TR not for "serious" amateurs?

I’ve seen a number of posts here and comments on the wider web to the effect of, “TR is great for beginners, but experienced racers self-coach or pay for a coach”. What’s driving that perception?

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I’ve been using TR and on the forum for 5 years reading nearly every post. Those feelings and comments are far and few between, not the general consensus.

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i guess i’m one of those who’ve moved on to self-coaching. I still use TR just about everyday of the week, but i’m using a combo of my some of my own workouts and TR workouts and my own “plans”

with something like SSB, for example, I don’t find I necessarily need 4 sweet spot workouts a week, I’ve limited my “work” days to 2 and do longer z2, so I’ve been at 14-16hrs a week for a bit of time now. and I’ve built my sweet spot TTE in such a way that I could do 1x90, for example, where TR plans generally cap off at a lot of 30min intervals.

I think more advanced folks get to a point where 4 hard workouts a week and limited z2 work as a lot of TR plans are become a bit limiting. And I think effective coaches/self-coaches get to a point when they can pivot to doing a vo2 block to bust through any plateaus.

Sometimes it isn’t as simple as just doing a TR plan and subbing z2 on a day or two, which can also be an effective strategy. At this point, my plan structure is so different from what TR would provide under adaptive training that I’m just building my own progressions and structuring my weeks according to my “vision”

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TR is a form of self-coach; I use TR + podcast + research from the web + forum to aid my training.

I would agree that a ‘serious’ amateur doesn’t blindly follow TR but combines TR with outside workouts and adapts TR prescribed workouts to suit what they are able to schedule in order to stay consistent.

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Some of the folk on the ‘Successful Athletes’ podcast definitely seem “serious” amateurs. I’ve no idea what is driving that perception, maybe money. Perhaps if you are coached you don’t 100% have to pay for a coach and TR, if the coach is doing the plan building/ plan adapting and could justify not paying for both. Similarly for the self-coached it probably justifies not paying a TR subscription too, if you are independently plan building and tweaking it. There is AI FTP D and other analysis to subscribe for though and you’d probably want some kind of calendar be it TP or TR etc.

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Depends how you define “serious”.

For example, I am not serious by my own definition i.e. ride for my own pleasure, not racing. But I do deviate from TR plans because I am not time-crunched, usual weekly availability is 12-17h. For that reason, I have bought some plans with this time allotment from TrainingPeaks and copied them to TR calendar with workouts from TR library, keeping weekly/monthly/seasonal structure. Also simulating AT by substituting next week workout after rating current finished workout.

As soon as TR implements Plan Builder customization allowing to choose workout type (Z2, SS, Z4, Z5) + time allocation per weekday + load/recovery week pattern, I’ll be back on plain full TR :stuck_out_tongue:

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Welcome to the internet, where everyone is smarter and faster than average.

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Reminded me of this one from lockdown :rofl:

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My first, second and third thought.

Are you serious if you ride a =5k bike, ride for 12+ hours a week and still make up the numbers at your local Tuesday Worlds?

Are you serious if you can quote verbatim every scientific study into zone 2 training in the past twenty years?

Please. Serious Amateur. That’s almost comical.

Who cares what you use when you line up. You either do the punching or you’re getting punched. I don’t care how many hours you train, on what, using what. The only thing that matters is can I beat you…?

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One thing about amateurs is they can have the perfect plan, the perfect coach and still tinker with it and do their own thing.

Not saying TR plans are perfect or coaching (it’s not)… not even saying tinkering is a bad thing. You gotta figure out what works for you & often that comes from making mistakes. How often do you see kids new to the sport emulate a pro or do something crazy (because their friends did it)? And even when you mature or have a coach you provide input and adapt the training to what you need. No plan is the perfect formula, there are no secret workouts.

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It’s just noise. A lot of the noise here is from the same small number of people (which is verging on the trolling for me!)

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  • My key suggestion for questions like this is to go directly to the source. Speculation by those of us here with a limited statement and no context will potentially miss the mark by a little or a lot.

  • Nothing wrong with asking a general question like this. Maybe those people will arrive here and reply, or maybe some of us can correctly guess & summarize those thoughts? But it’s probably not as beneficial as replying or contacting directly via those actual comments you read.

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I think there’s a lot of frustration from people who love the brand but can’t quite find a use for the core product. It’s now quite an expensive option to keep paying (as I did for ages) just to be a ‘patreon’ for want of a better word.

