Preparation prior to starting a training plan?

This is my fourth year of structured training with trainerroad and over the past couple of years, I usually do 1-2 months of unstructured training before starting a training plan with trainerroad. I do this in order to gain some “fitness” prior to starting a plan as I believe that it will give me some extra wiggle room in terms of my base fitness.

This year I have been doing something different. After ending my previous season and taking two weeks off the bike, I started strength training. The weights have been quite heavy which kept me sore from doing any long unstructured rides. Secondly, I don’t seem to be enjoying unstructured riding when I don’t have proper fitness. Simple climbs feel too hard and I cannot respond to surges in group rides. AI FTP detection detected my FTP as 267, an 8% drop from my FTP last season (which is expected after an off-season break). I will soon be starting a low-volume sweet spot base plan and since it is low volume, I guess that there is no requirement to train to start training? Is it necessary to do a couple of weeks of unstructured riding prior to starting a low-volume plan?

Base is your preparation. As long as you don’t skip base you’ll be ready when the training loads ramp up.

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No reason to “train to train”. Just get into the plan and go. Previous fitness come back pretty quickly. Last year I was down 15% from a few months of unstructured riding and then time off the bike before starting my plan. Got that 15% back in 6ish weeks and then added more on top of through through rest of plan.

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