I have just finished the cyclocross season and I am planning my next year heading up to September when the season starts again.
My plan is Sweet Spot base Mid Volume, Short Power Build Mid Volume and then Cyclocross Mid volume as a specialty.
I am a mid pack Vet 40 at regional level and have quite a high level of fitness carried over from the season, I plan on a regular riding with a few TR session to keep the fitness during the week.
This is my first complete year of Trainer Road where I have had the chance to do the full Base, Build and Specialty, I have the time to do either the Mid or High volume but not sure if my body can handle the high volume.
Do does anyone have any experience comparing the 2? mid and high? Have you noticed a marked improvement in FTP or Race performance when choosing the High or the Mid volume?
I am thinking possibly starting on the Mid volume for the Sweet Spot base 1+2 and then making a call as to whether to increase to the high Volume for the Build phase
I don’t really have a good comparison between medium and high, but I really do enjoy the high volume plans. I’ve been focused mainly on CX this past year and probably will into the future, so while I’m not really thinking about road races (I might dabble in a couple just to get out there and compete), I like doing high volume training because I find it just makes long rides more fun when I’m that fit. I can say that last year I did a 65mile road race, and while I got dropped, I was able to go 3.5hrs with an IF of 0.86, 2hrs of which were at 0.91 and 1hr at 0.96, so while my power profile wasn’t really where it needed to be overall, I felt successful in being able to ride that hard for that long. That’s just my experience as a CX’er who is still a bit of an epic roadie at heart!
If you aren’t sure you can handle the volume with the high plan, then go with medium. I believe they’ve said on the podcast a few times that unless you are confident you can handle the TSS from the HV plans, go with medium.
You can always supplement with additional aerobic rides (but air on the conservative side) with the Mid-Vol. It’s much easier to add in additional workouts here and there if you’re feeling awesome than it is to find yourself drowning in TSS and fatigue with the high volume and burn out and get off you’re plan or get injured.
Wish someone had proposed this approach to me a few years back. Every year, I used to attempt HV only to struggle and become disillusioned with failure. MV is now my go to, adding/extending rides as the body allows.
Even now when I’m confident that I can handle HV, I generally go with MV and then supplement when I can. Not being able to complete your plan either because you can’t handle the TSS or because life happens and you just don’t have time is demotivating.
And another great option MV allows is compliance with the plan but sneaking in the extra TSS with a nice outdoor ride
Last year I tried high volume plan. Sweet spot base went well. I was tired very often, but could handle every single workout with prescribed power and after base 2 I felt tough.
Then it became clear I am totally, completely unprepared for high build. It was not a change in intensity, when it comes to VO2 max efforts, it was a ridiculous jump, something entirely different. No slow introducing, no shorter then longer efforts, nothing at all. Just a kick in the face.
And finally after few weeks I gave it up, it killed me, maybe not my body but my mind!
This year I’m trying medium volume. It has more variability, isn’t that boring, base phase was actually more challenging than high volume and after my first week of build I am looking forward what is going to happen. For now - I feel better prepared and I can really see some progression, not only more and more sweet spot work.
I am not a racer. 40 year old male just getting into it Been riding just a few years. I did pieces of the mid volume plan, but wanted to see if I could handle the high volume plan. I have A busy career and demanding home life with three kids. I get up at 4 am for coffee and me time. Then, hop on the bike at 5am, ride for the 1.5 to 2.0 hours as prescribed. At 7am I get the kids lunches ready, eat, shower, and off to work at 8. I work a long day, home by 7-8pm, have some Mrs time, then in bed by 9pm.
So far, I’ve really enjoyed the gains. It is a difficult grind but it is paying dividends. I’m up 10-15% ftp, and my CTL in base is higher than my peek last year.
Your diet and sleep has to be on point. I’m eating a ton and cooking most of my meals. When work stress reaches 8/10 or more, I convert to a recovery week and pick back up there next week.
Unless you have tons of extra time it will cause stress on you and your family.
It is interesting to see this topic right now, as I’ve been pondering the whole idea of what training should look like.
Having listened to the podcast for a long time now, it seems there a lot of questions around “Can I do more workouts? If not, can I work out harder?” as well as “What is the best workout and training plan for me personally?”
This thread is dancing around the unfortunate but true answer of “It depends.” Everyone is different, everyone has different non-cycling commitments, everyone has different responses to training stimuli.
Based on that, and what I’ve listened to, I have been doing some LV, plus I still like to ride on the road with people (weird, I know). If time, health, and life, allow, I dig around MV for a bonus workout. If I found myself adding workouts all the time, and I was responding well, I would move up to MV. So, to the OP, I would recommend use the lower volume option, and add as you see fit. As d_diston said, adding workouts from a lower volume makes you feel much tougher than removing workouts from a higher volume.
Now, what I am trying to figure out is, how can I best determine if I need to push through, or back off, and when to add a workout vs taking the day off. It is usually evident pretty quickly if I start a workout, and the warmup crushes me.
I did MV last year (SSB followed by general build) and am doing HV (SSB followed by sustained power build) this year.
HV is a BIG step up in volume. Looking at the time requirement alone is deceiving. It’s definitely much much more demanding. Especially SSB2 when you’re up at 700+ TSS over 12 hours per week.
In terms of results I’ve not noticed a big difference (I’m talking about raw power data in TR here rather than outside), in fact my FTP did not increase at all following SSB2. I know that probably sounds crazy given the previous paragraph but that’s the fact in my case.
