New Training Plans, Pro Racing, Left/Right Balance and More – Ask a Cycling Coach 308

Get an inside look into why and how we updated all of our training plans with data from Adaptive Training, a question from a pro cyclist on how World Tour racing differs from amateur racing, how to best use Left/Right Balance and more in Episode 308 of the Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast!

Tune in live on YouTube today at 8:00am Pacific!

Youtube Live Video:

Topics Covered in This Episode

  • How TrainNow is getting even smarter
  • What are Workout Levels and how to use them
  • A deep dive into creating the updated Training Plans
  • Does race strategy matter when the pace is all-out?
  • Are slow group rides valuable?
  • What is Left/Right Balance and how should you use it?
  • Rapid Fire Questions
  • Big training volume for new riders
  • The effects of a mid-ride meal stop
  • Fueling recovery rides
  • Why World Tour racing is so hard
  • Getting dropped in a low power race
  • How pro racing is different from amateur racing

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Too late for rapid fire question:


Am I insane because I have never used chamois cream in my life? I’ve always been of the camp that if the bibs fit properly and your bike fit is dialed, chamois cream is unnecessary. Never experienced chafing or saddle sores or anything either.


Yes you’re insane.


Not insane. GCN unscientific poll:

Pros use of chamois cream:

  • 2 always use
  • 3 never use
  • 6 sometimes use (racing)

Twitter Poll 5000 responses:

  • 24% always
  • 45% never
  • 31% sometimes

Put me down as a never!


Are high-volume plans now fair game given the recalibration of the plans based on levels?

Road cyclist for 20 years here and I’ve also never used chamois cream.


Not sure what you mean by “fair game”, but your training volume needs are dependent on your life and physical constraints, not the plans.

The plan volumes are similar to that of the previous plans in terms of time.

I assume he means in terms of worries about overtraining. I have time to train more than I do, but I was starting to fail workouts in MVSPB, so I dropped to LV. With the somewhat easier plans, I might be able to do MV.

I was under the impression that historically TR did not recommend the high-volume plans for the vast majority of athletes.

Same advice applies. High Volume is appropriate for a minority of athletes.

I didnt used, until I developed a saddle sore…
Its cured now… but as prevention, i now use Noxzema on every ride…

Looking at the threshold workouts, increasing levels seem to be a result of longer intervals or shorter recovery or both (instead of raising power target). They have added more workouts specifically to facilitate this and as a way of giving you ‘progressive overload’ in order to stimulate adaptation I agree with it. The alternative is to stick with the same intervals and nudge up the power whenever it gets too easy, with or without retesting.

Out of interest the approach of testing FTP accurately, doing intervals just below that power and progressively adding volume as you get fitter instead of bumping the power up is a perfect description of what Kolie Moore recommends for threshold training, at the risk of stirring the forum pot. Apologies if I misunderstood your question.


Yeah…my point was just intended as a rapid fire one.

My whole point is written here as answer/agreement to this post.

Similar and good discussion about all those things in the sweet spot progression thread.

I guess yes for your point on Koolie. Whereas I’m coming from WKO / Cusick with the longer growing intervals in tempo/SS (extensive aerobic).

@Jonathan A question from the podcast 308. When talking about TrainNow, you were all repeatedly saying it uses “Recent” workouts to choose the levels and recommendations in TrainNow.

How recent is recent? a few days? A week, a fortnight?

For example, but not exclusively, I am just wondering if I do a SS or threshold session outside (off plan, such as a 25mTT race), and it looks like a missed session, does that confuse TrainNow, because it does not recognise it?

I’m so sorry! If I had seen your earlier post I would have realized you were re-iterating your own point/question.

So does this mean that “Progress Levels” don’t really have much bearing on a riders actually rider profile?

Based on what @Nate_Pearson said they just represent a sliding scale of the most recent Work Level of an energy system. For example you complete a Tempo 7 the scale jumps there but over time will slide back down until you complete your next Tempo of equal or higher level than where your Level is currently at.

Also I personally put little to no weight on a TSS, IF, and now add Workout Level to that list. The reason for that is it is another metric that is relative to the rider. For example a rider with FTP of 250 and rider with FTP at 150 both do the same workout. The scores for all three of these metrics will be the same since it is relative.

Can anybody remember the brand of tyre inserts that Jonathan said he uses? Was it tubolights?

I can’t remember which part of the podcast it was mentioned, and don’t fancy listening to the whole two hours again.

1 Like

This is correct. Get good bibs!

I never use chamois cream!!