SSB II is killing me

Finished SSB part one. The workouts seemed reasonably turned to my ability. Took ramp test at start of phase 2 and got 6 watts higher. Seemed like a small enough but reasonable gain based on how I felt when I stopped.

So I start phase 2 and I can’t get through a whole workout without turning the intensity down to 95% half way through. Some of that might be mental or maybe environment based (like maybe I need more cooling fan power idk) but I’m running my HR up to 185 regularly and my max is 190 (I’m 42yo). I can do a workout if my hr stays below 180 but above that ima gonna burn up.

So… I’m thinking I just adjust my ftp down a bit and continue the program. But I thought I’d just post this out here to see if somebody thinks something I described doesn’t sound right. It sort of seems weird to me. i.e., what’s the point of getting a better ftp result if I can’t do the increased intensity intervals.

FWIW, I will be expanding my fan power in the near future.

1 Like

Try the fan. You might’ve hit a ceiling with what you can achieve without proper fueling / nutrition too so that’s worth messing with too.

But from memory SSB2 is where you really start getting into V02 max more - which, if you’re not great at it, can be absolutely brutal. It’s usually the Tuesday workouts. I find I can grind through sweet spot stuff fine but often struggle big time with the 105-130% intensity intervals stuff. It might just be a weakness you need to work on.

There are some great threads on this forum for specifically working on v02 max if you think you need it.

1 Like

Eat and sleep better if you can find improvements to make in those! I really believe those are the first areas to look at when there’s an unexpected drop in performance.

Side note my max HR is 185 and I’m 36 :joy:

Eat more carbs!!! :grin:

1 Like

All of the above is solid advice. Maybe you also need some extra recovery, I’ve found the 5+1 cycle brutal. There’s a recommendation somewhere on how to tweak SSB to a 3+1 cycle which might just be enough to get you through

4 Likes

I’m finishing SSB2MV today and it’s significantly harder than SSB1MV and will soon highlight any shortcomings in your nutrition and recovery.

I’m 52 so my latitude in seeking the maximum adaptations is minimal so in simple terms I get an extra hours sleep per night, even on rest days, and I’ve upped the quality of nutrition I’m consuming the the majority of my evening meal being steamed veg.

In addition your mental resilience will increase as successfully completing a workout is more mental than physical. When I’ve struggled I’ve always reverted to the thought that each workout is designed to be doable within the context of the plan

1 Like

How far in are you?

Low or Mid Volume?

1 Like

I find that the Ramp Test over inflates my FTP (when comparing to a full on 60 min test), so maybe it does for you too.
I’m very torn saying this because I believe we all accept now that FTP does not equate to CP60, indeed some will say it never did equal that, but as a rough guide it’s all there is.
Personally I’d much rather dial down my Trainerroad FTP a few % and complete the sessions that batter my body session after session and not complete them.

9 Likes

Give people a little more background to your training history. Is this your first crack at TR plans?
SSB2 has knocked me on my backside before.

That is the recommendation since I started. Reduce and complete, rather than bail.
Sometimes it’s too late.
FTP is not the golden number. Adjust as needed.

It typically goes down. :disappointed_relieved:

4 Likes

I am in a similar situation. This is my third season using TrainerRoad and I have noticed a need scale back workouts that rise much above threshold by a 3-5%. This has been consistent as my FTP changed over those seasons. I think my anaerobic capabilities on the shorter TR tests (I have used the 8 min and Ramp) has biased the FTP value upward.

Last year, I was able to do SBII with a pretty fair degree of compliance, but I was wrecked by the end. This makes me think the SS work was crossing over in Threshold. What I am trying to decide on is how to scale the percentage reduction across the zones. I might need 5% off VO2, but maybe not on SS.

3 Likes

You could put yourself through a true “hour of power” , see what your AP is and scale Trainerroad FTP accordingly.

That would certainly bring down my numbers across the board. Prior to getting a KICKR and starting TR, I used a 20 min test outdoors and let Golden Cheetah model it with values supplied by races/drop rides. At that time, I did not have a problem with VO2 intervals at 120% of Critical Power. (I think GC uses Skiba’s metrics).

