Stacking TSS before recovery week

Wondering if this is advisable or not:

I am on a LVSS training plan, Base 1. Is it a bad idea to increase TSS the week before the recovery week to try to get some additional adaptations during recovery?

The idea is to be more like a mid or high volume for a week and supplement with additional Z2 or easy group ride (possibly a harder tempo group ride). This would take me from around 270 TSS to 370 TSS and then recover the next week. Is that a recipe for overtraining/injury or something that might work? Is it something ok once or twice but a recipe for burnout? Am I overthinking and should I just go with what TR is telling me and relax or strength train on my “off” days? :smile:

Since you didn’t use the terms “SweetSpot” or “vo2 max intervals” in your question, I’d say……yes.

Queue all the commentary about CTL blah blah. You used the term TSS so unfortunately that’s going to drop a little blood into the shark pool. Good luck.

Here’s the deal, there are no absolutes with this stuff, but adding additional Z2 and a little tempo is as close to an absolute as we have.

Do it if you have time.

I would think that would be quite manageable - 370 TSS still is not masses (seems roughly equivalent to the TR SSB MV plans if you don’t modify them). And doing it by adding Z2 is sensible. I guess that is around 3 hours of Zone 2 - I honestly can’t see a problem with that.

In fact I would say that adding in a couple of Z2 rides on top of your LV TR plan has only really got upsides at any time. Probably depends a little bit on your training history as to whether you should build up the volume more gradually, i.e., is the current 3 per week / 3.5 hr / 270 TSS a lot for you historically or have you done more in the past, but as a one-off before a recovery week I don’t see how you would have any problem.

FWIW I always do LV plans but ride 6 days a week and top up. Random example week below from SSBLV:


That Sunday ride is a bit on the hard side for topping up with only Z2 (there’s 70 minutes Z3 or above according to time in zones…) but it was fine for me. Pretty good example of a typical week.

2 Likes

Not sure why there would be controversy around TSS. Its a perfectly acceptable method to track and plan training. What you would want to looked at is your TSB from the planned addition and see how far below -20 it would bring you and for how many days in a row before your break. A couple days in the -20 to -30 range is okay. Much more than that and you are walking a fine line

If you know not to mix <FTP rides with >FTP rides into the same metric. It is just load, not stress. If you combine those two, or try to “inflate TSS” with high intensity, the metric loses its meaning.

Since the OP asked about adding Zone2 (so <FTP), perfect use case for using TSS to track additional load. I’m sure you remember the not too distant past on the forums where ppl would try to drive up TSS by adding VO2max or Threshold, etc. TR even (inadvertently?) encouraged such thinking (although they have since stepped away from that sort of direction).

(sidenote: intervals.icu CIL or WKO TIS can mitigate…still, need to know it’s an issue first before looking for a metric “to mitigate it”)

1 Like

Sounds OK to me, providing:
1- you do the interval sessions earlier in the week;
2- your recovery week is a proper recovery week; and
3- the additional work isn’t so far out of you comfort zone that you need more than 1 week to recover.

I see no harm in trying.

If at the end of a block you are feeling like you can up the TSS, you are probably not on the verge of over training. For me, at the end of a particularly hard block I am more than ready for a rest week and don’t have much more to give. The few times I felt I had more to give on the last week I usually try to increase the percentage of the intervals.

Even if I am tired, I do a similar thing on a much smaller scale: I (almost) always make my last workout of the block harder than recommended. Why? There is no risk of a more difficult ride affecting subsequent rides.

So if you feel you have more to give and you take a proper rest week, go for it.

1 Like

Sure but for a week I think tss despite its flaws is adequate. You could probably do just about anything overboard for a week and be ok. It’s more the long term constant addition of tss that I would want to track separately. Another good tracking system is xerts xss and separate low/high/peak stress/fitness

1 Like

1- You can’t “cheat” endurance. In my opinion, it shouldn’t be treated as an on off switch. Volume and intensity should increase gradually, not suddenly. How gradual will depend on you personally.
2- “I have recovery next week so I’ll ride my a** off before that to get as much fitness as I can” might not work because the more you ride, the more recovery you’ll need from it. But again, that depends on you personally. From same amount of training load / block, some people might recover in 4 days. Some in 10. The week recovery is probably a good median point on the bell curve.
3- Last thing you want to do is be overloaded so much that you can’t recover properly from it in a week. These things show themselves in weird ways. You’ll feel fine the first training week after the recovery week but fall apart the second. Or you might not, but good recovery is always the safest bet.

These are my findings. YMMV.

Thanks everyone - I had forgotten about TSB in particular to track some of this stuff. I don’t think my body could handle adding TSS via VO2 or Threshold workouts but would love to watch some more sci-fi movies on the trainer :slight_smile: Good points about more stress == more recovery. Sounds like a case of more can be good but even more is not necessarily better.

My last training block has gone really well and am consistently pushing more watts then I ever have. So maybe some Z2 like @bobmcstuff but not as much as I “feel capable of” right now with an eye of keeping the next block as good as the first.

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and insights.

IMO it’s a question of degree, and more importantly how that extra load compares to what your body’s actually used to. 200 TSS means something very different to a rider who regularly logs 300 vs. one doing two or three times that.
I do think that adding extra endurance is the smartest way to go about it- a well-designed plan should already be progressing your intensity sessions such that you’re already pushing the limits of your fitness, where volume will continue to pay dividends and give you a bit more wiggle room in terms of recovery and being able to adjust sessions up/down while still being productive.

In any case it’s one of those things you can only figure out through experience, so i’d just treat it as an experiment- pay attention to how you feel, be prepared to keep it flexible. and don’t get too caught up in chasing numbers. Probably a good time to pay extra attention to sleep and nutrition as well :slight_smile:

1 Like