Power plateau after 6 months of structure?

Greetings TR Forum,

First post so here goes. I seem to have reached a bit of a power plateau after 6 months of structured training. It happens I know but curious to get insights on how to best move forward. Got back into cycling in 2019, mostly mountain biking but in Sep 20 purchased a road bike after moving cities. Over that time I built up riding volume (12,200k in 2021) and intensity (weekly TSS 650 to 750). I started with Trainer road in July 21 and have essentially been on low volume build plans since and now taking advantage of adaptive training. I do the structured rides Mon, Wed and Friday with a high tempo unstructured ride outside on Saturday (2 to 3hrs) and a longer lower unstructured lower tempo ride Sunday (3+hrs), in mtb season at least one weekend ride is off-road. From time to time I’ll do a week of MTB.

The first FTP test was 260 last July, Last FTP before xmas was 285. I was in the high 7 and 8’s for workouts across sweet spot, threshold, V02, and anaerobic. There is no doubt I am fitter and faster. Not really training for something specific other than the love of a bike and the process of getting better. I might do a stage race in October.

So questions:

  • Just keep doing what I am doing, progress will come?
  • Go back to a big sweet spot base block, then come back to build and possibly speciality?
  • Rest more (it’s been 10 weeks since my weekly TSS has been below 650)
  • Or am I totally asking the wrong questions?

Definitely appreciate the wisdom of others who have been here before.


I’m no expert on it but I was listening to a Dr Sieler podcast last night on 80/20 (or polarized training). I think he was suggesting that anyone who has done no training will make rapid improvements just by starting any sort of training. However, they reach a plateau and to go beyond it they have to be a bit more clever in their training. His research seems to point to an 80/20 approach being the best way to achieve it. Something like for 80% of your time you ride easy (below 70%) and for 20% of your time you ride hard (but not to your detriment). There’ll probably be lots of debates on the effectiveness of an 80/20 (polarized) approach v the traditional SS approach if I look for it and there will probably be no clear answer just opinions strongly for or against.

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Here’s your answer. If you’ve been on continuous build plans since the summer, you likely need a change in stimulus. Now is a prime time to drop back into a base phase, especially with no events near on the calendar. Base (sounds like SSBLV + unstructured rides) will help you raise your ceiling.

Rest will not hurt. Also consider your life TSS off the bike.


Thank you for the perspective. I’ll give it a try.

Also no expert, but I’ll share my n-of-1 with the caveat that response to exercise stimulus (and recovery) seem to be highly individualized. I do a lot less volume than you (roughly 350-450 TSS/wk across most of the season, closer to 250 TSS/wk now); I’m 51 years old and in a similar FTP bucket. What helped me progress was shifting from 6 rides per week to more like 4, moving from tempo-centric riding to a mix of z2 and higher-intensity, being more deliberate about fueling, and incorporating yoga and/or strength training. I do think regardless of the trajectory you choose, a week or two of rest might do wonders. I have been riding very regularly for about 8 years, and I can’t imagine 10 weeks straight of 650+ TSS.

Good luck!


Thank you for your perspective and sharing some of your experience on the platformI and cycling. I just checked, my six week average TSS is 724, what’s interesting is I also track my resting overnight heart rate as a guide on fatigue and it’s been quite low of late still. (which is different from the first several weeks of structure training which forced me to look at fuelling and get even more focused on sleep)

Regardless I have a sweet spot base 1 low volume kicking off tomorrow and will follow that through. Let’s see how adaptive training changes the workouts as I go. I’ll continue to get out for weekend rides, perhaps using one with a fair bit of intensity and the second keeping it mostly in Z2.

Let’s see what happens. Thank you.

In addition to what others have said, are you incorporating any gym work/strength training at all into your program? If not, a couple of sessions of strength training a week should help improve performance

Somewhat of a side point, but your weekly TSS seems quite high for the amount of volume you are doing. Is your FTP set correctly? Maybe you just had a bad FTP test last time, and now you’re getting always very high IF scores, as your real FTP is higher?

Also, how did you do your first FTP test, was it a TR ramp test? Different testing protocols (and different power meters) can often lead to different results.

I haven’t incorporated gym sessions yet, I wasn’t expecting to reach a plateau at this point. On the agenda when gyms are open again.

It’s possible that the last ramp test was a bit off, it was was probably the warmest it’s been temperature wise (although I have good fans) Always have stuck to the TR ramp test. There is a fair bit of correlation between TR and Garmin in terms of FTP estimate but that might be luck.

As for volume, perhaps. I am doing about 9-10hrs a week, While I have been using the low volume build plans (fluctuating between general build and short power) I usually pick a longer effort while trying to stick to the a similar level so doing about 4.5hrs indoors structured and the remaining outdoors without too much structure.

The TR threshold over and unders are definitely challenging using the TR ramp test FTP. I suppose it is possible that for what ever reason I just don’t do well with the ramp test. Will be interesting to see what TR’s new FTP estimator will say once it gets released.

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