The Red Light, Green Light Tightrope

A combination of Red Light, Green Light and using Best Bike Split to analyse unplanned rides has given me some fascinating insight into my training. It turns out many of my longer 3-5 hour rides which I used to tag as Endurance are very hard VO2 or Threshold rides.

The Red days allow me to take a Rest Day without thinking that I could probably do another workout and keep my TSS up. I’m combining a Masters’ Mid-Volume with a longer weekend ride for nutrition practice and just being outside riding.

It brings me to a question, is seeing a red day then an amber day once a week after these long race prep/sim rides good? I am effectively walking the training v recovery tightrope? Or does the presence of red days suggest that I’m overdoing it?

I don’t know whether it’s good or bad, but if you’re taking a red day as rest, and feeling ok I don’t really see an issue myself. fwiw in the run up to RVV this year, but long Saturday prep spins put me in red, but I had Sunday as a off day anyway. I had a sprinkling of yellow days in that too, generally on designated endurance days on the plan. n=1 I didn’t “burn out” or get sick anyway.

Hey @ScouseScud,

Good question!

I’d say if your planned rest days end up red, there’s no real issue there. Generally, as long as you’re respecting the color of the day, you shouldn’t have any major issues down the road.

If you’re having to skip planned workouts each week because you’re getting red days from your really long rides, I’d say that there is probably a better way to do things.

In that scenario, it would be beneficial to move things around in your schedule, or tone down that really long/hard ride a little bit in order to be able to knock out all of your workouts without riding on a red day.

Let me know if this helps! :slightly_smiling_face:

So I’m basically brand new to Trainerroad. I had been doing just fine prior to being off the bike for 3 weeks with work travel. Started TR when I returned and I keep getting adaptations on my Masters HV plan. The total work each week feels lower than what I had been doing this year. Is adhering strictly to the adaptations the best plan, and will it begin to allow me to move the volume back up?


Welcome to the forum! :partying_face:

Looking back at your career, I’d say that last week was a really good week for you. You did get an extra 90 minutes of riding in over what was prescribed, but didn’t run into any red days, so that’s great!

As you continue to knock out solid weeks of training, you’ll be able to slowly add in volume to your plan. We recommend respecting RLGL’s recommendations along the way though.

How many hours a week are you hoping to train down the road?

Also, have you been accepting or declining the adaptations recently?

I’m pointing to 10-12 hours per week, with occasional 15 hour weeks when possible. I think I’ve accepted all but one of the adaptations. The first week the adaptation was a red day on Saturday; I did a very easy 2 hour ride that felt great and it created more adaptations for the next week.

I actually went in last week and really scaled back from the original plan the workouts, both sweetspot and VO2, as well as the endurance days from 90 minutes to 75. I thought this big reduction for this week would set me up to get through the week without adaptations and begin to build going forward.
A bit disappointed this morning when the SS workout resulted in another adaptation that further reduced tomorrow’s already reduced workout.

I’m planning on following the adaptations as recommended as I am committed to honor the process, but would only one ‘hard’ workout a week be better than a SS and a VO2, even though they are 72 hours apart?

Hey @LarBrat,

I’d personally recommend keeping at least two hard workouts in your rotation each week. It sounds like you really prefer to prioritize volume above all else, though, and I’m curious, what are your goals both short and long-term? We do have Traditional Base training phases that you could run through if you’re simply looking for lots of easy time in the saddle. Check them out in the link below!

Before we dive into how we recommend that athletes sustainably increase their training volume, it’s worth looking into the tools we now have in place that are designed to prevent them from taking on too much at once and overtraining. Red Light Green Light looks at your historical training data as well as other metrics specific to you when monitoring your training stress to ensure that if you’re starting to push up against or past that boundary of productive stress it can suggest changes to your upcoming schedule with the intention of avoiding long-term fatigue. Those three weeks off the bike for work travel are certainly being considered here… :airplane:

Those adaptations you’ve mentioned are our way of telling you, “Hey, that was a bit more than we had in the plan for right now. Slow down a bit if you want to keep this pace up!” It’s sort of like pacing a marathon. If you decide to run mile 5 or 10 or even 20 for that matter wayyy faster than you should, you’ll have to slow down at some point to catch your breath (or maybe even crash and burn :fire:). RLGL looks at your training plan similar to a marathon. Keep an even steady pace for success. Don’t go out too hot, and pick it up as you can along the way. With good planning and execution maybe you’ll even pull off the coveted negative split!

When athletes are looking to increase their training volume there are a few things we typically recommend.

First, it’s important to really pay attention to how you’re feeling after each workout before you go to bed, and when you wake up each day. It’s important to make these types of changes gradually to allow your body to build up the resources and strength it needs to be resilient to the extra workload long-term. Most people could knock out a big week or two, but to continue on with more volume long-term is a different story.

Additionally, it’s important to remember that each of us has our own “optimal” training volume based on our personal lives, genetics, etc. so while many of us strive to ride more, keep in mind that the number of hours that works well for you now and in the future might not always align with your goals. Instead of 10-12 hours a week, you might benefit most from 8-9 hours, or maybe you can actually fit in 12+ hours. It sounds like we don’t know just yet, so I’d view this opportunity as an experiment to see where your sustainability/productivity sweet spot lies.

When it comes time to adding in more work, I’d first ensure that you’re getting through your training weeks without any red days. From there, I’d start to slowly increase the duration of your easy days by 15-30 minutes, one at a time. I might cap that long Saturday ride at about 90 minutes for now, or drop a different easy day altogether if you’d rather a long ride on the weekend. Just make sure that when you’re riding outside you’re sticking to the plan. Your ride last Saturday is a great example of that as you did a really nice job keeping the intensity low. :+1:

This week should be a really good test and indicator of what your next few weeks should look like. You rode through a yellow day today and have an easy ride tomorrow. Friday will be your toughest day of the week, and I’ll be eager to see what RLGL recommends for you on Saturday after that.

If you’re struggling to work through a week without missing or replacing key workouts due to RLGL, it might be worth going down to a mid-volume plan and building up from there.

Let me know if this helps and if you have any questions! :blush: