Seasoned Cyclist, New to TR, Where to Start?

I’m new to TR and trying to figure out where to start - SSBI, SSBII or straight to Build. Also vacillating between med and high volume.

I just finished the 10-12 week FTP Builder on Zwift, albeit with close to a 3 week break in the middle due to a family emergency. This plan was largely Z1/2/3 and seems to mimic SSBI fairly closely.

I’m 46y/o and have been cycling regularly for about 9 years. For the last 5, I’ve avg’d 350+hrs/yr, except '18 where I travelled most of the year resulting in multi-month lapses and only about 250hrs for the year… so I’m still trying to regain the fitness I had at the beginning of 2018.

No target events to speak of, just want to improve. It is summertime here in San Diego, so a lot of my riding will be done outside and if there was a time of year that I’d like to be peaking, this would be it.

I also shoot for ~10hrs/week, which usually ends up 4-5hrs M-F and 5-7hrs Sat & Sun but as a dad and biz owner, this schedule varies.

I’m inclined to start with SSBII mid-volume mostly for M-F and continue to do my longer rides on the weekend but figured I check-in here before committing to a block.


That sounds like a good place to start. Then move on to the Build of your choice. For people without an A-Race, you can simple reset back to the SSB1 & SSB2, with a different Build for fun and variety. There is not much need to do a Specialty, but you can always do one for something different.

I would include a short break from structure after your first Build. Like the 1 or 2 week reset that is recommended after people complete the Specialty and A-Race.

Here are some threads with similar questions:


there is a lot of intensity in the build plans, I’d suggest using low-volume for 3 days of structure, maybe backfill with 2 mid-week low-intensity, and then definitely go out and enjoy long rides on the weekend. And if SSB mid or high starts feeling like too much intensity, same advice with low-volume.

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The guys have repeatedly suggested the med-volume plan. I agree, esp at the level you are coming in at. Does not sound like you have a huge trainer specific background.

How much training experience do you have? Not just riding, but structured training.

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Pete on a recent podcast (a month ago?) really hammered on nailing the low-volume plan, versus partial compliance to medium volume.

I had no problem coming in as new TR user and doing high-volume sweet spot 1, then started riding outside and later struggled with the amount of intensity in build. That is partly because I’m more of a diesel, and vo2max work is harder for me than doing (really) long sweet spot work. And given that experience I clearly remember Pete saying something like “nailing the low-volume plan is the only thing I want you to remember from this podcast” on that recent episode.


Bam: Rate of FTP increase

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thanks, from your post here is the link to that very discussion in episode 206:

where the Pete/Chad/Jonathan consensus seems to be low-volume plan with added outdoor rides.


Pete on a recent podcast (a month ago?) really hammered on nailing the low-volume plan, versus partial compliance to medium volume.

Yup. Totally this! I was the one who submitted that question because I wanted to have room for some riding freedom with local clubs since it is one of the things I value most with cycling.

They said adding in those endurance and social club rides while nailing three structured rides on TR each week would be more effective than struggling to fit in all 5 workouts in the medium plan and skipping certain ones here and there.

Basically, choose the plan that gives you space. It is easier to add than to take away, and consistency is king.


That’s right, just got my smart trainer about 6 months ago. I’ve followed a few CTS plans on Strava and usually go out with a goal for a ride, so not a total newb but also not a seasoned pro. After starting Zwift, I quickly learned that all I used it for was the structured workouts.

Just listened to the podcast and I’ve decided to drop to the low-volume SSB2 so I can shuffle those indoor sessions around my varying outdoor rides. Before listening to their advice, I was going to do the med-volume and just use an outdoor workout for the days I ride outside. Now I’m just going to focus on nailing the 3 days indoors and have more freedom on the other days while trying to keep TSS trending in the right direction.


Another question.

Any recommendations for filler TR sessions during low-volume SSB2?

I like to ride 6 or 7 days a week, so if I’m not riding outdoors and want to add a TR workout during the low-volume plan what should I be looking for? Endurance? Recovery?

I know; it depends.

This morning, I did Pettit because I see it used as a mid-week ride in the mid-volume plan but started wondering if there’s any other specific workouts I should consider slotting in, in addition to Low-Vol SSB2.