base for next year but I am concerned that it will be too much and I will be overreaching.

You can see my predicted form for the first half of 2021 using Mid Volume.

Because hopefully they haven’t just jumped into doing a HV plan off the couch! Fatigue is basically a measure of how quickly you’re ramping up TSS. So you can do very high volumes of training without having a big negative form number, provided that you build up to those volumes gradually over time.

It would be very hard to be constantly at -30 as to do you’d have to be constantly ramping up training volume and it would fairly quickly get to ridiculously large number of hours/week. And -30 is a good rough guide, not a hard and fast rule. I.e. if you’re just coming back from a month off and therefore have very low “fitness” on the performance chart, but were previously doing high volume training, then you can probably ramp back up to close to your previous levels pretty quickly and safely. And not all TSS is created equal. E.g. if you’re averaging 300TSS/week doing a lot of intervals and intensity in a relatively low number of hours, and then go and do a training camp where you’re doing lots of z1-3 riding, then you might be able to rack up a much bigger TSS number that week without too much risk

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This makes sense.
I am coming off from a month in September which i could not ride due to a pretty big injury so my fitness went way down and makes sense why SSBMV1 drop me into the red even though I don’t necessarily feel like I was in the red.

If you have a semi recent training history that is in line with what the plan will be putting your through then I wouldn’t be worried about going into the red at the beginning. You’re fitness would be good enough to handle it. I’d be more worried later in the training block when you CTL is already high (like those later spikes during specialty).

1 Like has an option to show form as a percentage of fitness. It’s supposed to be useful at lower levels of fitness and appropriate given your break.

I’m at 59 fitness and 85 fatigue (-26, still inside the optimal zone) but also at -44% (well beyond the optimal zone -30%). Percentage is more correct given my current state… :grimacing:

The option is in the Options box on top bar of the Fitness page.


Thanks @timothyh!

Yeah the percentage of fitness puts me right into the deep red!
In my case, I feel tire (and starting recovery week :slight_smile: ) but I feel like I shouldn’t be in the red. I think a lot of these settings can be played with to try to better track your fitness but I am not sure I want to jump into all that just yet.

I would put more stock in your own perception of your fatigue vs what the model is telling you. The model has no idea what your training history is. No matter if you are a beginner who is sitting at 40 CTL or Chris Froome takes time off in the off season sitting at the same 40 CTL it would put both athletes in the red even though they have vastly different levels of fitness no matter what the model says.


Setting form to percentage gives most of my first three months as in the red, whereas as an absolute value it’s only a couple of dips apart from my events which forced me way into the red. Those dips did align with me feeling weary but they were only a couple of days at the most.

As with all these single value metrics you do need to apply a bit of care when interpreting them.

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WOW. Your fitness (CTL) must be really high!

I am impressed. Keep at it!

Just to echo, doing high volume doesn’t necessarily put you deep into the TSB (if you’re already HV). I’m in the 3rd week of SSB1 HV and I’m currently at CTL 75 TSB 0, but I maintain 10-12hrs/week all year. It’ll probably be in SSB2 where I get pretty negative with TSB but following the TR high volume plans all year did not put me into a deep hole.

On a recovery week (well 5 days) looks like its needed, although after a day off and a 40 minute recovery spin today I feel raring to go.

Look at all of that green! Fair play :+1:

43 yrs old, TR user starting my 3rd off season of training. I did SSB MV the first 2 years and this year I’m doing SSB HV. I’m only in week 4 of SSB1 HV but I’m coming to the conclusion that High Volume is “easier” than Mid Volume. Still plenty of training ahead to make a definitive statement, but my body seems to handle volume over higher intensity. Also mentally, I enjoy not doing over/unders so early in the training season.

I’m surprising myself on how much sweet spot my body can handle. No matter how I feel or how sore my legs are, I’m always able to push the pedals. Workouts are challenging at times (2 hours of SS), but so far manageable.


Good to hear as I start SSB HV in 2 weeks and have decided to swap out a Saturday workout for outdoor Z2. Was contemplating doing MV and adding the outdoor workout but was concerned there was too much intensity in the MV for this time of season. I can dedicate 10 hrs a week so hoping lots of SST will be optimal

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Ramp rate is the best predictor.

Hello, i’m in SSB HV 3rd week and as the weekly tips said, i took week 4 as a rest week. Here is the problem. Starting 4th week, i did the ramp test and my ftp went down from 318 to 309. Next day, I failed straight away on glassy. So, I immediately push the week and going into rest week again.
I thought that i should change to MV but seeing that the MV has a lot of vo2mx interval i don’t think it’s gonna be easier.

What do you think? Should i restart the SSB HV or just do the week 4 after this (kinda forced) rest week

And also, i diligently doing the workout (full indoor) but wondering if i should change the sunday endurance to outdoor z2 (of course with outdoor ride, i won’t have the same intensity and most likely it will be just some 3+ hour coffee ride)

Thx in advance

Looking at you TR calendar, I don’t see a previous TR ramp test. If you brought over a FTP not done through the TR ramp test, then it may not be valid for TR workouts. FTP tests must be completed on the same equipment following the same protocol to be able to compare FTP test results. Also, before a ramp test the previous week should be a recovery week so you test appropriately and be recovered enough to handle the next training block. Instead you did a 600 tss week. Lastly, it appears you are new to TR and it looks like you’re adding workouts and substituting workouts in the first weeks of the TR HV plan. You probably have done too much work, overreached and now are too fatigued. I’d take true recovery week and then restart SSB without adding in additional rides.

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I am surprised you have has had a drop but agree with previous comment that you need to ensure you are comparing like for like first of all ie same test protocol in the same software on the same trainer etc etc.

I can’t comment fully yet based on own experiences but may be able to soon, as I have just finished my recovery week in SSB 1 and my ramp test is on Tuesday ahead of starting SSB HV 2. I seem to be at a plateau for the last 6 months but would not expect a decrease after the last 4 weeks of SSB HV 1.

Differences for me have been that the plan builder gave me 5 weeks not 6 weeks in SSB 1 and I also swapped 1 of the weeks out for lots of Z2 while I was off work over Xmas. This resulted in a higher TSS week than the plan but at lower IF. If I remember I will report back after Tuesdays test.

Oh I forgot i need to tell you this. After subscribing to TR, my devices (smart trainer, phone, i pad, power meter) somehow can’t connected via ble (i don’t have ant+ connection as i prefer using my phone or tab). I have contacted the support team and they suggested to use the beta app and it’s work. So i’m using beta app on an android phone to workout. This is happening on the first week so i kind of using zwift as an alternate software and design my workout base on the TR workout. I’m doing the ramp test on zwift the week before but yes, i’m not doing ramp test on TR as i thought i have did it on zwift.

About my ±600 tss on rest week, it is my fault :frowning:
Really. I thought doing z2 on rest week with approximately the same tss/week as the TR recovery week is ok, but it isn’t.

Thx for the advice, maybe i’ll restart SSB