Too high intensity for base training

Im a little mystified with the workouts proposed during the base period. Although ive been a TR subscriber for some time, ive only just started sticking to the plan as suggested by plan builder. What i dont get is how much high intensity work it suggests at this time of year. I sort of get the sweet spot stuff but when it suggested Taylor-2 last night, 42 30 second VO2 max intervals i had to question whether this is right, is it? Base period has always meant heart rate zone 2 with occasional higher intensity stuff thrown in, especially at this time of year.

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See here for lots of info regarding base:

One other thing to consider is that in most, if not all cases, the plans are designed for people who are time crunched. Arguably the best approach to base would be to go out every day and spend multiple hours in the saddle doing zone 2, but isnt often possible for people juggling a “normal” life.

I’m not sure how plan builder chooses the base workouts but it may be worth looking at individual plans and choosing traditional base instead of sweet spot base, to address some of your concerns.


There is a traditional base program that you can follow if you prefer, but it requires more time on the bike for that to be as effective. Sweet Spot is somewhat geared towards time-crunched cyclists and thus z2 may not be enough if you aren’t doing higher volume.


Like all things, it depends. I used to agree with the time crunched requires more sweet spot approach to base, but have been pleasantly surprised by the base gains from dialing things down. I’ve only got 5 seasons of training, might very well be different if I had 20 years experience.

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Yeah I’m not suggesting that the SS approach is optimal, just that that is TRs assumed intention with SSB vs TB

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Everyone is different and so can be what they respond too.
TR approach to base is just one approach - It works for a lot of people.
However, I found it was not for me

To be fair, TRs approach is a few different approaches, not just one.

People slate them for pushing sweet spot, but they do offer traditional base too


TR approach worked for me, and then I tried the “less is more” approach and it worked even better. Don’t be afraid to experiment!


Is this a low volume plan?

My take is that if one is doing 3-4hrs/week they bump up the intensity to maximize training load and target specific energy systems. The intensity of individual workouts drops if you bump to MV / HV plans as you have more time available to rack up training load. On LV plans I don’t think most people are limited due to recovery as one might be with a MV/HV plan, on LV the issue is getting sufficient training load in the limited time available.

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That is, unless it’s harder to recover from the higher intensity

I think the HIT work during base changes the stimulus enough that it makes the Z2 work deeper. Sort of like doing the Coggan 20 minute FTP protocol which includes a 5 minute all out effort prior to the 20 minute effort. The 5 minute effort reduces the anaerobic contribution leaving a more aerobic 20 minute effort to better determine aerobic ftp.

Unrelated but, along the lines of why sh!t works for some and not for others…I think TR works exceedingly well for newer riders solely because it forces them to push constant power. Outside, newer riders start and stop or ease up on the pedals often which is not as effective. JMO


there is some science to back that up…

I can believe that, although around here if you ride with anyone that is not possible despite it being flat.

True. I tried to put enough weasel words but apparently not enough. :rofl:

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The plans reflect the required work for the level of time commitment.

If somebody does a LV plan and TR only prescribed a single 3 hour ride (or 3, hour long SS rides etc.) people wouldn’t get faster and would stop using the app. By throwing in VO2 max and threshold work, they create a stimulus that will produce results for the time commitment. In that vein, it’s also unlikely somebody with only 3 hours to train a week will wind up over-trained or highly fatigued from that time commitment as there is ample rest.

I would maybe argue the SSBHV plans are a little much (all SS for 1.25-2 hours 5 days a week and one easy ride), but I can also see how people with a longer history of training than myself would need/want such a stimulus.

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Thanks for all those replies. Judging by the extensive use of 2 and 3 letter acronyms i think everyone is time crunched. These replies have certainly been thought provoking and made me think hard about what ive always done. Maybe its time to experiment a little a let myself be guided by the plan and see what happens. thanks once again for taking the time to reply


I wonder if TR tries to reverse periodize a rider on a new plan?

Ha, ha, not just newer riders!! Z2 outdoors nearly always ends up as Z1, by the time I’ve photographed a rare plant, stopped to see a rare bird, or failed to ride past a cafe without stopping . Others include opening gates, picking grass out of the derailleur etc etc.
Which is why Baxter+2 and Boarstone are so good because we do not stop pedalling for 2 hours!
No way is that possible outside , unless you have private access to a racing circuit :rofl:

Yes! Don’t be a Z2 junkie. You might get to love SS and Vo2 max!! :smile: :smile: :smile:

You wanna bet? Last weekend, taking out the 10 minutes of single leg drills at the end:

And that includes 39 minutes of riding inside the city.

Less than 1% / 60 seconds coasting on 6867 seconds (1 hour 54+ minutes) of zone2 riding.

And the weekend before that I made a Strava moose for @Scheherazade


and at 3 hours and 22 minutes I stopped to briefly chat with a neighbor, up to that point it was 1.4% coasting (2 minutes and 56 seconds) from a couple of stops while leaving (16 minutes) and returning (38 minutes). So I think ~3 minutes coasting while spending 54 minutes in the city is pretty small, relatively speaking.


Kudos for managing that! Maybe I just get too distracted outside. I could probably manage 1 hour on an American Highway, like I’ve seen in movies :smile: