Plan builder vs manual plans

I use TR to build my cycling strength and stamina for recreational cycling and as such I don’t have any specific races or target events. I tried to set up plan builder just targeting October 1 as an “A” race but here’s my issue. My work and family schedule are highly variable and as such I often need to adjust my training days and or weeks. I’m beginning to wonder if plan builder just doesn’t work for people like me as it gets all messed up when I attempt to make my training fit into my weird schedule. Does anyone else struggle with this or have thoughts on how to best set up my year of training?

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You realise that there’s nothing wrong with using plan builder to get an outline, and then move/adjust workouts as needed to fit around life?


Yes this is the key ingredient missing from TR’s plan builder right now. It would be great if it automatically adjusted the plan when you miss training days, get sick, etc.

And yes a big omission in their training plans is one for people without events. In this case I would argue the usual B-B-S path doesn’t make sense.


Yes, if you spend time on the forum you’re going to read lots of posts from semi-pros, dedicated masters, and highly focused childless people. When you read about their volume, focus, commitment and talent it’s sometimes discouraging. (I’m speaking for myself here but doubt I’m alone). Basically there’s a lot of focused riders here, and it’s easy to compare. But, you’re not alone. My schedule changes constantly, some weeks I can ride hard on Mondays, some weeks it’s a Thursday. Some weeks I can’t mentally get into it so I go into maintenance mode.

In that regard plan builder is there to remind me where I should be, or what I should be doing. You’re in a good position to just stay on course and modify as needed. See what improvements you gain, and what needs work. When/if you find a goal event you will have had the practice of a base/build/specialty experience already. I modify my plan heavily, almost always.


An automated plan has got to be the next step. That and polarized plans. :slightly_smiling_face:


What I do is focus on the consistency I can achieve. I’ve turned various schedules on their head and that allows me enough time to do LV work consistently and I fill the free time available as and when it comes with either Z2 work or a time trial.

Outside of that if things fall off the wagon and you miss loads you can just delete the current plan and build a new one.

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Thanks for the thoughts. I completely agree. It’s nice to know that there are normal people here too who struggle to get an ftp that would be a rest day for some on this forum.

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Plan Builder is excellent if you are trying to shoehorn your planning into less than the 28 weeks of base/build/speciality, are aiming to peak for multiple A events or switching events across the season (eg. an epic Fondo over to cyclocross in the winter). If you don’t have any specific target events, you might as well just stack the base/build/specialty plans yourself.

The calendar is awesome in flexibility - when “life” intervenes, just click and drag the workouts around to something that works better with your schedule.

+1 for those wanting a little bit of automatic adjusting when you need to add a vacation in, or sickness, or whatever.

In “The Cyclists Training Bible”, you can read about the necessity of updating your plan constantly. The author really gets that life is dynamic and made a good portion of the book around how to update and live your plan through the season.

In the mean time, it’s easy enough to drag around workouts, insert a week, remove a week etc. And you can recalculate your plan, but there are still a few things (like vacations) that don’t work so well with it. (Like move the whole plan isn’t an option if that messes up your race dates.)

A team of engineers is working on making this a reality as we speak :+1:.

We do not have an ETA at this time, but automatic adjustment for vacation, sickness and illness is a high priority project for us at the moment.


I thought that last part was hilarious. I’ve been all of the above. I raced in my 20s - single, no children, etc. But I worked full time and I use to be jealous of the dweebs at the bike shop that still lived with mom and worked 15 hours per week. They had so much more time to ride! This was in the 90s, well before indoor riding was a big thing.

I went polarized and it has really helped. I think it’s beneficial to have a big picture philosophy to guide training. With polarized I know that most of my workouts are going to be endurance workouts.

Once or twice a week I’ll bust out the intervals @ 90T of HRmax. I can do sessions of 20/10s or Seiler style 4, 8, 16 minute intervals and try to accumulate 15-20-30 minutes of time in zone. I honestly don’t think it matters that much which ones I do. Afterall, I have no events other than a few fondos per year. I’m just staying fit and wanting to perform well on a Saturday group ride. Every third or fourth week I skip the intervals and take an easy week. I take full days off if I really feel fatigued and I track fatigue with HRV.

It’s a pretty easy to follow plan overall when you have a big picture view. If I ever don’t know what to do on a ride, it defaults to an endurance ride.

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Athletes that care have a tough time not ticking the boxes that are laid out for them, even if they don’t know what was behind those boxes. One size never fits all, yet inexpensive internet training plans and plan builders are very popular (and many are very effective). Point being, at some point athletes need to understand what’s behind the training so they can make informed decisions about moving things or skipping workouts… or they need someone to do it for them. No plan ever survives first contact with “life” for the vast majority of us.

If you could just add in some machine learning that analyses my calendar and can figure out when I’m going to be tired, stressed or hungover and then plan around it that would be awesome :kissing_heart:

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