More polarized base training?

I’ve just completed my first season using TrainerRoad (and my first season doing structured training). I basically just did Base 1 -> Base 2 -> Sustained Power Build -> Climbing Specialty (all high volume) and it was wildly successful. My FTP went from 250 to 350. I’m in a rest week now and planning what I will do when I restart base training. When I originally did Base 1 I was totally new to sweet spot and it was physically and mentally brutal so I definitely needed the shorter intervals (like 5x10 mins in Antelope) or else I wouldn’t have survived. However, now that I’m used to sweet spot and a lot fitter I can do 3x30, 2x40, 1x90, etc. I’m looking at Base 1 now and it looks too easy. The total amount of sweet spot seems fine, but it’s broken into such small chunks.

So here’s my question: should I just do Base 1 HV as it suggests in plan builder, or is that designed to avoid crushing newer people (like me from a year ago)? I’ve read in several places (including a few people on this forum) that once you’re adjusted to sweet spot it’s better to do longer intervals but the plans in TR don’t seem to include workouts like Polar Bear, Phoenix, Wright Peak (full version), etc. I don’t necessarily want to do more TSS, but possibly more heavily polarized training. ie: fewer sweet spot days but with bigger blocks and more easy days.

I don’t want to be arrogant and think I know more than the TR plan designers, but I also know that they build the plans taking into account the psychology and time constraints of the average user, and not all of those constraints apply to me.

Any input is much appreciated :slight_smile:

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Sometimes fitness needs to dip a little before it can recover and reach new heights.

That’s not to say that your fitness will dip with SSB1 being too easy, but rather you shouldn’t panic if it does.

Kudos on the progress. 250 to 350 within one base - build - specialty phase sounds like an amazing achievement. Personally I wouldn’t change a winning system like that. Or at least not as long as you make progress.

Are you sure the HV SSB is too easy? My experience is that with every FTP increase the workouts got more challanging again (stating the obvious here). The base you did in the beginning with a 250 Watt FTP is a different beast now at a 350 Watt FTP.

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True, and I probably wouldn’t be asking this question if SSB1 had short intervals and SSB2 had long intervals, but they both seem to lean toward a larger number of <= 20min intervals.

No I am not :slight_smile:

This is a very good point.

Since TR base training is so heavily sweet spot focused it may be that I would never be able to get in the same amount of total time in zone unless I do it in smaller intervals. For example week 4 of HV SSB1 has ~5.5 hours of sweet spot. It might be too hard to recover each day if I did longer intervals.

Mainly I’m trying to reconcile everything I’m reading with what TR has chosen to actually put in their plans. Most sources I have come across seem to suggest longer intervals except if you’re new and not able to do 20+ minutes at a time. However, I think those training plans probably would not include 5 sweet spot days per week. TR seems to be an outlier on that. Maybe because they are trying to maximize the benefit that you can get in just 10-12 hours whereas a lot of books and research on competitive cycling assume you are doing more hours than that which probably means more zone 1/2 time and a more polarized weekly schedule.

Related thread: Sweetspot interval length - Short vs Long