I may not do a 60 min test, but I may try better populating GC’s model with 1ish, 3-5ish and 20-30ish min tests. Within the SSB plan, you never do time to exhaustion in those ranges, so presently GC is severely lowballing my critical power.

1 Like

Good idea, that’s the thing with the GC model it relies on 3 properly maximal intervals from 3 to 16 minutes (approx) for it to be accurate. Following a sweet spot base plan 1 never gets you over CP.

A Zwift race here I come, then. Let the cheaters spur me on!

1 Like

So much good info in here, thanks everyone.

More background.
It’s my first go at TR but I’m not bran new to training. It’s my 2nd year with an indoor trainer. I did ftp tests and a couple workout programs with zwift last season.

I’m doing the low volume plan. During SSB1LV I added a few outdoor rides during the week because the weather permitted. It’s too cold and wet now so I’m just trying to do the 3 scheduled indoor sessions each week.

Takeaways so far:
-maybe I need to eat better
-maybe I need to rest better
-maybe ftp from ramp test is inflated

Suppose I eat, sleep, rest better and that gets me through without adjusting ftp… how does the builder and specialty phases stack up? Am I in for constant suffering lol?? :joy:

If you are new to trainerroad I think you need to go through these growing pains for a bit. Base 2 and build will introduce you to workouts that are beyond your current base capabilities but you will continue to develop that base regardless of what your ftp does which will make these easier.

5 Likes

I’m in my second base program with TR, first one was early in 2019. I had done lots of trainer work before, lots of structured training in running, but no real structured program on the trainer. Three remarks from that experience which may apply to your case:

  1. There’s a learning curve in handling sweet-spot and threshold workouts. It took me some time to develop the mental attitude (endurance?) to handle those long and painful intervals.

  2. The ramp test is one way of estimating FTP. Emphasis on “one” and “estimating”. As with any other such test, it works for most people, but not for all. Some find it’s really good for them, some find it over-estimates their FTP, some find it under-estimates it. I’m in the second group. But what’s certain is that long threshold intervals are a pretty good indicator of the precision of your FTP estimate, regardless of how you got to that number. Don’t hesitate to change the FTP number outside of testing.

  3. SSB2 brings in VO2Max workouts. The level of these intervals is based on a VO2Max = 120% of FTP estimation. As Coach Chad indicates repeatedly, you may find this 120% to be ok, too low, or too high for your case. Don’t hesitate to change the intensity until you find the level that allows you to finish the intervals, but just barely so.

2 Likes

I have found myself in a very similar situation. After doing a lot of reading on this forum and checking out other training resources, I came to the conclusion that I just did not have an adequately developed aerobic system. Until this year I only rode MTB on singletrack - started in 2017 at the age of 49.

While I don’t have a large power level at all, what I did have was more tuned to more vo2 type efforts and thus tested “relatively” high on the ramp tests. This fall I started my own version of a polarized endurance type training plan. Large improvement in comfort on the bike, especially with longer rides. Lower heart rate, meaningful weight loss, and just a much more improved general well being.

All this being said, I would think a lot of us newer to this sport just don’t have the aerobic capacity that is truly needed to complete the workouts in the second phase of SSB and beyond at an exertion feeling level intended for and experienced by better trained folks. It’s my opinion so you know what that’s worth, but in my experience, I would recommend a longer term focus on building up your aerobic capacity. Sprinkle in some intensity along the way, but put more focus on the base. That’s what I am going to do which is relatively easy as I don’t have huge plans to race, and even though I do plan on doing some MTB racing this year, improved aerobic capacity is more important and will give much more satisfaction from riding than race results …

6 Likes

Try this. I’m in the same boat. Ramp test overestimates my FTP, and as a result, the TR workouts are all a little too hard. SS becomes threshold, and Threshold pushes me to VO2max. 1-2 min VO2 max intervals are doable, but the 3 min intervals are brutal.

Also check out this post about the approach recommended by Steve Neal - basically advocates for putting a cap on workout intensity based on HR. I think there’s merit to this for older athletes.