Newbie training plan progression - am I out of sync for 2021?

I am a fresh off the couch newbie that is finishing up my last week of build MV next week (mid november) after completing SSBMV I and II. Normally the progression is to go into specialty, (RRoad is what I would pick) but its winter and there really isn’t any ‘racing’ in my area, that being said. I do want to more or less ‘peak’ for summer 2021 outdoor rides.

Would I be better off going back to SSBMV I and II, Build, then specialty with the goal of a peak fitness for summer? Or is there value for someone like me to do a specialty plan to acquire some experience in those plans before returning to a base/build/specialty round 2 leading up to a June peak?

I don’t have an endurance background at all, and my Ftp progression has been really good so far in SSB/Build. im up from 174 to mid 234 as of my last ramp 2 weeks ago. I am struggling with the longer 1.5h/2h weekend workouts in build, (low energy, hard to hold my cadence + power over the longer threshold stuff thats 90% or more for 15-20 min durations) Since starting TR i’ve increased my sleep to 8.5+ and feel like I could use more but between work/family thats about the best I can manage. Nutrition is solid, I eat clean year round and if anything I need to drop 5-8 kilo by summer, but im currently not in a calorie deficit since the workouts are so hard and im trying to build up to a respectable FTP first.

Cut the ftp value around 5%(just guess. you should find your own multiplier.) and see how your training goes. TR’s plan should be all doable if your ftp estimation is sound(unless there’s no other hard outside stressor). Under estimation of ftp would just result in non-optimal training but will see progress over time. Over estimation will crush your body and mind.

1 Like

Do speciality. The taper will help shed some fatigue. Take a good week or two off the bike and then start again from base. Never underestimate the importance of adequate recovery. Especially since you mentioned you’re “fresh off the couch”, and you’re getting feelings of low energy during weekend workouts.

Edit: also… yeah the ramp test could be over-estimating your FTP. Not gonna restart that discussion in yet another thread, but have a search of “ramp test” on this forum.

1 Like

didn’t consider the specialty taper/fatigue aspect… good call there. I was looking more at this time of year is where most people would be going back to base with a nice long build up for 2021. one consideration that makes me think a return to base would be to… well… build a better base fitness since this is my first endurance training…

1 Like

Same here - these things take time though. Wouldn’t be fair though if anyone like us could just take up cycling and have a monster aerobic engine in 12 months or less :slight_smile:

It takes time, and proper recovery is a big part of the process. You’ve got plenty of time for a June peak, better to get the R&R in now.

ok what i’m hearing here is to HTFU, stop overthinking and just follow the progression through, Then start a new progression.

Oh no definitely not, I was more addressing the following

However if the struggles you mention in the last part of your post make you think you might not be able to complete a speciality plan, then personally I’d go with rest & recovery now, then start back with base again once you’re ready.

I think yes, im fatigued, its been 4 solid months of TR/endurance. I suspect i’m just slow to adapt to longer threshold being new to the sport (threshold IS my weakest no doubt about it), it is some mental where im just “really? 2 MORE of these grind out the last 5 minutes (out of 15-20 min efforts) struggling to hold 85 rpm when my target is 90-95?” i’d honestly rather do 3min V02 max at 120%

Ok… that sounds exactly like how I felt when the Ramp Test started over-estimating my FTP, after having working for me initially. Just gonna drop some links to my previous personal experiences / rants:

yup! you kinda nailed it. but I don’t think its a question of the ramp test giving me too high of a FTP, I’m doing ok in the V02 max workouts, and I CAN hold FTP for 20, its just REALLY hard, and im pretty leg tired by the time the next one hits (repeatability needs improvement) , my HR gets more into v02 zones and I fade out) I think maybe its more that the threshold power/time adaptation for me is below ‘average’? I almost feel like I need smaller jumps in duration or interval #'s per workout… that or a more gradual progression from 1:15-1:30h workouts to adapt to 2h workouts.

physical adaptation takes time… 4 months (in my case) isn’t really much time at all to expect major neuromuscular changes from a primarily fast twitch background

for perspective, I completed about 1:15 out of 2:00 of Aniakchak today, its been ~4.5h of rest since then and my quads are pretty sore, even after a typical nightly mobility/roll/stretch.

Nah that’s exactly what an over-estimated FTP feels like. With experience comes more watts, and sure some level of fatigue resistance, but threshold should feel like threshold.

Have you done strength training then, or similar? Because that’s also the same position I was in. I believe that’s what gave me the decent anaerobic capacity to start with - which is one of the things that can throw the ramp test off.

yes. primarily weightlifting

1 Like

Yeah, that makes sense. I’d recommend long-form FTP tests as the way to go then, for example:

There’s a long discussion thread on here about it:

More good info on the Empirical Cycling podcast:

But also make sure you get some rest&recovery in ASAP. Training with an over-estimated FTP is a good way to burn out quickly.

This is one of the most common misconceptions you hear. … VO2max feels okay so FTP must be about right.
This thinking is plain incorrect. Efforts above FTP do not scale like they do for Z1 - Z3 below FTP (which is why there is workout text to increase or decrease the workout depending on the individual)

Your FTP might be correct it might not, how you feel in VO2 efforts gives no real indication. Recomendation, do a long form test and find out. This topic has been beaten to death in other threads so I’ll stop there. :wink:

Re: Training plan progression, enjoy a few weeks with no pressure, do what you fancy and then start a base, build progression to next summer. I know many people that dont start there training for next summer until the end of this month or even the new year (and then there’s the January - February Heros, mid race season Zeros)


If I read correct, @Offline you went from couch to SSB Mid Volume. Maybe some of the fatigue is coming from that jump - which by itself you should be quite proud as as MV is tough. I wonder if you had progressed through Low Vol first, you wouldn’t feel as fatigued?

fair point… Ill modify the workouts. TBH I have no interest in long form tests… my goal isn’t to have a high FTP or W/KG… my goal is to improve and get faster.