The trouble with the plans for some serious or keen amateurs is that you can’t really get the volume many people need to stay competitive without butchering them to the point that it’s just an over-priced (albeit the best/smoothest) turbo controller. Yes you can add Z1/2 volume to a TR plan but that’s never the same as a week that plans for both your volume and intensity.

Also, once you get hooked on the local group riding scene- you realise
A) That the time spent on a wheel trumps ‘higher quality’ intensity (in the form of structured intervals) done on your own. I have no idea where you would get the ‘speed skills’ you need otherwise.
B) You’ll end up replacing so many workouts that you are paying for Petit and Baxter (or other things that aren’t as “fun” as a Pace partner ride on Zwift).

I had a couple of great years on TR. The structure of the plans helped me get to Cat 3 for sure.

One feature I really miss is the ride review page. That was super slick even on my phone and was great for zooming in and then getting all the data for that section.

If anything, I’ve gone back to Friel now. With hindsight, I was closest to what works for me with the HR based plan I wrote from his MTB training bible years ago.

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i wouldn’t dismiss all as just noise or trolling (although I agree there are a few dedicated users who seem interested in undermining TR). there are valid critiques to be made to the TR approach and whether, for example, 4 intense workouts a week are really the right way to structure a medium/high volume plan, when coaching consensus recommends 2 or 3 intense workouts a week. i think multiple things can be true, TR can work for people for a long time, and there are folks who are best served by a different structure

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Yeah, really interesting. My initial impressions have been that the UI/UX are terrific, and that FTP Detection is in fact a game changer, both for the accuracy and the fact that you’d have an automatic, consistent measure of your progress over time. I’d say it’s so good, it’s almost worth it on its own.

Even in this thread there have been a few people talking about how they heavily modify plan builder, but maybe that’s unavoidable.

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Sure, some will modify for a range of reasons. Others may run them with limited alterations, especially with the advent of Adaptive Training.

I used to apply some heavy edits by altering the Work to Recovery week layouts along with workout swaps in the days before AT. Since it was introduced, I am able to follow them largely as-is by accepting the suggested adaptations from AT. I do tend to add some one Endurance workout per week, but that depends on the plan and phase I’m in.

No different than many other things in life, people don’t often praise what works as much as what performs short of expectations. Squeaky wheel and all that with negative comments getting more air than positive from what I see. Broadly speaking, on the forum at least, I see far fewer “TR’s plan blew me up…” since AT was introduced. I’m sure it still happens with some reports discussed here. TR reps tend to step in to help investigate and answer those issues as they arise now.

Main point being that at least some of the long running complaints and criticisms have been reduced with TR changes like AT, AIFTPD and a revamp of the raw plans before AT even steps in. Despite those improvements, some still have new issues while others seem to be retreading complaints of old as well.

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What’s interesting about that is my journey with ‘FTP’.
The way Zwift embraced FTP based categories meant suddenly from 2015 it was all anyone spoke about! Combined with a smart trainer and then soon after my first Power Meter: something I’d trained myself to some really pleasing results without truly considering- was suddenly front and centre of cycling life!
Then of course, as a new TR user, it was the peg on which training zones were hung.

Next up, 4DP and (in response) TR’s progression levels have sought to move the conversation onwards and away from the obvious limiters of generic FTP based training zones.
And concepts like W prime and fatigue resistance also perhaps better reflect your racing ability.

And now, DrISM, Seiler and even Dylan Johnson (via ‘polarised’ training) have returned people’s focus to arguably the more usable metric- aerobic threshold.

So- I don’t think “knowing” your ftp is important any more.
Z2 is best done at the ‘talk test’ intensity, and supra-threshold intervals can be started at CP for that duration and adjusted from there.

Or put another way- modelling your zones becomes redundant once you learn how to feel them :grinning:

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Great post :+1:

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Ive never really looked at hv, but at mv IT IS 3 hard workouts a week and a “moderate” sweet spot one that always has accompanying notes to swap out for endurance if you want.

Its only sweet spot at all because users were self selecting shorter harder workouts over the longer easier workouts.

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TR is great. While it can suit the needs of many people, there are also limitations to it. Many (most?) will never run into those limitations being significant to them though.

However, at higher levels it does seem most successful athletes have individual coaches. Whether this association is causative or not is a separate issue.

A coach can provide more specific recommendations on your specific training, and can titrate your training with your goals and performance and recovery to a finer detail than software can. Having an external locus of responsibility in another person, especially one who is experienced and can act in the role of a mentor is priceless.

At a very basic level though, given that many/most high level riders are training more hours per week than any of TRs plans have in them… that on its own means that after a certain level people will likely move on from them.

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