Those of you who have completed all three phases of TrainerRoad (1 Base, 2 Build, and 3 Specialty) what did you think?

Last winter I started training late (last minute decision to race the coming season) and was only able to complete the 12 week base portion (Low Volume I & II).

I ended up really enjoying it and was very impressed with gains from structured power training and the on screen coaching tips.

This year I plan on working my way through all three phases with the mid volume option and choosing the mountain bike oriented plans.

So, how do the other phases stack up/compare to the base phase? Like them? Hate them?

I’m just trying to know what to expect when I reach those points.

Thanks for any input!

I’ve made my way through the complete progression a handful of times. Last year I did ssb 1&2 low volume, then sustained power build lv, then jumped to xc marathon mid volume. I normally stick to the plan except on weekends when I get in long road and mtb rides.
The jump to mid volume was an adjustment, but it did me noticeable good. I set a pr in my “a” race by over 40 minutes.
I have started my training this year and have remained on the mid volume plans.

Early on, hated them, but endured them because it was a means to an end.

4 years later, I think I’ve got better things to do, so I only do parts. :man_shrugging:

Been a TR user for 2.5ish years now. THIS year was the first year I completed all 3 phases for an A-event I had in early September. All I can say is I was the fittest I’ve been in, perhaps, my life and I loved going through all the progressions; pushing myself. Getting faster.

I’ll go hungry & homeless before I ever cancel my TR subscription. :wink:


I rotate through LV/MV SSB 1 and 2 then do a build cycle here and there. This keeps me in very strong condition all year… I don’t peak for races, I just cherry pick one when the weather is nice and if I feel like it. Summertime, I replace weekend TR workouts with hard for me 60-75 mile group rides. I tried specialty last spring and it was way too much intensity, I got burned out after a week and a half into it and set me back a bit so when I want some extra high end fitness, I’ll work in just a few specialized workouts. You can really squeeze a ton fitness out of base and especially build. IMO, build provides plenty of stimulus/fitness to deliver you to the start line confidently. I’m 47 and ave about 250 300 TSS a week and 3.4 WPKG.

Also, for me, following the TR plans verbatim may lead to burnout. I find that all the SS intensity throughout the season can grind me down so although I do follow the plans as prescribed, I also adjust workouts when needed. When I first started TR I was too inflexible and would blindly follow the prescribed workouts/plans when tired or too overeached. Less can be more… if I need to change a workout to an easier version or swap SS for endurance intensity it’s helping not taking away any fitness. I don’t want to open a can of worms but I’m interested in changing it up maybe looking into polarized training and using heart rate as ceiling during intervals, per Steve Neal on Faster by FLO podcast episode 30. I haven’t delved into this as it’s so convenient to set the TR plans in the calendar and go with it.

I started with a build phase and specialty phase last year (first year on TR) and I saw some gains, I realized two things: consistency is key, like all year consistency, and that base training (even for someone with a lot of miles in their legs) is probably the most important part of the cycle.

I’m going to be strict on SSBMV1 and 2 and then switch to a more flexible XCO LV build and specialty so I can weave in fun rides and plenty of outdoor workouts. Last year I think I got burned out indoors because build and especially specialty phase is hard, so far SSBMV1 is challenging but very doable.

Good luck!

Every phase brings on new challenges, which reveal and address new weaknesses. They also reveal strengths that you may not have known you had, which can later be exploited.

You will most certainly race better as result of completing the entire program.

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2019 was my first year with TR and I did SSB mid, Short Power mid, and Crit specialty mid. My best races were in the middle of Short Power build. Went downhill by the end of Crit specialty so I decided to change up focus for 2020 to more sustained efforts for road racing. I don’t think it had anything to do with the plans, rather what suits me better. I did finish all the workouts from start to finish while pushing one week out due to illness in SSB 2 (I think it was 2 at least).

I thought SSB was the easiest, Short Power was a challenge but tolerable, and Crit specialty was the hardest for me. Little bit of a bummer since most the races around me are crits but I’ll look for a way to make it work, certainly fun to push through it.

I’ve been a TR member for a full year now and by following the SSBMV I & II, Sustained Power Build, and the Climbing Road Race plans I was able to absolutely destroy my “A” race (which I have raced the previous 4 years with close to the same finishing times). The “build” phase is where I saw the biggest FTP gains. During the “Specialty” phase I felt as if my system was getting primed for different race scenarios or efforts. It really does help round out everything you’ve worked hard to develop during Base and Build. In short, TR made me a more consistent, diligent, and faster rider, no question about it. Sure, it can be challenging to follow sometimes (family, work, kids, etc.), but it will increase your fitness, make you faster, and in my opinion boost your confidence on the bike because you’ll have the fitness to dig deeper during group rides or races.

I would recommend using the “Plan Builder” feature to create a plan that will fit with your lifestyle and goals.

Done all three phases three years in a row and got more fit year after year - and this is with over 20 years of riding prior to this. So, TR definitely helped me progress in big ways over time. But, Plan Builder opens up all kinds of new possibilities, especially because we can plug in our events and not do the guess-work in our basements about the best plan to use. Can’t say enough good things.