Should I go Base: Low Volume or Mid Volume?


I’m new to TR and I do have some question regarding which plan to choose, I’ve tried structured training before (on other platforms) and this is one of my common issues when it comes to structured based training and that’s the option given doesn’t seem to fit my schedule?

So TR Base gives:
Low Volume: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday (3 days of riding a week)
Mid Volume: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday (5 days of riding a week)

Problem is, my usual weekly riding schedule or I’m allowed to are:
Monday, Tuesday, (Wednesday on alternate weeks), Thursday, Saturday (long ride; 2-3 hours or more)

On weekdays, ideally would be 1 hour and max is 1.30 hours.

I feel if I choose Mid Volume, it’ll be too much whereas Low Volume will be too little. So which should I pick or should I adjust the plan by adding/removing workout sessions?

Also, in the event of missing a session due to life, do you just pass it or replace it on another day?


Do low volume then add rides if you need more. Yes, just adjust the plan to for your schedule, it’s easy to do with the calendar.

If you can bump your schedule a day and make up the workouts do that. If you’re too busy just skip that workout and adjust the week to fit.


I have recently switch from Low to an ‘adapted’ mid volume plan. I know that most weeks I can probably get 4 rides in but certainly not 5. So I added the Mid volume plan to my calendar and then I deleted one of the additional rides compared to the low volume plan. Initially I kept the sweet spot ride however I recently decided to give 80/20 training a try so now I keep the the endurance ride and dropped the additional sweetspot ride. The calendar allows you easily drag and drop the training to the days that you want. I often have to rearrange training around the time I have in the week as my work travel schedule is very changeable


If you do ride outdoors too, go for the lower volume and add your outdoor rides (no real need to plan them in), just do your TR rides and otherwise grap your bike and ride. If you let TR link to strava/garmin, it’ll automatically sync the rides.

If you know you won’t do any rides unless planned or only ride indoors (in winter, maybe?) go for the higher volume and delete a ride. Depending on your training history, as a beginner its probably safer to keep the endurance ride (Petitit and similar) and delete one of the other rides.

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Do the Low Volume plan and add endurance or outdoor rides when you can.


Wow, the community here is awesome! :clap: :+1:t2:


Sorry, may I know what’s a 80/20 training?

Usually I’ll do my outdoor rides on Saturday but I live in a generally hilly area, so how should I do base training on such terrains? During climbs, I find it difficult to avoid raising my heart rate.

I don’t have a PM yet, all I have is a cadence and HRM.

Also, by lower volume means less intensity but same duration or same distance? Generally I ride 80km on Saturday

And since we’re on the topic, I’ve read that it’s important to stick to the plan and during phases like base, to not exert yourself. But since I’ll only have one outdoor and long ride for the week, do I have to stick to this “advice” as well? Especially since it’ll be a rest day on Sunday.


Keep your normal Saturday ride. I think you’ll adjust automatically anyway - during base, you’ll feel yourself go more steady, and when your top-end fitness increases, you’ll feel more like attacking each climb. In my opinion, it’s good to have a normal outdoors ride in addition to the indoor trainer rides, because you work on a lot of other things like bike control, dealing with rough roads etc, that you can’t do indoors.

The lower volume plans in TR have relatively more intensity - more of the training time is spend with ‘intense’ work. In the mid volume plan, each session gets a little longer, but if you look at the workout graphs, most of that is in form of an ‘endurance’ block at the end of the workout. The two extra days (compared to the low volume plan) have one day just endurance, and one day of more intensity (a sweetspot workout usually).

So if you think of your Saturday ride as an endurance ride (with some intensity sprinkles in when you are climbing), you’ll pretty much get the same amount of training with the low volume plan + Saturday ride, as with the mid volume plan and no additional rides.

Oh, and you can totally swap the days around - there is a ‘Saturday’ ride in the plan, but you can easily move that to Sunday or whenever you have time. When you select the plan on TR to add to your calendar, it’ll ask you on which days you want to do the workouts. And later you can just drop-and-drag them on the calendar.

To me ‘stick to the plan’ just means not to skip workouts, but also not to keep adding more because you’re impatient. Training takes time, at least 6 weeks until you see an effect. During the first two weeks, it generally feels easy, motivation is high, and its easy to just do too much extra and then you can’t complete the next week because you’re too tired. So ‘stick to the plan’, but that plan can easily include your normal Saturday ride.

Yeh, it’s great.

I think the consistent feedback to your question is that it is easy to scale up the volume, and that’s whether it is using the +1, +2, etc. option, finding an alternative workout in the workout library that is similar, or, via using WorkoutCreator to make your own modifications.

I think the biggest thing that people underestimate when selecting a plan is the additional volume/impact from doing [IMO] extremely important long endurance rides in addition to the plan itself.

FWIW: When I joined TR a year ago, my training volume was (and still is) greater than the HV plan. However, I chose the MV plan and scaled most of the workouts in addition to long endurance rides I do. It remains a better choice than HV for me.

