Preparing new season 2020 already - advise wanted


I want to start preparing 2020 soon enough. Last year I started prep in October by doing the base plan and I had aso difficulties finishing some of the base trainings, just exhausted towards the end.

Therefore I thought I was missing some general fitness so I was thinking to ride each day in September during 1 - 2 hours, just a flat endurance tempo 25% under FTP.

Then it October start with the base - build - speciality phase. I have a first ‘appointment’ towards end of March, a 250km endurance ride with some hills (about 2000 height meters).

Is the September ‘flat’ cycling even a good idea to get some more base, or would it be better to follow a Base plan - Low Volume, followed by Base plan - High Volume before I move into build and specialty phase?

Thanks for your advise!

in Italy we have a saying: if you always go slowly you only learn to go slow
therefore I will never limit myself to doing every day a 1 - 2 hours ride “just a flat endurance tempo 25% under FTP”
I think the best thing would be to follow the basic plan, mid volume, turning the weekend WO’s into external ones whenever possible

however, in March I always do the GF Strade Bianche, 140km x 2300+, and, my experience, the training you will do in the 45 days before these early races is much more important than anticipate the season

Two things;

  1. Make sure you have an accurate FTP that is not overestimated. Especially if you are going to be doing a lot of long and lower % work, having an accurate understanding of your aerobic abilities is important. While I like the Ramp Test, this is an instance where doing the 20min test might actually make sense, and the timing of doing it this early in the off-season won’t create any setbacks. You may in fact test lower than your Ramp Test FTP…that’s OK, you want to focus on your aerobic capacity right now, so strip out the anaerobic component (and park your ego for a few weeks) and test and see what you can do.
  2. Take that 20min number and apply it to the Sweet Spot Base 1 plan. Do this plan for 4-6 weeks as a “primer” before launching into the full Base/Build/Spec cycle which you want to start in october. Swap out the Over/Under Saturday workouts for some proper long Endurance/Tempo rides to really help cultivate that aerobic capacity. Adding rides like Leavitt+2, Boarstone +1, Kennedy Peak +3 (in that weekly order) will help grow that capacity while extending that time in zone.
    Unlike the prior comment around always going slow, this isn’t something you are going to do forever, but you do it for 4-6 weeks and you’re going to start to really build that strong aerobic capacity foundation that will assist you when you do Sweet Spot Base 1 as prescribed, and it should ensure you are not left gassed.

The other piece, which program did you do last year that left you gassed? Could it have been that you jumped into too much volume too quickly? ie. took on high volume when you should have done medium? What other stressors did you have going on outside of training that were not accounted for?


Perhaps the biggest thing I’ve learned during my years of using TrainerRoad is that less is more.

Prior to TR I subscribed to the theory that every turbo session had to be hard to be worth it. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

My plan for this winter is to ride the first 4 weeks of traditional base mid volume (4 rides/week, all at endurance pace), followed by the first 4 weeks of traditional base high volume (5 endurance rides/week). After that I’ll be hitting sweet spot base 2, then a build plan.

Past experience has taught me that those long endurance rides really prepare me for the sweet spot sessions that will come later in the winter. Attempting 20-30 minute sweet spot intervals without that solid base is just miserable!

Agree with everything you wrote, but lets not kid ourselves, just because it might not be high absolute power output doesn’t mean that some of those low power long duration rides are “easy”. They are a different kind of hard,


Have a couple of follow up questions to ensure I understood correctly:

Why would you think the 20min FTP is better for this than the Ramp test?

If I understand correctly, you are saying to replace the Saturday ride with Leavitt+2, the Sunday ride with Boardstone +1, … or did you mean something else.

I started with the SSB Mid Volume 1 and had issues in the Mid Volume 2.

The idea would be to do endurance/tempo rides 4-5 times a week for a period of 4-5 weeks before starting the proper SSB plan (with Base, Build, Specialty). So the idea is not to ride slow, the idea is to start with endurance/tempo rides for about a month to lay a good foundation before starting Sweet Spot training…in the hope it would be easier to finish some rides of the SSB plan

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The 20min test due to its duration forces you to rely more heavily on your aerobic capacity to complete than the ramp test. Those of us gifted with high anaerobic abilities have the potential for overheating on the ramp test due to the time duration and contribution that occurs via anaerobic system.

Given you want to focus on aerobic capacity it makes sense to ensure you are actually training in the proper aerobic zones. Hence testing it to ensure you have an accurate measure.

Regarding the list of workouts I would not suggest trying to do them all in one week. Simply swap out the Saturday ride each week for each of those workouts to progressively increase your time in zone for endurance and tempo type work. This will help cultivate that aerobic base.

As for failing SSB2, this happens when you don’t have an accurate FTP or you don’t have a good base foundation to grow from. All of the above will help address that.

Thanks for the good advise. Will follow that suggestion!

Take a watch through this, specifically around the 30min mark, it gives a very good explanation as to the WHY behind my suggestion.