Masters TR user

I am a masters athlete (67) and have been riding for about 5 years. I have used TR back in 2019 for about one year and then took a break from structured training. I have now been using TR again for past several months and have a question about how hard it pushes me and for what purpose? I do not race and enjoy long endurance rides and climbing. I have gotten much stronger using TR and it is particularly noticeable in all of my climbing rides as I now am the strongest climber in my riding group. I am 5’6” and weight only 124 pounds. Power to weight ratio is 3.6. That said, I am finding the workouts harder and harder to continue doing as I really don’t see the purpose in doing Threshold workouts that kill me even though I get through them. It wrecks me for the day and I am questioning why I need to do something so hard. My question is if I just do a couple of intensity workouts a week like V02 Max and Anerobic workouts following by endurance rides will i at least maintain my current level of fitness or will I lose something? I am not looking to necessarily get stronger but want to stay where I am at or maybe get a little stronger. It would be great if TR had a Masters level program for folks like me. Thanks.

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How about just doing TR plans but dialling it back a bit? I.e. When TR gives you a “Productive” workout, swap it to a workout of the same length and type but that’s “Achievable”. Nice thing with the progression levels now is that it makes it much easier to find a workout that challenges you as much or as little as you want.

Other option is maybe to look at the Maintenance plans instead of Base or Build plans?

And overall, yes, a couple of hard workouts a week with the rest being endurance or recovery days is a pretty good model to maintain and improve fitness without pushing the envelope too much. Lots of research showing that VO2 is a pretty key zone as you get older. If you’re not already doing it then you should incorporate some strength training as well.

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I don’t think anyone enjoys threshold workouts, they are by their nature very tiring and uncomfortable even for the fittest riders. There was a podcast last week about the subjects, apparently they make you more efficient at clearing lactate.

As with any physiological adaptation it’s use it or lose it. Whether or not that’s important to you is your personal choice. I’ll continue doing them even though I dread them and don’t race either if it were only for the health benefits…

Btw there actually is one threshold workout which I do enjoy: Looking Glass +1

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First step is to decide why you are training and what type of training you want to do. It seems like you are doing a TR plan without a purpose.

Threshold and VO2 workouts are going to be hard. Doesn’t matter who you are or what shape you are in, they hurt some. If you don’t want to hurt, that is an absolutely fine individual choice. Just don’t do this type of structured training.

TR plans are not scaled for age or experience but rely mostly on FTP and a dose of work according to plan each day, week and block. For some riders it will be just right, for others not enough and for others too much.

There are dozens of threads on this type of topic throughout the forum. It usually distills down to, for masters rider:

A couple hard days a week
Do a VO2 day and a threshold day
Fill in the rest of time you want to ride with good old endurance riding (zone 2, tempo, whatever you choose to call it, these are longer days at a nice pace)

Many plans are written for three weeks on then a recovery. Some riders prefer to modify these plans to two weeks on then one recovery.

Your group ride may substitute for the VO2 or Threshold day. You can determine that based on how you ride it. For example, if the group ride has a half dozen hills of 4-8 minutes, and you hammer each climb, that’s a VO2max day in my book. Alternatively, if its a group ride where you put in a lot of time pulling or working hard, that might be a good threshold day.

Short of it is if you do a hard ride or two each week and some good old endurance you’ll be great. If two days is leaving you too tired switch to one. If two isn’t enough add a third every other week.

Play around and find your happy spot mentally and for your physical goals!!

Good luck,

Darth

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What Darth said!

Normally, TR relies on a base-build-peak kind of periodization for a race or event. I’d assume that what you want is a ‘maintain fitness all summer’ kind of plan.

I wonder if TR has something like that?

Or, just roll your own plan - do one “workout” per week plus your group rides for intensity. Fill in the rest with endurance paced riding. Take an easy week every 3rd or 4th week.

+1 for this idea… or even better a plan which adds on top of the usual summer tempo/endurance riding

My question is if I just do a couple of intensity workouts a week like V02 Max and Anerobic workouts following by endurance rides will i at least maintain my current level of fitness or will I lose something?

Probably not, you might well get better. Give it a try and see.

TR polarised programs might be useful for this, but if not, just put it together yourself.

Training Plans > Specialty > Enthusiast > Maintenance.

Could be perfect

If not, maybe use Train Now and choose whatever intensity you feel like on the day. Three weeks of progressive work followed by a recovery week.

Repeat until rapid.

:slightly_smiling_face:

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What about low volume -1 of the structured workouts + optional active recovery + endurance / group rides as you see fit?

Personally, I fall in the ‘masters’ category and don’t see the need for distinction between masters and non-master athletes as far as programs go. TR provides a template and we, as self-coached athletes, need to adjust them to our particular needs (lifestyle, schedule, ability to recover, etc.). Due to my years of riding I probably have better ability to handle high training load and recover than some 20 year old with 1-2 years under the legs, so I think the youngin’s have similar needs for program customization.

When I used TR I would just cycle base → build (or maybe trad base → SS base would work too) as I don’t race or do events and didn’t want the reduced volume from specialty phase. Just because TR plans are built around peaking for events doesn’t mean they cannot be modified for perma-fitness goals.

As for motivation for difficult workouts, I think it all comes down to self-reflection and thinking about why you ride and why you train and figuring the balance between enjoyment and growth (or is growth part of enjoyment??). As mentioned, I don’t race but a couple of years ago decided I wanted to see how ‘strong’ I could get. Thats been enough to motivate me through years of threshold, suprathreshold, and vo2max workouts. YMMV.

