Skipping Base Phase and going straight to Build

Hey Team,

I have been a long time subcriber to TR but never really followed any plans as I always prefered to ride outside. I have rationalised my subricption by listening to the podcast religiously.

I normally sit between 3.8 and 4.0 watts per kg but I am fairly light at 68kgs. I seem to have hit a ceiling and never really get beyond the 4.0 watts per kg. I need a higher FTP as a lot of the racing I do is with bigger riders on mostly flat courses. I just need to get to the end of the races fresher as I have a 1300+ watt sprint which is substainal for a smaller guy.

Would I be ok to skip the base phase and go directly into build considering I am sitting at 3.8 - 4 watts per kg. I really want to start building on what I really have as a foundation but I dont want to sell myself short.

General answer will tend to be no, don’t skip base if you’ve never really followed a plan before.

I think too a proper base phase would address your issue of helping you reach the end of a race fresher.

However, depending on what you generally do for your training the answer could change. What types of workouts do you regularly do?

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With 2 kids I am pretty time crunched so I very rarely actually do any “coffee” rides. Its either drop rides or XC smashfest’s. I am doing about 5-6 hours a week currently.

My issue is I am too fast B grade races as the last one I did I won easily but A grade is real struggle. Now I know it should be a struggle but it gets to a point where its just not enjoyable because you don’t really have enough functional power to do anything tactically. Pulling your turns and just sitting in hoping for a bunch sprint is not as fun as it sounds.

I understand the temptation here. “Base is just easy spinning and I want to get fast. I’ll be wasting my time for the next 3 months and I won’t improve. If I just skip this useless Base phase, I can get right down to the important training and get my gains.”.

Sweet Spot Base isn’t easy and it’s not wasted effort. Trust me on this. You will be surprised at how worked you get. SSBII especially has tough VO2Max workouts that push your limits. If the plans are followed consistently, most people will see FTP gains during Base, but all will establish an important aerobic foundation that future training blocks will depend on.

Take a look at my FTP gains from the past 18 months. I’ve repeated SSB several times and continued to see improvements come. Without this foundation established I don’t think I would have been able to survive the Build and Speciality phases that came later. SSB is just necessary conditioning.

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Thank you for such a great reply. Would be great to have a FTP of more than 300+ watts.

With a diet of drop rides and smashfests I’d guess you’re already doing a lot of top end work and have maximised what you’re capable of on your current aerobic base, which is why you keep plateauing. In which case SSB is going to be much more beneficial for you as you can build a bigger base as a foundation for bigger gains in future.

If you’d been doing lots of steady group or solo rides with long climbs, or racing triathlons with long sessions at sub-threshold intensity, then it might be worth considering skipping base and going straight to build.

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Absolutely recommended, I was considering the same when I first began TR. Base is defiantly worth its value, and while everyone may have varying results, consistency etc etc. Most commonly the biggest gains are made in base :ok_hand:

base is key to building the highest building (your fitness). I guess it depends on what you’ve been doing previously.If you want to link up on training peaks, I’d be happy to take a look at your data and help you out.

Sounds like you need some longer sweet spot work and/or vo2max work to push the ftp ceiling up. You’re on a great road to success which is awesome!

Brendan

Thank you for your assistance everybody. I have done a week of the build phase.

I might see out this week and then look at changing the plan to the base phase.

There’s a lot of very good experience that’ll tell you that that approach is not the best one. Don’t think of Sweetspot base as lots of hours of “wasted” easy cruising. It’s certainly not. Give it a go. If your FTP is set accurately at the start then i challenge you to complete say 3x10 mins at 90% FTP and not think “Phew, that felt like it was doing me some actual good!”

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Exactly, I won my first 2 races this year in Sweet Spot Base 2!