Mid-Volume vs low volume and skipping the specialty phase


Interested in opinions here. Getting back on the bike after a couple of years off. I am no stranger to structured training or even TrainerRoad, as I have used it in the past. I do have a couple of questions that I am interested in hearing thoughts on.

  1. I started off with a low volume base plan and halfway through as my fitness improved switched it to mid volume. No issues with the workload but as I start my build I would like to ride more than 3 days a week on the low volume plan, but just don’t think I can fit in 5 rides a week. Do you think it is better to sign up for mid volume and delete the easy ride every week, or should I go with the low volume plan and try to figure out how to add in a workout every week?

  2. I am doing no real events this year. I am curious about skipping my specialty phase and doing a second and maybe third build phase instead of specialty. Then going back to the base training. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance


I would suggest doing Low Volume and doing a TrainNow endurance ride when and if you can on other days or an unstructured easy ride outdoors.

If you listen to a lot of the successful athletes podcasts that talk about LV training it’s that you can check the boxes for 3 workouts and then everything else is extra. That’s a big moral/mental boost over cutting a plan short from the start and subtracting even more if the stars don’t align


Concur with the LV plan and adding endurance at the end of workouts and/or additional endurance days. If you have more time on a particular day you can use Train Now or Variants to find a longer workout that works similar abilities and energy systems.

With no event planned I personally would skip Specialty. You won’t gain fitness during Specialty, but will focus on race-specific abilities (ie sustained threshold efforts for a time trial, short power for a crit, etc).

I would do base —> build —> base —> build …

Thank you for the feedback I appreciate the perspective I think I will go this route.

Perhaps as an echo… base - base - build and repeat is a good way to go. Some suggestions that might make it more productive and entertaining:

  1. Rotate different “base” programs. For example first cycle do SSBLV or MV as written then go into a general or sustained build.

  2. Next cycle try one of the different Base programs. Maybe polarized and then a different Build program, perhaps short power build.

  3. Something I’ve done which can be very productive is to take the SSB MV programs, do the Tues/Wed/Thurs workouts as specified, but substitute one or both of the weekend “sweet spot” rides for longer zone 2 training. Zone 2 training is a key to fitness and if you can make the time for longer 2-4 hour Z2 rides its worth it.

  4. Although trainer road base is only 1 + 2, you can easily take that structure and push it out to 3 and 4 if you want to. Many threads on progressing time in zone and what not. There is nothing wrong with base-base-base-base for 24-30 weeks if interested in building fitness and riding the bike well.

Have fun!

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Again thank you for the perspective. I was thinking about option 3 it is kind of what I had in mind. Either that or start with the low volume and add an extra day of endurance riding on the weekend.

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