Taking 2 weeks off for unstructured outdoor rides

Hey all,

Just finished SSB 1&2 M and Build: Sustained Power.

Got a nice jump from ~190 to 245 FTP since starting structured training for the first time 5 months back. (Thank you TR team, been a challenging yet amazing journey so far!)

Question 1: I’m considering taking 2 weeks off to do some relaxed but high TSS unstructured outdoor rides (MTB + long road rides) before going back into a new SSB plan, possibly high volume this time. Hoping this won’t impact my fitness or FTP too much, but wanted to confirm this wasn’t a bad idea.

Question 2: Also skipping specialty altogether since there aren’t any events coming up, and jumping back into SSB 1&2, but would love advice on if I should be considering specialty at all, or time is better spent going back into SSB.

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I took would like to know this. Work has been ramping up recently and hard outside rides are a little easier to fit in randomly during the week as opposed to starting a new SSB plan.

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If you’ve completed a full base+build cycle with a good amount of consistency i wouldn’t think 2 weeks of unstructured riding will have too much of an impact- and it might even have some positives, both in terms of long-term motivation, and also working on some outdoor-specific skills such as bike handling, nutrition and so forth. At the end of the day most of us put the work in indoors so we can go fast outside, so enjoy getting out there and using the fitness you’ve built!

Honestly you can go either way with specialty at the moment- though it might be worth considering what your training history is and what it’s going to look like for the rest of the year. Specialty usually has a bit of a drop in TSS and would usually be followed by a taper and some rest following an event, whereas continuously cycling through base/build is pretty hard on the body. I have no plans to race until next year so I’m doing the latter knowing I’ll get a chance for some downtime before my next season, but if you’re anticipating events later this year it might be worth letting yourself peak, drop down again and then build back up higher the next time.


I’ve had around 10 days off training and did a few MTB rides near the place I was holidaying at. A couple of easy rides and a couple pushing it. Came back and did a ramp and gained 2w from previous test, so I wouldn’t worry. If your riding over the break and having good rest days too, can’t see it being anything but good.

As for going back to base, that’s what I intend do do once build is finished, it is the recommended approach from what I have read in the forums if there isn’t a requirement for speciality. That saying I have done speciality with no event in mind in the past, just for the variety of doing different workouts. Found the century one did increase my endurance/engine even though it didn’t do anything for the FTP number, as they say they FTP number isn’t everything.

Enjoy your break but be careful with the high volume plan when you get back, it doesn’t suit all. I had a go recently with the SPBHV and have reset back to SPBMV because my old body couldn’t recover from the fatigue fast enough. Hope it works for you.

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As far as question 1 - Sounds great, I’d say go for it. It’s never a bad idea to do what you think will make things more enjoyable for you…unless cycling is your profession, in which case you’re probably not getting your training advice from an internet forum. It’s good to have a plan for the other side, so you don’t just slide off into months of unstructured junk, but yeah, take a mental break and have some fun for a couple weeks.

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Also wondering about this. Just finished first half of build again, now recovery week. I wanna do very long rides (100-200km) in zone 2 for 2 weeks, but I am afraid that since I won’t be doing any threshold or VO2Max, my FTP will actually decline…?

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Worst case your FTP drops a couple Watts, but you’ll have a bunch of fun rides and memories to look back on. In the end, unless you’re racing and placing, it’s just a number. There has to be a point to all the training, and if the point is to enable you to go on long rides, well, goal achieved, right?


I’d look at it like this…

Say your current FTP is 270W, how long can you hold it for, say its 40-50 minutes on a semi good day.

Doing something different, zone 2 will probably increase your engine endurance. So you do this for 2 weeks and your FTP drops to 260W

You now find that you can do your FTP of 260W for 60-80 minutes on a semi good day.

Which FTP is better, one sounds better but I’d guess the other will make you a stronger rider.

As they all say here, your FTP number isn’t everything. It will vary week to week, month to month, year to year. I would also guess if you did some VO2 max workouts etc for a couple of weeks after the zone 2 stuff you’ll probably get the 10W back testing and probably more as I’m sure the zone 2 stuff will also shed some fatigue and make you a stronger rider.

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Nothing wrong with this. You might want to consider a recovery week though after if you are going to maintain high TSS.


Both are perfectly fine. The two weeks unstructured is a great idea to renew flagging motivation. Lots of us are struggling with having trained for ten months or so without events… do what you want, you won’t lose anything notable.

No issue skipping specialty to revisit Base. In the last two years, I’ve now down base four times and Build four times, and just one specialty plan. Ensure you’re recovering well from the work, and this is fine.


It’s a very healthy thing.
Unless you are absolutely focused on reaching a particular FTP/fitness at a particular point in future for a specific goal, a little unstructure every now and then is good for the soul and will feed the biking’s-fun muscle. You may even find further enjoyment by extending it out another week or so if weather and roads/trails are good!

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I’m finishing SSB1 after a base and build section so have decided since I’m working lates this week trying Zwift for a week just for something unstructured. I’ve been on a plan for a while now and needed a break, although my fist Zwift ride wasn’t as fun as the hype led me to believe.

After a long training block My coach recently assigned me a 10 day “Master of your own destiny block” where I could do anything I wanted. I ended up doing a random mix of gravel, VO2 max, and runs with my wife.

I followed that up with a week of openers, and then set my all-time 20 minute power PR during a recon ride for a goal later this month.

So based on this N=1, my recommendation would be to go for you 2 week ride what you want block.

Good luck and have fun