Hi all! Just started using TR and would like your advice on how to get the most out of plan builder and adaptive training. For the last 3 months (pre-trainerroad) I had been doing a traditional base plan of my own design. I was doing 7-10h per week, 3:1 loading:unloading (except for a two week unloading around an illness), TSS mostly in the 250-450 range, lots of Z2 and 2 intervals workouts per week (5x5x1 at threshold - not VO2). My goal event is ~4h gravel event in August.
How would you transition from this to a trainerroad plan? I used plan builder to set something up, but wasn’t sure what volume to select. I’ve listened to the ask a cycling coach podcast and heard lots of references to doing a low volume plan and then adding in train now workouts to supplement. I have currently selected LVSSB, LV General Power Build, Rolling Road Race - with the expectation of adding a bunch more rides myself. If I am only getting about half my hours or less from workouts in the plan, will I undermine the specificity of the plan even if I respect the loading/unloading it expects?
Here’s what I do - I use the plan, as built, (LV) as the key workouts for the week. I do this not because I’m a LV rider, but because it gives me three workouts to shape the week. Then I fill in as many additional rides, and hours, as life and legs permit. Am I “undermining” my plan by riding 6 -10 days in a row and not taking off four days per week? Or am I riding for a more robust, long-term goal?
The fast way to really undermine the plan is to do too much the day before the planned rides… So I try to keep my added rides pretty steady and not too far over the top. Say I’ve got a Vo2 workout that’s intimidating on the calendar for Thursday, I’ll make sure that everything I do on Wednesday is pretty light and easy, even if its long. Sundays I try to get in a legit 105 < minute endurance or tempo-ish ride AFTER the planned ride on Saturday.
If I’ve got dead legs on Monday, so what? A recovery spin or commutes only Monday usually lets me hit Tuesday’s intervals with enthusiasm and good-feeling legs.
I’m not the biggest proponent of AT, but if you use AT and PL to inform your week, and added rides you should pretty quickly figure out just how easy your non-planned rides need to be to avoid impacting which planned rides.
I can’t cite specific podcast episodes, but they’ve all talked about adding “easy” stuff where you can to improve your performance, but to focus on the quality stuff.
When I say “undermining” I don’t mean to suggest that we need 4 days off per week - I’m more questioning whether AT will either over or under level my key workouts based on the additional workouts/TSS. I’m using intervals.icu to track hours, distribution of intensity, TSS and ramp rate. I’m really into the idea of a more productive build phase from these 3 key workouts. When you’re keeping things “light and easy,” do you intentionally choose rides that are “achievable” or even easier based on how your legs are feeling?
Seems like you’re on the right track. Just pay attention to your legs on “workout” days and be honest with the surveys… And yourself. Make the “easy” days easier, before giving AT a chance to reduce or throttle back your workout days. With the traditional plans that wasn’t a real issue, I just had to know when I hit the second or third week of build or specialty, it was time to drop my easy days to recovery, now with AT, they might advance me too fast and I really have to pay attention.
Fighting the algorithm like that is what I was wondering about when I talked about “undermining the plan.” I’m putting railings up with target hours/tss and then monitoring closely for fatigue/soreness/HRV changes.
Has anyone found themselves battling AT rather than working together for faster times? If so, what did you do to get back on the same page?
Your goal is to get faster and you’re usiing both TR plan and additional rides. I believe it doesn;t matter either way. The real proof will be found 1 or 2 months once you do a FTP test.
If you overdo it in your additional rides then you’ll be more tired and as long as you answer the survey honestly, AT will take that into account and nerf the workouts. / the PL won’t progress as fast. However that’s ok because that’s because you pedaled harder on the outside rides.
If you 're careful that the additional rides don’t interfere much with the TR workouts, meaning you 're able to rest enough and complete the structured rides as AT provides then you’ll progress faster on the PL.
I do the TR Low Volume plans because I found that it’s psychologically it’s much better to add workout toa a LV plan than to always be behind a MV or High volume plan.
I agree with the “proof is in the pudding” concept - though I imagine some of us who are messing with the plans can set ourselves up to be monsters in base/build and peak early. It looks like the plans do a good job of balancing volume/intensity as below.
Hoping to peak August/September
This totally makes sense to me. Working in and emergency department, I have a very irregular work schedule. The idea of moving 3 key workouts around and building on top feels like I’m doing positive - while cutting workouts would always feel a little suspect.