Overreaching masters... TSS % drop for rest weeks

So here is the situation. Jumped into TR a couple of years back. I did the mid volume, no bother. Wasn’t too religious about the compliance on the endurance stuff (I commute by bike so took that outdoors…sort of) but was religious on the HIITs. All went well. Just rode through the summers; fantastic. Hitting PBs!

All good.

This cycle I am all over the place. I can hardly manage any meaningful compliance. Before Xmas was hit or miss the whole time. Dropped to Low volume. As it is a very clear limiter for me I was trying to concentrate on the strength training in the off season (Not as successfully as I would have liked…work got in the way there). So set myself to exploring polarizing the plans. So completed the LV SSB 1 & 2… It was a struggle. Started adding in endurance rides to rebalance the HR zone distribution. Feeling more and more tired. Took a ramp test and burned out of it at something like 10% lower FTP than I had been using. Did not find the VO2max stuff that hard. So just wrote it off as a bad test…

Just had a look at my calendar and noticed that I have been way up on the TSS per week than I expected.

Here’s the punch line: There was no drop in TSS on the rest weeks…<Duh!> I went a bit scenic on my endurance riding for those weeks. Just convinced myself that the intensity was too low to matter. Clearly wrong there.

So what percentage drop on TSS should I be gunning for on a rest week? If I persist in augmenting the LV plan with Z2 riding?(not a given at the moment)

I’m not sure if I fully understand you, but looking at any of the TR plans will give you an indication of TSS % drop for a rest week.

I’m in SSB LV2 at the moment and rest week TSS is 50% that of the previous week.

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I guess my question is does this hold universally seeing as all CTL are not created equal? In the old days rest weeks were all about keeping up the intensity but reducing the total load. So I am a little lost on the impact of the Z2 stuff… If I am doing this extra Z2 riding to pad the LV plan and aim for a quasi POL approach do I just drop the HIIT stuff entirely per the LV and back off the TSS to the 50% mark or is there another approach recommended for old farts… i.e. Sit my jaded arse down for the entire week…?

{Stipulated answer; that it depends but I am fishing for general guidance here]

Master here also. Fairly new to TR ( Christmas) but done a fair amount of structured training prior to joining. I have found with the build plans and previous training I have the highest benefit with a build, build, taper schedule. So 2 build weeks followed by a taper week which I usually cut my TSS and intensity by 50% +/- . I adjust as needed based on percieved exertion. So far in 10 weeks w/ TR my FTP has gone up 8% but more importantly( to me) is my ability to do much harder group rides has increased dramatically. One thing that has become abundantly clear to me is that proper recovery is more critical than ever. I really love the calendar feature that allows you to move entire weeks forward or back. It makes it simple to build in a custom taper week.


I think until theres a better way to quantify the “not all TSS is created equal” problem then there’s always going to be a certain amount of trial and error which will also be different depending on the individual.

I’m not sure about the old days, but maintaining intensity and reducing the TSS sounds like a modern day taper to me, not a rest week.

If I were you then I would increase the weekly TSS with Z2 work and maintain the 50% of TSS for your rest week, atleast for 4 weeks. If, after those 4 weeks, you feel particularly well rested and hungry for more, then you could try maintaining higher TSS in your rest weeks. However, I’d rather make the hard stuff hard (add my extra desired TSS to my normal training weeks) so that I can keep the easy stuff easy. Making the hard stuff hard and the easy stuff a bit harder doesn’t sound like a recipe for long-term improvements.

@Paul_Palmer: Not wrong on the rest requirement. Friel hammered on that point in his Old Farts Manual. I seem to have managed to thrash myself by testiculating my way through the rest weeks. I guess I am talking myself to getting more serious about ‘rest’ weeks. 50% is as good a place to start.

@onemanpeloton Fair enough. Part of the problem I have been having is that there is a rather large disconnect between Z2 riding outdoors and indoors… in the region of 10% of FTP on my rough LT1 HR. So the IF of my outdoor rides has been pretty high based on power data but much lower based on HR. So I was sort of discounting a lot of that TSS. This was not the correct approach clearly as now I am flirting with a non functional overreach. I think I have talked myself into just resetting this week and restarting next week but doing the full power based 50% TSS reduction on the rest weeks. It also looks like I should be doing the z2 riding based on power and not HR as I have been currently doing.

