Step up in volume

This is probably going to be a pretty long post but I am interested to understand how other people have reacted when they have stepped up to a mid-volume plan.

To give my context, prior to this year I have trained with some structure for about two years however without following a TR programme – it was more of a self managed programme made up of zwift workouts, spin/indoor cycling sessions in addition to 22km return daily commute and semi-regular longer weekend ride 50-70km.

When lockdown hit I decided to finally commit to TR programme, especially without having to worry about garbage miles in commute. Coming into lockdown I was at 316 FTP at c.88kg as measured using Xert albeit with power measurements from 3 sources – home trainer, power pedals on road bike and stages spin bike.

Having now got into the speciality phase of MV rolling road race I am now sitting at a 310 FTP albeit at 83kg. This is really the nub of the question and what I am interested to hear others opinions on, while I have made a marginal gain on a W/kg basis, and I believe significant gains in other areas of fitness, muscular endurance etc there is no gain on overall FTP. I have put this down to my body just getting used to the increased training load, I have been completing the workouts at 100% and have seen good improvement when riding outside but the ramp test never shows much improvement!

I have no complaints about the FTP not increasing I am just interested to hear how others went in similar circumstances and how their performance/body reacted in subsequent plans.

My plan from here is to take 2-3 weeks over the holiday period when the plan ends as a bit of a break, do a few outside rides, zwift races and base/endurance rides before starting another MV structured plan in the new year to see how it goes second time round.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

1 Like

No particular advice to offer, as I’m just about to start what you’ve done. I’m moving from low volume to a slightly altered mid volume TT plan, now that COVID and working from home gives me more time. I’m doing 4 rides/week and 2 gym sessions (dropping the zone 2 ride you usually get in MV plan in favour of a gym session).

Am making a real effort to (a) get to bed earlier and (b) take on more calories in the 90+ minute workouts. My TTE has got much better in last 6 months of TR use, and I’m much quicker on the road - but it’s hard to tell if my FTP has risen that much as I started off far too high (in retrospect) because I estimated my FTP from sessions on a gym bike (before I got my turbo at home)… and was too stubborn to drop it when both ramp test and 20min test suggested it was way too high.

Did both classic 20 min test and the Kollie Moore baseline test recently and am happier that I’m about right - currently about 260W and 75kg. Plan to work through Base / Sustained Power Build / 40km TT specialty, then find a TT to do in the spring. Maybe even on the old Fuji TT bike that’s been in the back of the garage for the last several years…

2 Likes

Nice one, I also did both those points you raise on sleep and more kcals on the bike. Managed to get the new sleep habits in the regime pre-covid - was a game changer with morning workouts.

Other thing I had to fix mid summer was temperature but once i got one of those air movers it was all good.

Good luck on the TTs

I went from 6-8hrs per week at the start of the year up to around 12-14hrs, and now up to around 15-17hrs for the remainder of the year. Sleep is important, nutrition is even more important (carbs, carbs, carbs) and I have also found that I need a lot more 1 %'ers as well e.g. massage, wearing compression tights, hot baths etc. The body adapts amazingly well but it is all about self maintenance/preservation at knowing when to fully rest etc.

3 Likes

I created a transition period from Low to Mid Vol. I had been doing tweaked Low Vol plans for the previous two years and looking back over my training history, I wasn’t too far off the weekly TSS for a Mid Vol plan.

During lockdown, I decided to try adding one additional endurance workout to my schedule and I adjusted the weekly workouts so that they were stacked in order of decreasing intensity. I thought this would give me an idea of my bodies ability to deal with mounting fatigue.

After a month of doing this, I swapped over to Mid Vol and haven’t looked back. Not going to try and say that I haven’t noticed a difference in stress because I have. What I have really noticed is that I’m far more in-tune with my body. I have a greater sense of when I need to back off. I’m also looking further down the road. If I feel good during a workout, I’m not reaching for the + Intensity because I’m thinking about Fridays workout.

I think the biggest adjustments come in the form of recovery and nutrition. I have found that giving myself that extra hour in bed really does make a difference and fuelling the workouts is critical.

Personally, I’ve only seen benefits from stepping up to Mid Vol. I say give it a try. Just don’t be too stubborn to step back or dial things down if you start skipping workouts or fatigue builds too rapidly.

5 Likes

Easy one this.

Last November I stepped up to a medium volume plan after a year or so of low volume.

I was getting through it and even enjoying it… Until my body, namely my knee, gave up the ghost about 6 weeks into an 8 week plan.

I was off the bike for a full 4 weeks over the holidays and spent what I consider a small fortune on my first (and last) bike fit to try and remedy the issue. After that I was almost another month easing back into things before I began training properly again.

When all was said and done i pretty much lost about 3 months fitness to the breakdown.

Low volume + whatever I feel like for me from then on.