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At 67 yo, my FTP isn’t near yours. I’ve been doing one VO2 session/week and one threshold session/week. 2 days of strength training and one endurance session. Our outdoor season is about to begin so I’m scouting hills for the harder sessions. The training
distribution is per Joe Friel in his book for masters athletes. I build my own workouts in the workout creator. A lot of the TR threshold workouts have you working above threshold, I’m currently working on TTE at threshold power.

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Age 62, male with 250 FTP and 2.5 power/kg.
I also have been using TR since 2019 but the first year was on an off…
Made ok progress with the structured programs in 2020 and 2021. Had an injury in Spring of 2021. My riding certainly has improved but my real goal is endurance rides (touring and Rando events). I tend to overtest on the Ramp test and then struggle with the static programs being too hard.

With AI coming out Jan to March have been a lot better. Hard rides without over-whelming. Very consistent training. Starting in April I stopped testing FTP, and using “train now” Holding FTP steady and focusing on increasing the progression levels from Endurance up to Thresehold. Not worried about VO2 max, etc. I was reading about duplicating mountain climbing when you live in the flat land. The forum comments said to push high gear for longer and longer intervals with less rest time.

I’m confident this approach for two more months will have me ready for a three week tour I have in the NW USA, and then a month in Colorado. Topping out with the Copper Triangle ride and Triple By-Pass at the end of August.

My point is TR has given us multiple ways to use the software to achieve what each of us is after.

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Without opining on if the plans are “good” or not, TR offers LV, MV and HV “maintenance” plans. Go to: Plans then Speciality then Enthusiast.

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I looked at the Low Volume Plans. 2 VO2 max and one Anerobic workout every week. At least for me a sure way to quit altogether.

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Agreed - TrainNow looks a far better way to pick 2 sessions a week I reckon.

I find my Purpose changes throughout the year. My purpose say during a season of events, is very different to my purpose preparing and training to do better at those events next season. In between these of course there are significant periods of ‘taking a break from training and the events’.

Interestingly, once you obtain a level of skill and fitness, returning to that level after a period of doing something else, is relatively quick. I’m saying this because I don’t think one needs to be too concerned about losing fitness by not training, and particularly so if your goals aren’t event focussed.

Your group rides seem to me the most important thing to you. I reckon if you do 2 group rides/ wk of about 2hours each, you would maintain your current fitness and level within the group. If your group rides are longer than 2 hours then 1/wk would probably be quite sufficient.

If on the other hand you want to get better, then what does ‘better’ mean to you? Is that, say, faster or further or both? Only then would you really NEED to train.

However, another aspect of Training is motivation. Having a regular weekly plan with reminders in my calendar, I find is a great motivator to get off my butt. And as others have said do more ‘Achievable’ level workouts; but when you feel like doing a hard session choose a progressive level alternative.

Like you and others I find Threshold extremely hard, and like you that they can kill the rest of my day. So a couple of suggestions. Firstly, when you do feel the urge to do Threshold, do them late in the day, early evening can lead to the most pleasant sleep! Second, Paul Laursen, a Canadian researcher specialising in HIIT, recommends ‘Needle’ type VO2Max sets, like Grassy Ridge, ie, multiple very short, very high intensity, eg, 5 sets of 15 repeats of 15sec on 15sec recovery with full recovery between sets, say 5 min, and amazingly, despite to ultra high intensity during the workout, you don’t feel stuffed afterwards, the very opposite you feel fresh.

BTW, I’m 72.

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Simple answer…2 workouts of intensity on some form of progression are more then sufficient. Add in your endurance and you will be fine.

I am 61…took a TR LV plan and dropped 1 workout of intensity and added 2 of endurance. Did as well or better this year as I did following the plans in prior years. Also feel fresher overall.

I do think threshold has a place but if we put it into perspective…pick your spot for doing them.

My own bias…is TR isnt focusing on a Masters plan. We are stuck doing our own. Recovery is the main item to deal with from my own experience as I have hit my 60s. Work and riding dont get easier…learning to get recovery in will make a big difference in how you feel. Dont hesitate to sub in a week of recovery when you feel you need it.

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I don’t understand why more people don’t take this approach. I took the same approach in my late 30s with 15 years of riding under my belt and saw good improvements. The LV plan offloaded the workout selection for my ‘intensity’ sessions and adding z2 per my ability to recover required little thought, only listening to my body.

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Its a good approach. Been too busy to listen to entire podcasts lately, but the vibe I get from Ask A Cycling Coach is that you should follow the plan and AT will make adjustments. But dropping 1 workout and adding 2 endurance? That’s not following the plan. I did hear Jonathan recently say something like if you want to do more riding just use TrainNow, and this approach is starting to cross into just do more riding. At least from the perspective of following the plan.

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Similar here. I take LV with a VO2 and Thresh on Tu/Th, swap Sat to SS, and finally add a long Endurance on Sun. Simple tweaks to make and seems manageable at my age (48) and lifestyle without feeling overworked too often. I make the SS and End workouts progressive in PL or duration as needed in the weekly cycles.

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I think I’m about to go 1 step further - drop to 1 intensity session and then just ride the rest of the week. 1 of those will be a social group ride that always includes a few short hill efforts etc, but the rest will likely be endurance rides.

In the short term I’m focused on some 200 and 300km rides so will have some structure around the long z2 rides, and probably plan a progression on the 1 intensity day (probably supra threshold with a vo2 day swap every 2 or 3 weeks) , but after that I’ll probably choose something from TN that looks fun and then just ride all the rest of week. Early retirement has to have some benefits!

Last summer I did the miles but forgot the intensity so my FTP suffered by the end of the year. I’m testing to see if 1 HIIT day enough is enough to maintain things???

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