Hi @wheelhot,

It’s an approach where 80% of your training time should be low intensity and 20% should at high intensity. It avoids the middle tempo zone. It uses a 7 zone model.

Here are some details:

I read Matt Fitzgerald 80/20 Triathlon plan book and this prompted my change.

There seems to be a view that you need to be training for more than 6 hours per week for 80/20 to start to be effective for cycling. It’s much lower for running.

Fuh, thanks for this info a lot! I kept getting advice online about during base not to ride fast (only keeping Z1 and Z2) cause it’ll ruin the base training period and as I’m living at hilly areas, that’s not really possible and thought I’ll need to spend 6 weeks only indoors when it’s not even winter.

I guess I could ride at Z1-Z2 on flats, taking it easy and only go for Z3 or maybe Z4 when going up the hills? (I don’t have PM, so the zones here is based on heart rate)


I guess the general reasoning of not pushing yourself on the weekend as most people ended up pushing too hard and then not recovered for the next focused training session?

Interesting, so if I were to go for the Low Volume plan, and let say I can’t ride outdoors on that weekend, I can still choose a TrainerRoad endurance-based workout, am I correct?

:sweat_smile: I’m actually guilty on this, on my previous structured training program, it felt easy the couple of days that I decided to up the workout sessions, only to have fatigue creep in the following weeks and having to reduce the workouts.

Regarding long endurance rides, long as in the distance or time? As for example, you can ride 80km for 2.30 hours vs 80km for 3.15 hours vs 50km for 2.30 hours?

If this includes my weekend outdoor rides, I should be able to hit 6-7 hours a week.

And thanks for the link! I’ll take a look at it!

Oh and why is riding at Tempo bad? or it’s bad only for training purposes? As I watch cycling races, and I see when Sky/Ineos grinding up the hill, aren’t they riding at tempo? Causing punchy riders not being able to do a punchy attack that makes a difference?

The key word here is ‘racing’. Whilst in the majority of your training phases, you’re training to race, not racing to train. Racing can be used to replace a scheduled workout but you don’t want to be forcing that level of stress onto your body for prolonged periods.

Z2 on a trainer will teach you to turn those pedals consistently. No micro breaks, no downhills, no drafting. You’ll be amazed just how much difference these sessions can make. Your bodies fat burning abilities will adapt, your mental ability to keep pushing will increase and your ability to deal with gradually increasing fatigue will also develop. Z2 is a really important zone to train and over time, you’ll reap so any benefits.

Sprinkle in the Z4 and Z5 efforts which take a higher toll and for most riders require more recovery and Z3 almost becomes redundant. It’s a zone that for me exacts a training stress from which I see very little.

For someone just starting out in endurance training, one of the purposes of the “long” endurance ride is to train your body to burn fat for fuel (huge stores) instead of solely relying on glycogen (limited ability to store). To do so you need to stay in the Z1/Z2 range (roughly below 75% FTP or below 90% FTHR). So the answer to your question is determined by the speed at which you can stay down in the these zones. In traditional training programs, this is known as long slow distance (LSD).

Once you get beyond this phase (i.e. the above ride is a piece of cake), and presuming you have the time available, you could make the first part (e.g. 90mins) in Z1/Z2 and then turn on the gas for the remainder of the ride (Z3+). Just as a reference point, for me, as I train 12-15hrs/week (in the summer) and 10-12 in the winter (mostly indoors), a fat burning ride is a separate ride (typically about 2-4 hours) and my “endurance” rides are typically in Z3+ space (excluding warmup and cooldown) averaging 4-6 hours (50-80mi w/5k-8kft) . . . but that’s getting way ahead of the picture for someone starting out and on a more limited time available schedule.

btw: Given your questions in this post, I would suggest reading: Joe Friel’s “The Cyclist’s Training Bible”.

Don’t rule out the effectiveness of low volume plans.

Historically I’d always followed the mid volume plans, but decided to dial back the ‘5 a week’ schedule temporarily. I’d hoped/expected to maintain fitness rather than Improve.

It turned out that the gains from a low volume build plan were as good as anything I’ve seen from mid volume plans previously. Of course, we all adapt differently, so it’s a personal thing.

I’m now a bit unsure what to do next winter. I was planning on ramping back up to mid (or even high) volume, but the results from low volume have been so good that I’m questioning why I’d bother…

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choose Medium Volume and just manually reduce the non ‘work’ portion; or take out one or two intervals across the board.

if it’s the hardest session that you miss, make that one up. if it’s an easier cruise, move forward.

good luck!


You’re looking more at 50-60% ftp. Yup is sounds easy.

Your numbers are a good middle target. Technically* the two zones are:
Z1 (Active Recovery): <55%
Z2 (Endurance): 56-75%

*From Allen/Coggan/McGregor Training + Racing with a Power Meter; also referenced in Joe Friel’s book I mention above.

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