I have started using TrainerRoad this May and had my first race in the beginning of June. It is clear that I won’t be able to finish a whole cycle before the season is essentially over. AFAIK if I need to bridge a shorter gap, I can repeat Base and Build phases, but IMHO I think I need to work in a rest and recovery period. How should I structure my training calendar so that I peak in the summer of 2020?
Currently, I am on my last week of SSB1 MV, and will start SSB2 MV. The latter will end in the middle of September. I wonder how to go from there. Is it better to switch to SSB1 in the low volume variant to have a recovery period, and then pick up SSB1 mid volume in December again? Should I make my own plan with plenty of endurance rides (60-70 % FTP) at reduced frequency (2x during the week and 1x during the weekend)? Or do you recommend something else entirely?
Rest and recovery is whatever it takes to get you mentally and physically fresh and raring to go and ready for some hard training. For some people that’s time off the bike completely (maybe doing some other training) for some people it’s doing unstructured riding or MTBing. Can be a good time to do some strength training. Personally if I’d just finished 12 weeks of SSB and was going to start another 12 weeks of SSB in December, then subscribing to even a LV SSB plan in between is about the last thing I would do, I’d get bored silly!
If it was me I would hit the gym a couple of times a week, do one harder ride with some intensity every week or 2 to maintain some fitness (preferably a hard group ride), and any other riding would be unstructured endurance, preferably outside, preferably with friends, preferably offroad. That gets me fresh and ready for some structured training again, but I’m also a bit of an exercise addict who doesn’t like doing nothing for more than a day or 2. I also know some very fast people who just take 2-4 weeks completely off the bike every year, and seem to get fit again quickly enough.
If you start your base at the start of December, build at the start of March, and specialty at the start of May you would end up with an end of June peak - technically the very beginning of Summer. Assuming no cushion weeks built in - so if you add those in (say 2 total weeks for life to intervene and delay you) that’d be a mid-July peak.
Basically this leaves you with four months to play with between now and the beginning of December.
I’d recommend you take at least a month of fun time somewhere in there to recharge your batteries - preferably close to the start of the base block in December. Most people burn out mentally in the heart of winter - so having started relatively fresh (both physically and mentally) makes that a bit easier to bear. Plan a vacation, either on or off your bike for November - whatever works best for you
For the other three months? I’d try to learn something about my training and my capabilities - pick the training volume you plan to maintain over the winter but a different build plan and do 8 weeks of that - make sure you can sustain that volume of training without issue. Decide now if you want to modify the volume of the important plans this winter based on what you learn about yourself this summer. Can you add in an endurance ride on Friday? Do you need to do -1 variants some days to let yourself recover? How do you best adjust your schedule to fit in these duration of rides every week for 28 consecutive weeks?
Figure out your routine, nutrition, recovery and everything else now so that it is second nature this winter and you’re not stressing about doing too much or too little
Thanks for the advice so far, I appreciate it. Probably I’d want to add 4 weeks of padding: I travel quite a bit through work and thanks to my toddler, I have been getting sick more often. I was also thinking of adding some handling drills in the off season, just to keep things a little interesting.