Short intense period before starting base? Chad's short FTP boost plan

Some time ago, @chad was experimenting with a few weeks of intense workouts to get a boost on his FTP before going into the base/build/specialty bit. While he mentioned it worked for him, I have not seen anything on the plan option.

I am thinking of doing such a thing – 3-6 weeks of perhaps high intensity to get my FTP boosted. THEN go into base/build/specialty. Doing so now will let me do a run-focused period later this winter. I can do SS work and run hard – but I cannot do high intensity in both areas. Swim can be done during both. (Yes, I am dirt tri geek).

What are your thoughts?



I think you should try it and advise us on how it goes =D

I don’t see how it can hurt


I am putting something together to do this. Would be nice to know what other’s have learned so I don’t repeat others’ hard-learned mistakes.

Not sure if it will work but essentially that’s what I am doing. Hill climbing season finished on October 28th, so from 1st September I’d done 8 weeks worth of hard efforts and hill climb races (from 90s to around 4 minutes) and then began my plan. SSB Mid vol 1 is what I’m doing, pretty comfortable so far.

There isn’t a plan for this, but it’s a pretty easy thing to slap together if you comb the workout catalog’s VO2max offerings. Personally, I like starting short (30-second repeats) and growing the durations over a block as short as a single week to as long as 3 weeks depending on when my progress and/or motivation starts to stall.

It never fails to surprise me how much more manageable 3-minute VO2max repeats are if I start short and work my way up to these longer jobbers, even if I do it over the course of 5 workouts in a single week. Kinda amazing, certainly motivating, both in terms of the quick progress but also the psychological lift I get prior to embarking on another training season.

An example would be something like this: Gendarme or Taylor -2, Stanislaus -4, Freel +1, Bashful, Baird +2, Mills or Gawler, Dade +1, then finally something awful like Spencer.

It’s also worth mentioning that “peak & fade” intervals like those in Mills or Agassiz are another route to take when the sustained efforts really beat you up. They ramp up your resources really quickly and then drop watts without dropping the O2 demand or hampering the training stimulus. And of course there’s something about knowing that the watts are falling that’s pretty encouraging when I’m all but ready to quit.



Thank you! Your suggestions has helped a ton. I am putting together a plan and hope to post it here. Not sure which is worse – knowing the pain I am about inflict on myself – or knowing that much of that pain will be before 5am.

3 min VO2 max seems impossible right now. But gives me something to definitely shoot for!

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Currently almost through SSB 2 and really struggling with every VO2 workout. Threshold and most of the O/U tend to be just fine, but I nearly always fall apart and drop intensity and backpedal through 3 minute repeats.
To focus on VO2 before I move into build, would something like this (say 2-3 weeks) of ONLY VO2 (plus a short taper) fit in between base and build to improve VO2 sustainability?


I only have personal/anecdotal n=1 experience but yes, doing 3 weeks of 3-4 VO2 workouts/week will definitely improve not only your VO2max capabilities but a lot of other areas too! You don’t have to do ONLY VO2, Endurance/Z2 rides would be a good partner.

If you struggle with the 3min intervals you’ll obviously have to start with the shorter stuff and move up from there.
Search the TR workout library for ideas.

I’m just the opposite because I’ve overtrained my anaerobic (VO2) system and under/non-trained my aerobic (TRH) system. The reverse may be true for you.

Good luck and have fun!


Is there any way to save such a user defined week as mini training plan, so I can easily recycle the set of workouts I decided on? I would use this after a short time off, such as travel, family holidays to get back in and don’t want to build the set from scratch.


Slot the workouts into your calendar, then if you want to do it again just copy & paste.

I’ve been thinking of doing something similar and stumbled across Charing on Friday when I was running sort on time. I know a month or two ago @chad was talking about trying some SIT plans, would these work for this aim and are there any draft plans we could try?

I’m particularly interested as I have less time than normal at the moment so there is a real appeal to being on and off the trainer within 40min…

Almost without a doubt, @zwillis1. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t really embark on a training plan without a couple-three weeks of VO2max in my legs. Even a 1-week block of just VO2max can do wonders and in most cases doesn’t require extra recovery time.

If you train more than 3 times a week though, I recommend keeping those extra days breathe-through-your-nose easy, <60% FTP, no limit on duration, just be sensible and pay attention to your fatigue and motivation.


Sorry, @WTriathlete, no drafts that I can plunk out there. I wish it were that easy. :wink:

But those super-short workouts that rely on the sprint-intensity work are one of the best ways to stay sharp during life’s busy, busy times. Just search on the keywords “all-out sprints” to see your options.

Word of caution though, I strongly recommend starting with Birling and working your way up. If you truly go all-out, just 4 of these is a tall order in the beginning and can come with a surprisingly high level of fatigue.


Meanwhile, over at another thread:

It’s a 1 week VO2max/all-out protocol, it will however require at least 1 week of recovery.

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Thanks! Slotted in a week of post-holiday VO2 bliss before starting build. Loving the calendar feature for just something like these changes.

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Very different than what I’m describing. Take a look at the workouts in my list and you’ll see that none of them are all-out efforts. And this study is exactly what I was talking about when I recommended starting the sprint-intensity training with workouts of only 4 sprints/workout. That latter is hugely draining work and should be done 2x, maybe 3x/week in this context.


thanks for clarifying, that was my assumption and good to see you confirm.

Agreed. Was providing it more to show that yes, even a single week of HIIT can provide improvements.

(That testing protocol is pretty much a stand-alone experiment.)

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Thanks @chad.

I’m going to see how the next could of days go at work but I have a feeling SIT will be getting me through the next two weeks until the holidays - and yes, I’m going to head back and start with the four interval workouts!


How did it go?