Progression - for how long?

I looked on the forum but couldn’t quite see anything specific to this question. Over what period of time can you keep progressing? I’m currently doing a 4 week on, 1 week off plan as I’m in my late 40s. I’m assuming that FTP will ebb and flow throughout the season, but can gains continue throughout the year or is it suggested that a month or two be taken off, or at significantly lower intensity/volume? I understand that the nature of the training will change depending upon where you fall in the plan. Just trying not to burn out or hit potential significantly prior to season end. I do not have a specific race/date in mind for peaking.

I don’t think there is anything specific – they’ve played around with this topic a lot on the podcast.

I think the general thinking is that at some point you need to take a break from intensity. Not necessarily a month or two off the bike…but a break from the hard work.

I’m 44 by the way. I am now 54 weeks into a more or less consistent training block – however only 6 months of that time has been structured training on TR. I have taken a couple weeks off from training here and there, but still commuted and/or ridden outside. But I don’t think I have been off the bike for more than 5 days.

BUT . . . after my last race at the end of October, I went straight from Short Power Build, which I had been using to try and re-peak for that race into SSB LV1 . . . which was a giant reduction in intensity.

I don’t know if I’m really saying anything useful – I think mental burnout is the enemy here. If you find yourself dreading the bike, or the trainer, either go for an outside ride…go for a jog…or stay away for a bit. When you find yourself chomping at the bit to get back at it, you’ll know.

That’s my 2c.


@Karyn_Silenzi I’ve read aerobic fitness, depending on starting level of fitness, physiologically can improve over a time period of 2 to 3 years. Maybe a little more.

Performance increases can continue to increase after that more due to sharpening training stimulus.

I am trying to find a study to link but, have not been able to find it…so unfortunately this is just my opinion at this time. I’m responding in hopes someone who knows more will chime in as this is fascinating.

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HI Karen, The short answer is that you can progress up to your genetic limit.

I’ve spoken to several world champion level athletes and what they have told me is that it takes about 5-7 seasons of 20-25 hours per week to reach that level. So it’s pretty unlikely that anyone of us on the TR Forum will ever get there and thus we all have lots of opportunity for improvement :smile:

Within a single season, we are limited by the amount of stress our bodies (and minds) can tolerate with getting proper rest/recovery along the way. For endurance athletes, and for all athletes during aerobic base/build periods, this can be measured using CTL and ramp rate. I’m not sure how much you are familiar with Andy Coggan’s PMC chart, but in essence young, elite athletes can ramp 7-10 TSS/day/week average on a 2:1 or 3:1 schedule while as we get older (40s, 50s+) it is closer tot he 3-5 range on a 3:1 and greater schedule. For example, at age 61 I went from 42 to 95 over a 12 week period (Ramp ~4.5/week).

During high Intensity efforts/periods coaches will decrease these rates to zero ramp and often take an athlete negative during specialization period (i.e. base/build fitness is achieved; it’s peak race season).

Regarding FTP ebbing and flowing, it depends on your goal(s) - fitness vs a specific event(s) that have specific requirements power requirements. “Intensive” efforts, such as VO2 Max (and higher) intervals are specifically aimed at increasing your short duration power (FTP and shorter). However, if your target event is an hour plus, having a high FTP and not being able to hold it will be useless. Conversely, “extensive” efforts, achieved through progressive interval training (greater # intervals, longer duration), will move your power duration curve (PDC) to the right allowing you to hold a high power for longer and longer periods of time.

If you want a deeper understanding of Intensive and Extensive training, and building Fatigue Resistance through progressive intervals (and lots more), you can watch Tim Cusick’s (WKO4 product leader) webinar on building fatigue resistance:


The TR SSB MV plans for example have higher TSS/week ramps…so do you think you would burnout using these in a row?

I always heard that the older you get it becomes more likely to have a recovery week earlier compared to younger people (so I’m a bit confused about the “3:1 and greater” part compared to the “2:1 or 3:1” part).

I think these ramp rates refer to CTL rather than TSS

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Oh yeah. No I didn’t mean my potential, lol. I doubt I’ll ever see that. Thinking back to Carmichael’s Time Crunched Cyclist protocol where they train intensely for 12 weeks then have to take a break. I realize that protocol is more intensive perhaps but the science behind it suggests they’ve hit a limit of training.

Yes. These are CTL ramp rates. However, at steady state they are the same. For example, after achieving a CTL of 95, I held a mid 90s CTL for several weeks which equates to an average daily TSS of ~95. The actual calculation is an exponential decay function over 42 days (adjustable, in TP Premium or WKO4) where the more recent workouts have a greater weighting and thus doesn’t exactly correlate to TSS during ramp growth (or decline).

TrainerRoad and Chris’ TCC are pretty similar in philosophy. The gist is that you have limited time to train per day and per week and thus can go for longer periods of time before needing recovery weeks.

Yes, as we get older, generally we need more recovery. It’s what I was implying regarding my slower ramp rate vs more elite and younger athletes earlier.

Regarding the 2:1 and 3:1 comments, these are more for traditional plans that have higher volume than LV and MV plans in TR. TR plans have a 5:1 ratio in Base (although I haven’t analyzed all of them). They are designed as a “one size fits all” within each. Everyone, regardless of age or experience that chooses a specific plan, has the same workouts and recovery time frame. So its up to us to add a week of recovery if needed (other threads on this).
BTW: the X:Y notation is where X= # work weeks; Y= # recovery weeks, if that wasn’t clear

Great. There goes my next 5-7 years! #divorce :tired_face:

Wait…is there even a Masters WC?! :rainbow: :man_shrugging:

Stop taunting me with these boundless goals!!!

Yes, there are Masters Worlds :smile:

Right. But to clarify- where you said TSS/week it should be TSS/day/week

Edit - sorry I can’t quote for some reason

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Yes. Thanks for noticing and noting that. I’ve made the edit to the original post.

Even when pros reach a power limit, not only do they need to rebuild season after season, but there are always areas of improvement for them. For example, I spoke to Kate Courtney after her 2018 World MTB champion victory, and despite being able to hold a cadence of 160rpm for 10mins (yep, that’s the kind of drills her cycling coach makes her do), she told me that her #1 area for improvement for the 2019 season is cadence (for more efficient spinning up hills).