Too much intensity in TR training plans

Hi all

I finished SSB1 LV (with added 2 outside long z2 workouts per week) and now I’m about to start with SSB2 MV.

I want to ride 5 days per week so MV would be great and plan is to substitute Sundays workout with outside 3+ hrs ride. And probably keep only Thursday and Saturday workouts on turbo and rest of them outside. My important races are about to start in May so I’m about where TR suggests.

TR is so focused on turbos and to be better on Ramp test and not in outside racing and that is probably the reason with adding so much of intervals. If we count sweet spot as intervals that is 4 of 5 days with intervals for base phase in early January…

I’m about 50-50 to stay on TR plans or move to standard programs with a lot of z2 and 2-3 intervals workouts (SS and threshold for now and later on add some vo2 max).

If someone went to base -> build -> speciality using TR plans and doing most of them outside (especially after the winter)?

Hi
Last year the plans seemed to have more Sweetspot, I had my break in October doing bathroom refurbishment.

Loaded the new plan a bam… Intervals and threshold work and even Over Unders, I thought i would crack, but i seemed to get through them base 1, … New FTP 10 watts up. Base 2 even more VO2 …which is not my cup of tea !!! I have stuck with the workouts except over the holiday period i cut out the active recovery ride , so only 4 workouts just to get some time with family well the Wife.
I have noticed 4 weeks into base 2 , heart rate resting, warm up and during workouts all down 5-10 beats, I will alter the VO2 intervals the last week as i hate 3 minute at 120%, i do not think the plans get you ready for that they do 30 sec,1min, the 2 min are not all at 120% then they throw in a 3 min.

I am on the MV plan, but add on top 2 Z2 rides a week, One on the same day as a Sweetspot workout.

I notice in the summer the less TR workouts on the Turbo i tend to stay trained but not huge increases in FTP. I do note i can ride further which is my Goal.

So depending on your goals, TR is designed to give best bang for your Time. If You have time to do 2-3 hour rides outside great, but 3- times a week is about what most people have to train in terms of time per week 6-9 hours.

Oh! Sweetspot is not intervals its the area Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan have in their book that generates the right amount of stress to get progress, But Not too much that you can not repeat day after day.

I was in the same boat, really wanted to ride more hours, but couldn’t handle the mid volume for more than a few weeks before I got a cold or just felt totally run down…

And like you said, it is very focused on performing on the ramp test, albeit TrainerRoad is better than nothing, or no structure, there are better ways to approach it if you want to do more hours…

I got a coach just for fun to see how he would structure it, and its lots of Zone 2 and then 1-2 interval rides a week. Most rides are 1,5h or longer, many even 2hrs.

I feel much better, more alert, and more excited to get on the bike when its not murderous intervals 5 days a week. Maybe trainer road isn’t for me, but I sure am getting way faster on the bike since I have worked my zone 2 a lot now.

He also throws in one ride that is 3+ hours in the week (preferably outside).

My plan setup is actually very similar to how Dylan Johnson has his setup: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMUXJiYxs6k&t=781s

I can also add that nutrition guides from my coaches has helped a lot, with what to eat, when, how to fuel properly and not over fuel etc.

Also on long rides I usually do it fasted for the first hour (water only), then add carbs.

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TR is focussed on training, which is different from racing. Their approach is to maximise time efficiency with sweet spot training.

Sweet spot intervals are nothing like threshold, VO2max or anaerobic intervals, so I don’t see why you want to conflate the two.

If you don’t like sweet spot intervals, there is always the traditional base plan.

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You can also stay on the low volume plan and add more longer z2 workouts on the off days.

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I signed up with TR to improve my racing, not improve my training, training is a means to an end for most (I understand the training > racing culture on this forum but don’t subscribe). SS is a useful tool, lots of riders and coaches still say that TR plans have too much of it, personal experience of a MV SS plan last year was too much for me.

Still, all of the above illicit considerable fatigue, versus the long and slow approach of a traditional base. I think that’s the point being made, a very fair one.

Yep! The flexibility offered in planning out our individual training plans is what makes TR still valuable to riders who have determined that this threads title has some merit.

If you know its too much, swap out some SS for z2.

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That’s my plan. Another good year to experiment and record.

I feel like they give you a good blue print, but we are all different and picking up on the clues that our bodies are telling us and making small changes are the key to success. Sounds like your on the right path.

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That’s because Z2 produces very little stress (it’s healthy exercise) and is basically recovery from your interval rides. The “murderous intervals 5 days a week” model completely messes with your brain & body.

There are definitely times you will need to pile on the intensity in order to improve, but far less is needed than what TR requires.

