TR-generated plan TSS looks low; better to augment or adjust volume?

I’m just starting TR after a vacation rest week and selected a plan to build toward a race in May. I selected medium volume, but looking at the TSS graph, it looks like TR has my overall TSS looking very low relative to my past year of riding, which seems wrong since my goal is to start training in earnest.

I’m wondering if I’m better off keeping to the TR plan and then adding rides as they arise which will push my TSS higher, or if I’m better off adjusting the TR plan to higher volume and trying to fit my rides to the workout.

One reason it might be hard to integrate my regular winter riding into a TR-generated plan is that the riding I “naturally” do this time of year – mountain biking and fat biking – tends toward choppy high power efforts rather than the sweet spot workouts that dominate the base phase.

With variable snow conditions, there’s no telling when great fat-biking conditions will emerge; I want to keep my structured training going but also knowing myself there’s no way I’m missing a great ride just because TR says I should do 20-minute SS intervals and the venue with perfect snow offers a threshold workout instead.


With the introduction of AT all the plans were upgraded. They all have lower TSS than before. That lets AT do its adaptations without having burnout.

Don’t confuse/conflate TSS with training effectiveness, while there’s a sort of correlation in terms of you doing work there’s no guarantee that your rides are effective. Not all TSS is created equal as the saying goes.

You might be better splitting the two aims: choose a low volume plan for the actual training then add volume with whatever floats your boat. This is what I do. I also need to be pretty flexible - I’ve an outdoor job that’s particularly weather dependent at this time of year - so I’ll move workouts as I see fit, usually just push/pull by a day, I’ve just done it for tomorrow’s workout by moving it to today since today is poor weather and it’s giving a fine day tomorrow. I’ll also push workouts outdoors when the situation permits. Riding outdoors, particularly on a mountain bike, you’ll struggle to keep to specific ranges plus there’s not much difference between SS and threshold and you’ll typically slip between the two. I’ll leave the weekend for endurance ride, generally freeform and not associated with any TR workout. They’ll be anywhere up to 8hrs tempo riding.


This can be confusing when using TrainerRoad, because volume in TR means something different versus what you see from other coaches or off-the-shelf training plans. The most fundamental thing to know about endurance performance - it scales with volume. The bottom line is that for myself and others, a reduction in TSS as shown in your picture will result in a reduction in fitness.

Think of yourself as the coach, and TR as an advisor for just the structured intensity sessions. Like bobw said, what TR has recommended on the podcast is to start with low volume and add rides. Do either 2 or all 3 of the scheduled workouts, and the other riding you enjoy. If after 2 or 3 months that seems easy try mid volume which has 4 intensity sessions, and add volume as you see fit. After using TR for two years, and given what you enjoy riding this time of year, I would start with 2 TR sessions/week and the rest outside on the fat bike or mountain bike. Even better if the fat bike allows you to do the TR sessions outside.


Is your historical data right? What did you do in July, start the Tour de France? :slight_smile:

If you really are hitting 1000+ TSS/wk regularly, I would think the high volume plan would be a better fit.


No kidding. I’ve seen some pros do that kind of TSS on Strava. It generally ends up being 30+hrs, 700+ miles, a lot of time at intensity and a lot of vertical.

In my experience trainerroad tss is worth a lot more and a lot more stress on your body than normal riding around outside.

1 Like

His FTP could be very off giving a higher than actual TSS #.

Yeah, you don’t need to worry about FTP or TSS anymore really.

Plus you will see more TSS as Adaptive Training upgrades your workouts as you successfully complete them.

There must be something funny about how TR is pulling in the data then. Strava shows my biggest week in July with around 350 miles, mostly paved (I think there was one 60-70 mile gravel ride in there, but the bulk were on pavement). I think I had an optimistic FTP of 270 in Strava, though I don’t think that should affect TR. Garmin is calculating my current FTP in the 250s. The TR ramp test put it at a more humble 235, though to be fair I have lost some fitness with downtime lately. It’s also possible I’m getting different numbers on the trainer where I did the ramp test and on the bike. Most of my power numbers are coming from a crank meter on my road/gravel bike, but the trainer numbers come from an old bike on my trainer (I use the trainer for power on that, though it does have a one-sided crank meter from before that bike retired which I could also use).

You could try going to Account : FTP History (in TR) and see whats there. I suspect you have a low default value that was used for all those historical rides. You could try deleting that (or put in a manual value for Jan 2020) and see if everything recalculates.

Another vote for adding endurance/outside rides on top of the plans here - I can cope with a relatively high volume (6 week av was around 700 for a while last year) but I always do a low volume plan in TR - I try to make sure I hit those 3 key workouts and then outside rides (club rides, social rides, MTB etc) on top of it.

The mix of TSS is important - for example 600 TSS of threshold workouts will probably destroy you quite quickly, 600 TSS which is more balanced is more sustainable - as a number on its own it is relatively meaningless. The other thing that makes it more sustainable is to respect the recovery weeks - I’ve fallen into the trap before of basically ignoring those and getting into a hole.

If you want the TSS chart in TR to look more realistic and you have a few rides you do regularly, you can add in recurring outside rides. I have the Saturday club ride included as a recurring ride every week for example.