Stuck on HV? What should be my next step?

Hi all,

I’ve been going back and forth what my training should look like in the next few months, maybe you’d like to share your opinion.

Click here for my TR career.

I feel like I made a lot of progress:

  • can actually hold FTP for 45min-60min now
  • can complete threshold and SS intervals with appropriate RPE
  • complete HV plans with FTP based on ~60min tests
  • increased resilience, e.g. 7 day vacation with 1,000km
  • 500h cycling in 2019 and 2020 respectively (TR HV). 2018 MV and little consistency, before that unstructured ~6,000km/year.

But I also feel stuck:

  • continuous submax efforts (I feel that high Z2 - SS is fatiguing me more than the people I ride with, who seem to be more triathlete types, although generally on a similar level)
  • looking back, my ramp test results were just as strong if not stronger already in 2019 and early 2020.

Goal events: For the sake of planning: Gran Fondo in the low mountains end of July.
Generally, I want to be a pain for people on the flats :smiley:
Very little racing, mostly weekend road rides with friends (occasionally ripping each other’s legs off), Gran Fondos or 10-40k TTs, flirting with XC MTB.
I really enjoy structured training and ride solo on weekdays.

Have focused on TR Traditional Base and Sustained Power Build High Volume (+ occasionally Century Specialty). Sounded rather boring to me (“ride kind of hard for long”), but suits my actual riding. My preferred riding would be less steady-state, somewhere between XCO/Rolling Road Race and XC Marathon/Climbing Road Race.

Which brings me to my questions:

  1. Am I spinning my wheels with HV, putting in a lot of effort but getting less real-world results in terms of speed?

  2. What is my limiter?

  • since reading about Vlamax, I suspect that it might be too high for my type of riding
  • maybe even VO2max, judging from ramp tests, it hasn’t moved since 2019
  1. How should I proceed?

Open for suggestions.

My deliberations:

That could be lowering Vlamax then, and would then be my focus (while maintaining VO2 with classic, long VO2 intervals). Ideally on TR - which plan(s)?

Personal background: Lifelong recreational athlete, 36y, m, 80kg/1.90m (176 lbs/6’2"). Feeling too skinny already, so losing weight is not an option. It’s flat here, anyway. 313W FTP with 50min TTE.

Hope I managed to structure that wall of text well enough for you to stay interested :wink:

I’d appreciate constructive feedback! :pray:

You did not mention anything about recovery. How many hours of sleep do you get a night? Is it good quality sleep, or do you wake up frequently? Do you track your sleep (watch, app, etc)?

Also, what about life stress? It adds on top of training stress but we tend to compartmentalize the two, when in fact our bodies can rarely distinguish the difference. Is your job physical or more sedentary?

For me, (lack of) recovery is my limiter. It takes a lot of effort to get more than six hours of sleep. On days I do I feel great and rarely struggle with workouts. I can hang in there with one or two days of less than six hours of sleep but more than that and I often fail / bail on intervals.

I’ve been doing HV plans since COVID hit and pools were shut down (I had been swimming 2-3 times per week and replaced those days with rides). I really struggled with SusPB the second go around whereas I (mostly) crushed it the first time early into quarantine, and my FTP isn’t that much greater this most recent time. I personally think the cumulative effect of HV training for a year wore me down physically and mentally because I didn’t / couldn’t recover more. With more recovery (sleep specifically) I could probably handle the HV training load.

For me, I’m doing SSB-HV because it has no rides above sweet spot (SSB-MV has threshold and VO2) and the hours fit my new longer commute (max 1.5 hours on any given day during the week and 2 hours each on Saturday and Sunday). Then I’m following Plan Builder (mid volume) with the intent of adding one Z2 ride during the week (MV plans typically have two complete days off of the bike) and extending the weekend rides to two hours each. I also don’t race but want to do some fondos / centuries this summer.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

1 Like

Thanks for your feedback.

Recovery is good, sometimes life gets a little in the way, but in most cases I’ve been able to just shift the workout to the evening.

A correctly set FTP is key, I suspect that I dug a hole with SusPB HV last year with an overestimated Ramp Test FTP. Much better this time.

That’s why I contemplated switching to MV, but the interval durations seem too short, coming from HV.