TL;DR: TrainerRoad’s plan builder is not currently showing a taper for my upcoming 3-day 500-mile ultra, and their response is that it will adapt and include a taper as the event approaches. Is this a reasonable approach?
I am using TrainerRoad to create a training plan for a 3-day, 500-mile ultra. Generally, I am satisfied with the plan suggested by TrainerRoad. However, the plan currently does not include a taper period and schedules the highest training stress score (TSS) for the week before the event. After rebuilding the plan as suggested by their customer support, the issue persisted.
After reaching out to them again, they acknowledged the problem, stating that the plan will automatically update to include a taper as the event nears, but it won’t show this adjustment right now. They assured me that this has been a common occurrence with other athletes and will be resolved in due course.
This situation has led me to question whether the plan will effectively help me peak at the right time. I usually trust TrainerRoad’s plan builder, but this is the first time I’m having doubts about its effectiveness in constructing a suitable training plan. I’m interested in your opinions on this matter.
Just to check, are you actually getting a legit “Specialty” phase in your plan?
Is it a full 8-week version like the default plan phase or abbreviated to shorter period?
The plan is broken into 4 weeks of general base 1, 3 weeks of general base 2, 8 weeks of sustained power build, 6 weeks of gran fondo, and 1 week of recovery.
Not too sure if this makes a difference, but since it is a 3-day event the event discipline was listed as a stage race with each day being 12 hours (estimated) at a level 4/10.
OK, that sounds like a mostly complete but partially shortened version compared to the “Default” plans that would give you a full 8-weeks of Specialty.
Your current plan is likely a result of a timeframe shorter than the full plan along with whatever you chose in the “Experience” section of Plan Builder. If you pick “Expert” in particular, that will be more likely to give you a full 8 week Specialty phase and make cuts in Base and/or Build phases.
Regardless of the labeling of the 4 choices in that Experience tab, I suggest that people try all four settings (requires step back in the PB process to alter that setting and then repeat to get to the evaluation prior to application to a calendar) and consider which of the 4 versions best suits a person’s preferences.
- Per the above, I think those are the leading factors and don’t think the event selection really factors into the plan layout (even though that makes sense).
I had a similar issue, chatted with TR and they manually adjusted it. This was for an event back in early December; perhaps they’ve improved this aspect of Plan Builder since.
A general annoyance I have with TR is that the plan builder does a poor job of working backward from a goal event if it’s not in the very distant future; it seems to prioritize lots of base but abbreviates build/specialty if the time to event is not the full base-build-specialty period it prefers.
I echo the point above on trying the “expert” level, which seems to partially fix this, presumably because they assume you need less base if you’re already an expert.
- Yes, that matches the latest version of info shared in PB (screen below differs from the one in the article) as well as my own testing of all options for various plans over the years.
I will tag @ZackeryWeimer so he can consider forwarding this as a flag to update the support article to match the current info in text and screens.
Thanks; yeah, I think it’d be great if during the Plan Builder queries it were made clearer that this is the effect of choosing intermediate vs. advanced vs. expert. I came to that conclusion via trial and error (as it sounds like you did). That may or may not fix the taper issue though!
Great suggestion. I did select Advanced, but I have been using TR for 3-4 years and likely could qualify as an expert. I guess I just don’t think of myself as an expert yet. I still have a lot to learn, but this recommendation is solid and I’ll experiment around with the different suggestions.
I don’t know if this matters, but I did turn on the master version. While I’m probably not considering the typical age of a master rider, this training block has a LOT of volume and I wanted to ensure plenty of endurance and recovery.
I’m happy to give it a try and report my results.
Good deal. Per Masters, that won’t impact the way that TR builds the plan other than the basic number of hard/easy workouts in a given week template.
As you see, the Experience option is the main variable for altering the number of weeks per phase. I recommend potentially ignoring the “name/labels” and consider the actual phase impact as the large question. I know those labels are useful and may help people with less training history & knowledge get a workable plan. But it can serve as a limiter of sorts that discourages people from simply playing with the settings, which I think is the “best” solution.
Great news! I went back and made this adjustment, listing my experience with interval training as Expert and it built what I would think is a reasonable taper!
Right on! Glad that worked for you