I just signed up for TR, have been listening to the podcasts, and I’m trying to shape/pick a training plan. I do some road racing and shorter MTB, but my priority is marathon MTB and I’m getting into gravel racing as well. I’m 50 and my FTP is 286 based on my ramp test and I weight about 165 lbs. Primary goal is to push FTP up over 300 and also increase my ability to better recover from short surges in races. I’m registered for Leadville 2020 and I’m also doing the Leadville stage race in July this year as a preview, so I’m hoping to do a couple build blocks between now and July for the Leadville stage race.
I’ve been training with power for over 10 years, mostly “semi-structured” and my typical approach is:
Base - run as many Kj’s through my legs as possible for a few months, heavy focus on tempo work. That’s typically 800-1200 TSS per week with a long 350-450 TSS ride every Saturday 5+ hours. 2-3 rest days per week and easy week every 4th week or so. I don’t do any focused rides under tempo pace and I get to a point where normalized power is 80-85%+ of FTP for 5 hours on saturday rides and I’m tired, but not wrecked afterwards.
Build - work in FTP intervals on tues/thurs. This is where I’m pretty vanilla with long intervals right at threshold or maybe slightly below. For saturday ride, part of it is a group ride, so I just try to get as much time at or over threshold as possible (usually 70-90 minutes total). Any other days I’m riding, I’m still doing tempo work just to generate TSS without much stress. After a couple months of that, I’ll switch from FTP work to Vo2 max stuff on Tues/Thurs and I’m still really basic without much variety.
Right or wrong, I feel like my approach to base fitness works for me, but I’d really like to build my FTP up and I’m hoping the variety and different TR workouts will help me in the build phase.
So, I’m looking at the high volume 8 week sustained power build plan and I’m 100% on board with the Tuesday/Thursday workouts. What I’m struggling with is the idea of dropping my long Saturday ride in favor of a much shorter interval session and I also can’t wrap my head around the Wed/Fri “easy” days at under 65% of FTP. So, for the easy days, would it be OK to make those tempo days (more like 80%) as long as I can hit the numbers on my Tues/Thurs intervals? If endurance pace is better for the easy days, why?
I understand that weekly TSS will typically drop a bit when adding in hard intervals, but I’m afraid of losing fitness going from 900 TSS weeks to 600 TSS weeks for the standard TR plans. For the kind of racing I’m focused on, being able to hold decent power for 5-9 hours is critical and I don’t want to lose any of my endurance if possible.
So, I really want to try to incorporate Tues/Thurs intervals from the TR plans into my past training approach and keep the TSS up a bit, but I’m wondering if I’d be better off doing the TR plan as-is and try to let go of my old approach. Any thoughts/guidance?