Swapping weekend structure for fun

I am doing a sweet spot mid volume plan, so a typical week looks like:
Tu/Th: Intense intervals
W: Z2
Sa: 1.5 hr with intervals like “race winners” (short efforts followed by sweet spot) and microbursts
Su: 2 hr of sweet spot intervals or 3 hr of Z2

I sometimes add in a light recovery ride on M/F.

I have no issues with the weekday workouts, but I’ve modified my weekends a bit.

With all outdoor races cancelled, I’ve been playing around with Zwift. I’ve fallen into a pattern where I substitute the Saturday workout with a Zwift race of anywhere from 25-100 minutes. If the race is on the shorter side, I make up the remainder of the scheduled time with a shortened version of the planned TR workout.

On Sundays, I’ve been swapping the structured sweet spot workouts for a longer outside ride. I don’t want my Sunday rides to be overly structured, so I’ve tended just to go out for around 3hr at Z2 and sprinkle in 5-10 minute blocks of sweet spot wherever I can.

I’m curious if I might be hampering my progression by moving away from structure on the weekends. I’ve enjoyed my weekends as they are, but I might reconsider how I approach them if I had a good reason to.

For some general context, I started using TR at the beginning of Jan and ramp tested at 244 FTP (at the tail end of a nasty cold). By mid Feb I was at 270 before hurting my achilles and taking 3+ weeks off. I started back up with a new plan and tested at 260 in early April. I was back to 270 in early June.

Sounds fine, providing your Tuesday session is compromised by any greater recovery need - doesn’t sound like that’s the case :+1:

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I’ve always allowed myself to go off script on weekends even when I was paying for private coaching. It’s so important to me to keep doing the thing I love which is just riding my bike through the woods or going on mini adventures. It may not be the very best way to train as the following week can be compromised, but does that really matter? Why deprive yourself of the things you love just to put a few watts onto an ftp number. I think people lose sight of the bigger picture.
Currently drinking my morning coffee with a nicely tired body after a 10hr off-road century yesterday. I’ll probably be a bit of a zombie tomorrow and Tuesday but I’ve got some beautiful memories of a smashing day.


I appreciate the feedback and agree with you to an extent.

I do love going out for a fun ride, discovering new places, sprinting up hills just for the hell of it, completely escaping from all else in the world, and, strangely enough, having my legs cramp up in the evening after a brutally long/hard ride.

But I also get a ton of enjoyment in seeing the results of longer term development. I referred to FTP in my post for general context, but my goal really isn’t to chase numbers. Those are just markers that help track progress during my physical development. The amount of satisfaction I get in progressing from barely being able to finish a race, to consistently finishing in the top third, to winning, to upgrading a category, and so on, is at least as great as what I get from the “fun” rides. Increasing power and endurance are just a couple parts of the equation, but essential ones nonetheless.

Things might also be different if I had the luxury of going out for all-day rides, or if I could reach interesting new destinations without having to slog through an hour of urban sprawl or rehash the same couple of routes over and over again.

This is a long-winded way to say that I don’t think that people like me are missing the bigger picture. We all ride for different reasons and have different goals or interests (many of which overlap). There’s no harm in prioritizing certain goals over others depending on our individual circumstances.

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Always need to find a balance between the theoretically optimal training approach and actually enjoying riding your bike! Seems like you’re about in the right spot.

Only thing I would say you might be missing with current approach is that it seems you’re not really doing any longer SS or threshold intervals (the Tuesday and Thursday sessions sound short and hard?). I think those 15-30 minute intervals are really beneficial, particularly if you’re a lower volume rider who can’t build an aerobic base by just going off and spending the whole weekend on a bike. Wonder whether you could either enter races on Saturday that would give you that kind of workout e.g. events with some long climbs in. Or maybe incorporate some long, hardish efforts on your Sunday ride without impacting the enjoyment.

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I’m doing General Build (finished week 1) and I schedule all my TR workouts Monday-Friday. This gives me some leeway in the weekend and I typically do long rides on trails or the roads depending on what we’ve got planned as a family. Note: Covid has made family planning easier and my family lets me set a morning of afternoon aside for ‘me’ time.

I’d like to do more outdoors but it’s difficulty to get the time unfortunately - and more importantly I love the structured workouts.

If you can play around with your week then I throughly recommend it but 100% listen to your body.

PS. Someone mentioned Johnathan discussed this approach on the podcast so we should probably listen to that episode… Does anyone know which episode?

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I follow a low volume plan in order to get the flexibility I want. I schedule the 3 interval sessions on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. With the Friday session being the least “intense” workout. I’ve found that this give me the flexibility I need in order to do those weekend rides. I also find that I have been way more consistent since I’ve moved the Saturday workout in to the work week. To be clear, I ride every day. But with the low volume plan everything besides those 3 workouts is bonus.


What you’re doing is basically what I’ve been doing with Low Volume. I stick to all the planned structure (3 wo/week) and on Wednesday and Sunday, I do a Z2 ride for fun. I found it easier to do this with LV the MV because it doesn’t feel like I’m skipping workouts. Also, swapping in a Zwift race for any of those workouts is perfectly good and normal just like swapping in a crit or road race would be.

Only other advice I’ve heard TR say on the podcast are to look at the structured work for that week, recognize the two or three most productive workouts, and nail those ones consistently each week. You’ll get the best of both worlds that way.


I’m on the back end of the Sweet Spot Base Mid Volume II and I’ve been subbing the Sunday workouts for long outside rides. Both a training intent and just for fun. My A events are all 150+ miles events, so a 6-8 hour ride is fun and also brings event specifity to my training.


This is sensible … swapping out like for like rides. Subbing an Endurance workout for a long outside ride is great. Subbing a recovery rides for hills repeats less sensible.