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TR plans have about a 40% TSS drop. I’m doing a non TR base plan now that has about a 50% TSS drop (and only 3 rides during the rest weeks), and that’s on a 3-1 week cycle vs the TR SSB 5-1 cycle. Both plans work but my old masters body is responding a little better to the new plan with the additional rest. Don’t be afraid to rest!

Whatever plan you are on, if you are doing the work part as specified you MUST do the rest parts as specified too. They call it a “plan” for a reason :slight_smile:


I still do group rides and some easy 1 hour sessions like pettit/baxter -2 on recovery weeks just knock the intensity on the head…it is the intensity that fatigues me. So my TSS doesn’t drop to much if I do 3-4 hours with my mates on the weekend as there is quite a bit of TSS in that but the IF is low so I feel ok …especially if we stop for :cake:

Think you might need to differentiate between recovery weeks and taper weeks. Taper is what you do before a race, and yes, it’s keeping the intesity up somewhat (with reduced duration and reducing volume overall). The regular recovery weeks in TR drop intensity completely, and reduce volume.

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Yep - recovery = Pettit, taper = Truuli :smiley:

Yeah as soon as it was mentioned I had another duh moment… taper .ne. rest. As I said: Not-with-it-at-the-moment so need to back off and come back again.

I’ve made this mistake a few times. I really like to ride almost every day and when I’m tired even turning the pedals as slow as possible for 45 minutes seems to leave me even more tired.

I kind of did it on Sunday accidentally. I was thinking that it would be an easy hour. I thought I would be having a tail wind on the way home and then the wind shifted so I ended up with a 1.5 hour ride and a 15mph head wind for the last 30 minutes which left me exhausted.

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Hey @AJS914 I know that tune very well. Here in Holland we clearly bend the laws of physics. It is flat as a pancake but with a perpetual headwind. Even on looped courses :man_shrugging:t3::dash::tornado:

" it is the intensity that fatigues me"
This is exactly what I have experienced. I can stay in the 500-575 TSS range doing base/endurance rides without issue but as soon as I add in higher end SS, V02, or threshold intervals my fatigue goes up noticeably even maintaning the same or close to the same TSS. As mentioned above TSS is NOT all the same. I’m loving TR so far but as with any plan it takes tweaking for each individual and if you don’t have any prior coaching or training experience to draw from I am sure it can be hit or miss for a while.

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As mentioned above for the first time I’m doing a different non TR base plan this year. Its interesting to compare plans. Like TR, its called “Sweet Spot” and the weekly TSS is almost identical to SSBMV but there are some differences. Most notably - zero above threshold until some limited 5 second bursts arrive in one workout per week starting in week 5 and the first real over threshold work (over/unders) don’t start until week 10. But there is a ton of actual sweet spot and tempo zone intervals. There are VO2 workouts but not until near the end. (It also has a 3-1 vs 5-1 work/rest week cycle which i prefer).

They do this by not being a slave to 5 rides per week of X total hours per week TR sticks to. This plan trades an hour or two extra per week for lower intensity to get the TSS in. Its not traditional base but not as gung ho on early intensity as the TR SSB plans.

TR has great plans but there is more than one way to skin a cat. My new plan is not billed as a masters plan but so far my 59 year old body takes to this approach much better.

TR has the workouts so if the plans don’t fit exactly, you have the tools to adjust.

@STP Care to share on the plan source? I am finding compliance with the SSB troublesome this year. No particular reason for this. So I was thinking it’s just age related (52). Polarization is looking more and more attractive to me. I know I can hit two VO2max/threshold a week. As I mentioned I dropped to LV and supplemented but I fouled up the supplementation and now I am seriously fragged. I am hitting reset on the build phase now. I think I just need a little time off the bike. So I was going to concoct a version of my own for next year once I get through this build period… If I get through this build period.