Masters guy thinking Planbuilder is too many hard days (who recommends 3/week?)

So I’m 52 this month and have been following structured training on and off for at least 15 years. Most coaches say no more than 2 “hard interval days/week” Plan builder gives 3 in mid vol plans (I’m doing climbing road for Wilmington and SBT GRVL).

Add to that 2 days of SS and one short Z2 on Weds between VO2 and Threshold days. It totally makes sense that critics claim this is too much. I’ve followed the Podcast religiously, have listened to multiple Seiler interviews, FasCat podcast, etc. I love TR, think the “BigCat” is similar in philosophy to TR through base but then goes Full Gas polarized in specialty. I listened to TR defend the criticism of being non polarized, but still feel they plan too much for a 50+ year old mtb and gravel racer.

I’m eagerly awaiting (on closed beta waitlist) AT. Regardless of all of that…Why doesn’t TR take age into account and why prescribe 3 “difficult” and 2 “moderate” days? That is the layout as I reset my plan after some interruptions that’ve occurred.

That schedule goes against most all conventional wisdom as far as I’ve heard for the past 20 years since my first Cyclist Training Bible.

I’ve browsed Chad McNees and some other self experimentation into pyramidal and polarized posts. I’m wondering about just doing the following:

6-8 hours available until June (school teacher–will have more time)

In January I began SS Base 1, 2 into Build 1,2 and started Specialty last month
don’t want to burn out before August as I have in the past by October-November mtb races in Michigan where I usually try to peak.

Tue- 90 min with VO2 intervals building like Seiler until 5x8 min at 108-110%
Wed-60 min Z2
Thur-90 min thresholds
Sat- 90 min group ride or long low end SS ints
Sun-longer Z2

Anyone willing to offer experience or informed advice ??? Again – Doing Wilmington Whiteface 100K gravel June 5 and SBT 144 mile Aug 15.

Thanks to anyone who bothered to get to this point in the life story here!!


The short answer is if you want less stress than the medium volume plans then you probably should switch to the low volume plans and add some extra training as it suits you.

You can modify the plans pretty easily by following medium volume and shipping a day or using low volume and adding a day. The type of day you add or subtract is up to you. Generally Wednesday on the MV plan is the one to skip, IIRC. If adding a day, you could use Train Now and pick the right type of workout for your objectives.

Another alternative is to pick the lower variation of some of the workouts to reduce the training stress but get the same type of adaptations.


Edit the plan to your needs. TR will not get it perfect 100% of the time. If you like 2 hard workouts a week then do it, it’s easy to substitute it with the workout catalog. My general philosophy is (hard workouts on Tu and Sat) with Th being tempo. The “hard” workouts change with what period I’m in. (Base - SSextensive) (Build - Pyramidal Intensive/Extensive) (Speciality - Pol Intensive/Extensive). You can try to get more polarized as you get closer to your events (Hard days hard, easy days pretty easy - NOT Z1 and Z3 only). Seiler says you can still do Z2, just make it hard (ie lots of TiZ at tempo/SS). The TR plans can be too much intensity for people, so change them to your needs.


Or consider the Polarized plans.

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On Mid Vol, I have pretty much settled on this basic formula, in my Build at least.

Mon: Off
Tue: VO2 Max
Wed: Short Endurance
Thu: Threshold
Fri: Off
Sat: Sweet Spot (or easier if I’m smoked from Tue/Thu)
Sun: Long Endurance

Turns out as Pyramidal distribution most of the time, that seems to work for my 47yo body and life.

With the adjustment from Adaptive training, I’ve actually been able to hit the regular 3:1 work to recovery weeks. If I had trouble, I’d swap to 2:1 and keep the same workout distribution.


I’m 52 and have been training and racing since my early 20’s and feel the plan builder plans have too much intensity for me too.

Low volume = 3 tough days per week so it cuts your volume but every workout is a ballbreaker. That doesn’t work for me.

Finally, we don’t get the newbie gains so as the plans get tougher we just suffer more.

Honestly this year I’ve just been going 90% on the ramp test, doing a low volume plan, and doing endurance rides a couple of days per week in addition to the plan.



I’m 69 and I’ve tried the low volume plans, but found that they also include 3 hard workouts per week. Not only that, but the workouts often seemed harder than in the mid volume plans.

After several years with TrainerRoad, I’ve concluded that the mid volume Sweetspot base plans work the best for me, while the Build plans are like hitting a wall. I’ve never made it to Specialty.

This year I’m planning to just repeat the base plans. As long as my FTP is climbing, I will be making progress. And I will probably substitute in some hard workouts from the build plans or Train Now. Adaptive Training sounds good, but I’m not counting on getting access this year.

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I’m a youngster at only 44 and have been following TR plans for almost 3 years. I did MV last 2 years and started HV for the first time this past winter. I’ve burnt out on MV in the past but I’ve gotten HV plans dialed after a few modifications. I’m the fittest I’ve ever been and constantly hitting all time power PRs. This is my recommendation:

Change every Sunday to long z2. On z2 days (Wednesday and Friday as well) ensure your workouts feel closer to recovery than work. Meaning that if a part of the z2 feels harder than you feel it should than dial it back a bit (-5% to -10%). Depending on the fatigue, this usually means z2 is at/less than 70% FTP.

I found that SS on Sunday is a recipe for disaster and will eventually catch up with you.


It’s hell getting old. The alternative is dying young. We need better choices. Glad I am not alone in feeling like it is a little overwhelming.


I’m in the same boat.
I followed fascat plans, and found that i could much more easily cope with the high TSS on their plan than similar TSS on a MV plan on TR.
With the imminent advent of AT, and having had a bout of Covid, I decided to switch back to TR.
MV is working well for me, with the caveat of swapping the Sunday SS workout with the recommended Z2.
I didn’t do this last week, and I feel like I’m paying the price. It’s been really hard to recover from the back to back SS/Threshold days.

Hence my week looks like this:

Monday: Threshold or Sweetspot
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: Vo2
Thursday: short endurance
Friday: Threshold
Saturday: off
Sunday: Long z2


How do you alter your calendar plan to do 2:1 work and recovery. I tired messing manually and screwed up the taper going into the week of Wilmington (Jun 5)

Now I’ve deleted that plan hoping to just hit PB and thought it’d have me do specialty for the next month but it started with a month of base and one week of Spec. going into the race.

Getting great confirmation from everyone on this post that my thoughts on the weekly structure are being done by others in our age range!! Thanks everyone.

sounds good!


I like the sounds of this. Thanks fellow Michigander.

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Build or Specialty:

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why not just do the polarized plan?

Which structured plans?

Some people prefer to retain the (mostly) pyramidal structure coming from TR rather than jumping into POL.


I looked at POL but the intensity of the WOs was less than what I’ve been doing for the past month. I just loaded a low vol plan to see what it looked like and it looks perfect (like polarized basically) if I add Z2 to weds and Sunday for my schedule.

Private coached for the first 5 years (very CTS like), Then some self coached like the private plans, then generic plans-- not unlike TR, but less personalized like TR is. Then TR for the past 3 years.