Stay happy!

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I agree, for sure. I think the ramp is a little more bell curved than it seems, with some being closer to overestimation. Particularly when jumping in after going without structure, I can fake it a bit in the ramp, but never in the “real” workouts.

To clarify, ramp tests work great for me in setting sweet spot intervals in most circumstances. For many, I think just a 1-4% overestimation can take SS up to threshold, and SS intervals are then brutal instead of manageable with focus. A lot of folks end up in the threshold range, and that takes solid effort and focus every time, not just when you’re tired. Sweet spot SHOULD feel hard, but it should almost never feel brutal until just before a rest period. So while we all love a big FTP, dropping it 10w and finishing SS feeling refreshingly spent instead of murdered is better.

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It depends on if we are talking Zone 2 power or Zone 2 heart rate…

When doing base, I do a lot of riding @ about 190w (FTP of 280), while trying to keep heart rate within Zone 2.

So calling it recovery is very incorrect because approaching LT1 is definitely recovery. A 2 hour LT1 ride, or a 4 hour heart rate zone 2 ride, is not peanuts. Of course it gets easier, but its far from recovery.

TrainerRoads issues are that it kind of turns the whole FTP thing upside down. It pretty much says “You are X fast because your FTP is XX, here are your ‘zones’”, without taking anything else into the account, such as base fitness, if you are more aerobic or anaerobic etc.

Yes, sweet spot is great and TR is great, but put me into a 4-5 hour Gran Fondo and try to use my “FTP” from TrainerRoad and I will have a really hard time if you are pacing from that FTP, because you really have no idea what your FTP is because you really haven’t measured anything.

TrainerRoad FTP is not real world FTP, so they should not call it that because people use it as their real riding FTP.

I wish that TrainerRoad was more transparent with what its good for and where it falls flat, but like many others say, this would kind of kill their business model since if people understood that just doing Sweetspot for an hour 3-5 hours a week doesn’t translate into real race performance in the same way as “proper” endurance training does.

Intensity is of course required as a part of getting faster… But without a base, intensity is just trying to fill a bucked with a hole in it…

I think that if they revised their model a bit, reduced intensity, and then added some Zone 2 / low Zone 3 rides, people would find better balance, but that would require more time on the trainer = Catch 22

I hope that this makes sense, I am not bashing TR. Its just not as black and white as they are making it seem…

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I must be on a different training platform because “murderous” and “sweet spot” don’t exist in the same sentence for me. I scrolled back through last year’s training and I didn’t fail any sweet spot session…except one. I threw in Wright Peak +1 which is 2.5hrs of 30min SS intervals which isn’t surprising to find hard.

Maybe Ive been training indoors too long, but to my mind there is something wrong of sweet spot work is really hard. This is an effort you can easily hold for over an hour, its not even threshold effort.

I’d be totally on board if you were talking about over/unders or vo2, but sweet spot sessions and sweet spot base plans just aren’t that hard.

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The more fit you become the more Z2 power your can do with Z1 HR.

Personally, any ride which doesn’t create an accumulation of fatigue is recovery. YMMV.

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True, but LT1 is not recovery, and riding close, or at LT1, does definitely cause fatigue. Saying otherwise is incorrect.

There is a reason why many riders that are very very fast are riders that put in many hours at low intensity, topped off with some fast group rides or intervals.

You get fast(er) with TR, but there definitely is a limit. And like they say themselves, mid volume is enough for 95% of TR users, but that only gets you 5 hours a week…

5 hours a week for an endurance sport is nothing… hence why it leaves a big gap in the whole physiological aspect of training for an endurance sport.

You can’t cheat volume with intensity, they compliment each other.

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As stated, YMMV.

If you have the luxury of time, the TB plans have definitely been working for me based on RPE and heart rate. SSB is a different kind of work but having gone through TB1 and 2, the tempo and sweet spot stuff in TB3 is really way more manageable than I expected.

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TB1, TB2 and TB3 means low, mid and high volume?

Sorry, what does LT1 mean?

Sweet spot is not easy for me… I did all of them in SSB1 LV, but I failed both of the over unders (had to lower the intensity)…

Ramp test gave me FTP of 277W, my outside FTP is now about 300+ (3 months ago was 310). I use the same Powermeter.

And that is also a bit problematic for me… That dening about lower indoor FTP and not supporting 2 FTPs.
In TP i use Bike and Mtn Bike to set 2 different FTPs and life is much easier :slight_smile:

One more time, I really like TR and everything around it but I’m probably in that 5%… I ride and race most outdoors and use trainer only when I must (winter or specific workouts).