To counter the previous statement though, it’s not all about data. I am definitely a much stronger cyclist than before. Just be aware that HV may not provide the proportionately bigger FTP gains over MV that you’d expect. I’m going to complete HV and then decide next season which has worked best. It’s good to have the data from both for future reference I think.
This is important. The SSBHV plan is tough but if you’ve got the time to train you can get through it. SSBMV can actually seem tougher at times due to the intensity in part 2.
Build, on the other hand, requires the time to train AND the ability to recover very quickly. With longer VO2, threshold, and SS sessions in a week with only one rest day, you could dig a very deep hole very quickly.
I’m not saying don’t do it, but definitely consider your past ability to absorb/adapt to high intensity work with minimal recovery time before choosing.
This is my first time going through a full training plan with them and I chose high volume and here’s what I noticed. (This coming from someone who’s better at tt/ftp efforts then short punchy stuff)
SSB1HV: okay this is good, a solid amount of sweet spot work for sure. Five days a week getting to around maybe 75 min session at most I think. Start feeling like a badass
SSB2HV: makes a large jump in time at sweet spot and nothing about 94% if I remember correctly. After about four weeks I started feeling a bit beat. Having to go 5 weeks before a recovery week got pretty tough. I had to give myself a few easy days towards the end of week four so I could finish out the plan. Was really glad when the recovery week came about.
Rolling road race build: looked at the plan and saw what jumped into a ton of intensity above 100% of ftp. Wasn’t ready for that. Failed the first 5x8 min @102% because I didn’t go above threshold and in the past I wasn’t good at that unless rested. Under overs going 95/105 had me nervous. Ended up doing the unders at 92 and made it.
The start of week 2 having to do 9x3 done as sets at 115,120,118 was going to be too hard so I backed off about 5% because I don’t have that too end. I managed but needed a 5 second break 90 seconds into each one. (Really wish this would have been worked into, or had less intervals before just slamming 3 min efforts at that effort). Starting week 3 of it this week so I’ll see how it goes, feel fine as of today, not dying for a recovery week yet lol.
Overall it’s a lot of high intensity and I understand why they don’t recommend it for most. Have to really make sure you’re staying on top of recovery. I would also say these are not the plans to try and lose much weight with because you need the calories to recover big time.
Well, I would say that High Volume (HV) is a big ask for anyone. It’s nearly time for me to jump back into TR full time as winter rolls around again, and I will most likely be going down the medium volume (MV) route this time.
I do think HV provided me with a substantial base and I’ve been able to hold threshold levels of power for long periods of time. This I attribute to the huge amount of long sweetspot intervals racked up during the HV base phases.
However, having said the above, it was so mentally and physically draining to fully commit to and complete HV and this is the reason I’ll be going back to MV this winter. I shall supplement MV with additional workouts to boost TSS though as the gap between MV and HV is too high in my opinion (MV is not enough and HV is too much). I firmly believe there is a strong case for a MV+ package.
In summary. HV works but it’s a big ask and you don’t see as much benefit as you would expect given the extra commitment required. Or at least I didn’t!
2 winters ago, new to trainer road and a little over ambitious I tried doing Sweet Spot Base High Volume. I was wildly inconsistent with it and it was overall too much to start with, but it enabled me to have an incredible General Build Mid Volume and a great year overall.
Last year I wanted better consistency during Base. I felt I could not nail the High Volume Plan I and II and I felt that Mid Volume was less than I could handle so I did a modified version of Sweet Spot Base Mid Volume I (raising TSS slightly by replacing the midweek endurance ride with 30 minutes of Sweet Spot insead) and then Sweet Spot Base High Volume I. I absolutely nailed every workout apart from a little inconsistency when i got sick and hurt my knee. Raised FTP from 274 to 294 over the entire Base period. It went spectacularly well. My wife and I had a baby right at the end of Base so my year overall following this was inconsistent due to tiredness and extra stress outside the bike.
This modified together plan was a good bridge between Mid Volume and High Volume. I kind of like not doing loads of VO2 and threshold workouts anyway during the Base period, just for a break from that and for some variety from the rest of the year.
This year I was thinking of repeating what I did last year, but im not sure I can handle the TSS of Sweet Spot High Volume I due to my hectic family & work life. I really don’t like the look of Sweet Spot Mid Volume II though. I’ve been through months of VO2, anaerobic and threshold intervals and fancy a bout of Sweet Spot again.
Maybe I could post my current idea for Base and people here wouldn’t mind critiquing?
Anybody know if Sweet Spot Mid Volume 2 was ever discussed in the podcast, in an article or on the forum? Im just wondering why there is so much threshold and VO2 max workouts versus Sweet Spot. Thanks.
They’ve talked about it in a couple podcasts (specifically I don’t know which ones off the top of my head). They started to call ssbmv2 “build prep” since it kinda blends sweet spot, vo2, and threshold, but it’s a little less intense than the actual build plans. It is a bit of a misnomer since there is really only one or maybe 2 actual sweet spot workouts per week in it. At the same time though, it is good that it touches on some of the higher power stuff or else that transition into build after 12 weeks of sweet spot/endurance would be a total shock to the system.
Yes, SSB 2 is a “pre-build” to prepare you for Build. It is also meant to get you ready for early season races. So you should be fine to race and do pretty well while being in and training through SSB 2. As was the case for me this year, my race season started midway through SSB 2. I was able to win both of my first two XC races while in SSB 2.