3 Likes

it went roughly the same way for me, albeit not as dramatic.
I had whacked in an extra endurance ride on top of LV, and I was doing a very hard ride every 3-4 weeks to “test myself”, usually before a recovery week.
It was all going well, until I couldn’t get on top of my knee issues.
It wasn’t a bike fit problem, it’s just that I do need the recovery, and day after day riding doesn’t give me that.
So I approached my increase in volume differently: I’m now trying to tack on an extra 30 mins of Z2 at the end of every workout. It gives me the increase in TSS i seek, but it doesn’t interfere with days off the bike.
The only downside is that I have to make the effort to get out of bed 30 mins earlier.

2 Likes

I realize that this might be an unpopular opinion here but I think people are way too worried about volume.

Obviously, this is just my personal experience but I basically hopped off the couch and on the bike and the first plan I did was mid-volume. After two or three plans I upgraded to high volume which I keep doing. Though slightly customized (more volume) as I also run a bunch.

My conclusion is, that the more I do, the more progress I see. As for everybody, recovery is a key factor. Though with a newborn at home, a challenging management job and a long commute, my baseline isn’t necessarily ideal.

Aye, that’s a shame fella.

One thing I’ve learned the hard way as I’ve gotten older is you can have all the best intentions, time, nutrition, rest, equipment and motivation in the world but your body can only give you so much before it starts breaking down.

1 Like

Worry too much about volume?

Please explain.

I was referring to the countless discussion here on the forum covering volume aspects such as “where to start” , “what is too much”, or “what is too little”.

Lol.

That’s incredibly rich coming from someone who has proudly stated you went from the couch straight to mid-volume, then high-volume + running.

News flash fella - other people ain’t you.

1 Like

and just a quick skim over the current thread should have conveyed this :roll_eyes:

Anyhoo, back on topic, I’d hope

Apparently my post offended you which is unfortunate but also unjustified. Certainly unintended.

The thread opener stated his situation and I tried to help. If you don’t agree with my statements that’s fine though that doesn’t null them.

For what it’s worth here is what the thread opener wrote:

Anyway, there is no pride in my post. It’s a simple fact. If I would have gone with the general recommendation I would have put in lesser hours and subsequently likely have seen lesser gains. Though I did not and I am happy about it. Perhaps this path is a way for OP to move forward as he seems to be plateauing.

1 Like

I think that’s what @cowboyjon referred to.
The rest of your post moves towards your personal experience.
But if people DO worry about volume, there’s often a good reason. Repetitive strain injuries, which we have both mentioned, being one.
It is a lucky/gifted person (like you) who can jump in and not worry about negative impact of increasing volume.
Hence, our reaction…

3 Likes

Everyone’s experience will be personal, but I’m willing to bet that you’ll get a more cautious view on stepping up volume from TR users aged about 40+ (which includes me) - particularly folks with no prior experience of training at a high volume.

So far I’m finding it’s going well, especially compared to my running days where I seemed to get injured about 3 weeks out from every half marathon I ever ran. With cycling I’m not so concerned about acute injury (knees etc ok so far) as the gradual fatigue from over-reaching. Interested to hear other experiences from the 40+ crowd.

3 Likes

I didn’t say it’s always unjustified. Though I guess sometimes you have to try and see how cold the water actually is. One might end up surprising themselves. Especially when they have some experience with structured training under their belt.

1 Like

Firstly, even one is different - special snowflakes as someone said in another thread!

Now that’s out of the way… my experience has been slightly different in both running and cycling.

When I get to the volume limit I do start to get pain usually IT band. Reducing volume doesn’t really help it. What I need to do is:

  • Foam rolling of my legs
  • Massage
  • Strength Exercises - body weight
  • Physio (if it doesn’t get better)
  • gym weights (although I don’t belong to a gym this year)

We do need to build up volume but it usually not the root cause for breaking down - that’s usually an imbalance or other stresses that need to get resolved. I’m firmly in the camp that we have few limits - e.g. most of us can get to 4 watts/kg we just need the discipline.

As for losing 3 months of fitness - I’d probably look at it as ‘I had an issue to address that would have stopped my long term progress’. Better to get right now than struggle for 10 years.

Hope this helps in some way.

3 Likes

The post made for good discussion, slightly controversial takes always do - that’s my strategy when I have to do panel discussions at conferences (when conferences were once a thing…)

That is fair play to step up to HV, I will stick with MV due mainly to other life commitments. Completing the workout and plan has not been too much of a problem, I have been decent on nutrition, rest etc less so on foam rolling and stretching etc but I just time out for those due to work and family stuff. My results just intrigue me a bit because I don’t see a step up in FTP, despite improvement in other ways. Will be equally intrigued to see how it tests after a few weeks off programme in December and then another MV plan first part of next year.

3 Likes

I think the one change I will make next time round is getting back in the gym for a bit of strength work. This had been more consistent for me pre-lockdown when I was self planning my programme, I just haven’t put it back in while on a TR plan. Will be interested to see how it impacts second time round.

1 Like