Hi all, I’m a 35 year old amateur cyclist in Seattle who recently decided to take the plunge into structured training. I’ve been riding road since 2016, rode ~150 hours each year, and finally got a smart trainer (Wahoo Kickr) in September 2020 to get more fit and increase my total training volume. Between September and now, I did a handful of simple, pre-built training plans provided by CTS within Strava and fell in love with the process of structured training. From there, I discovered the AACC podcast and it eventually convinced me to sign up for TrainerRoad.
From September to October, I was riding 3-6 hours a week with Zwift. From early October to mid-January (until I was shortly derailed by a tweaked back, which I’ve since corrected with frequent trunk stability and strength work), I was riding 7-10+ hours a week (hitting a peak of 12 during the Festive 500). This volume was manageable for me, and I loved seeing the performance gains (FTP raised from 203 in September to my current 274).
My question is about selecting the right training volume. Since December-ish, I’ve settled into the ability to comfortably ride 8-10 hours a week and still hit power targets probably 95% of the time. When I signed up for training road, Plan Builder recommended the Mid Volume plan, and reading the forums it seems that Low and Mid Volume are recommended as well. The thing is, if I select the MV plan for myself, the number of hours it schedules per week simply feels way too low for what I want to (and I what I think I can) do. I find myself setting MV as the base, then not being able to resist the temptation to up it to HV later on to get the time in.
On the one hand, I want to follow the plan recommendations because I do believe TR’s training philosophies are sound, and that I can greatly benefit from them. I do not have any planned events in 2021 (I have never raced) but do plan to start racing in 2022 (likely some local crits, perhaps 1-2 road races) and eventually explore triathlons sometime after that.
Am I missing something here? I really do feel like I can handle the HV plan, but is that just a mirage of being in the relatively less-intense base phase? Should I stick to MV, but add in additional Endurance/Z2 rides on scheduled days off to raise my total weekly hours and TSS to where I want to be? Will I run the risk of burning out really early if I stick with HV? Ideally, I would “peak” (as much as I can without any specific events) late in the summer, August and September, when I will be doing the majority of my riding outside and can attack some of my favorite Strava segments in the area.
Any feedback or comments are appreciated. Cheers!
P.S. Attached is my intervals.icu fitness chart, showing that my biggest gains came during December, particularly the Festive 500, when I was riding 10-12 hours a week.