Hi everyone! I just got back into cycling again after a 4 year break about 6 weeks ago. I signed up for a fondo on 6/4 and created a training plan around it.
My typical volume has been around 6 hours a week but TR has me doing 3.5 hours next week and 2.25 hours the week of the fondo. I get tapering during the week of the fondo but why next week? It seems like the more the merrier since I am basically a beginner again. Should I just add more endurance and SS riding to my schedule?
Tapering is highly individual. Two weeks before an event you’re not going to reap many benefits from additional training. If you trained with TR up until now, why question the process now? Your primary goal now is to show up to the start line uninjured.
Personally I taper for 10-11 days. Ride 90% volume two weeks out and some intensity is saved for that last workout. Then I ride 40% volume the week before and focus on a few short efforts to feel fresh but cruise around at recovery pace.
Tapering is very individual… what works for one likely won’t work for another. For example, some prefer a day off before the event, some end up feeling flat if they did that. Everyone is different.
That said there are some universal physiological “laws” that you can’t get around. The old saying “the hay is in the barn” rings true here. There is not much physiologically you can do in the 10-14 days to get better… but there is a lot you can do to mess up. The closer you get to the event the less benefit and more risk those hard workouts are.
Remember how I said peaking is individual? Personally I prefer a lighter easy week the week BEFORE the race rather than the week of. So I do my lightest week then get on the gas a bit the week of the event. This helps me feel recovered and not feel flat.
Ok… That said, (just my opinion… because this is all indicvidual) if you are only doing 6 hours a week I don’t see much need to drop the volume so dramatically. Sure the few days before the event don’t go do something stupid like a monster ride but maybe a 10-20% drop is more ideal. More importantly I’d ratchet back the intensity and duration of intervals. Again… the goal is to maintain physiological gains without too much stress. The goal is 100% recovery.
TR will serve a taper when you are in your Specialty Phase of a training plan. This is standard practice. As covered well above, tapers are individual and should be tweaked to your preference if/when appropriate.
That said, I question why you are in a Specialty phase since you restarted training only 6 weeks ago. I’d have suggested starting with a Base phase. Not sure of you used Plan Builder and selected something like “Advanced” or other settings that have you in a Specialty Phase now, or you just chose to add that to your calendar manually, but neither seems appropriate based on the info you shared.
I’d simply focus on a Base with such a short time before the event and so little recent training history.
The plan says base and I can’t recall what I chose specifically. I would have started with a typical base plan but wanted the most benefit in a short amount of time.
The plan has mainly focused on endurance and SS with some threshold. I have also been doing ~30 mile rides on the weekends and this event is only 62 miles. I really feel that I have gotten my legs back and have been making quick gains so this event should definitely be doable in that perspective. I don’t plan on blowing it up by doing any high stress efforts in the week before the event but also don’t want to slow the progress I made by dialing it back so much 2 weeks ahead of time.
On another note, I would like to up my next plan to high volume after this event but it looks like TR only recommends high volume for people with a lot of low or mid volume. Would I be overdoing it or should I just look at another mid volume with additional riding on top of it? I don’t race but like doing longer rides at a fast pace. Also, should I start with a base plan considering my current plan or move on to something else?
Other athletes in this thread have already given you some great advice. As they said, tapering can be pretty personal, so use this period to discover what works best for you.
TR plans will have your taper begin 2 weeks out from your A event, so the training that I see loaded up on your Calendar is what we’d expect to see. To reiterate what everyone else has said: you won’t make very much progress in terms of gaining fitness in these final couple of weeks, so keeping workout durations shorter while maintaining intensity is a safe bet for staying sharp while feeling fresher going into your race.
If you do feel like your taper workouts are a bit too short, we’d strongly advise that any additional volume you add be done at (very) low intensity. At this point before your goal event, having fresh legs is the goal!
As a final note, it does look like your Plan Builder plan had you starting out in Base before getting into the 2 week Specialty taper, which is what we’d expect to see.
Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions!
Thanks again for the great feedback everyone and thanks for pulling the plan Zackery.
@ZackeryWeimer Do you think I should move on to a base training phase after this or something else? I realize I’m playing catch-up at this point but I hope to participate in several more long rides throughout the summer.
Also, what are your thoughts on moving to high volume?
Since you’ve gotten through one Base phase (Sweet Spot Base I) during this plan, it would probably benefit you the most to move on to the second Base phase (Sweet Spot Base II).
It may also depend on when your next A race is. If you use Plan Builder again, it will take care of figuring out where to slot in each training phase for you!
High Volume is a somewhat misleading term we’re working on renaming at the moment. While the rides do get longer and more frequent, there is also a lot of intensity in those plans. We generally only recommend High Volume plans to athletes who have enough experience to know they can handle them without digging themselves into a hole.
As an alternative, what we typically advise athletes to do with more time available to train is to choose a Low Volume or Mid Volume plan and add on extra low-intensity riding. Low/Mid Volume plans will give you a great starting outline to work with and you’ll have “key” interval sessions to do each week. You can then add on that extra low-intensity work I mentioned to get some additional volume in (which is especially nice as we move into summer!).
Adding on that volume does come at a risk, though. It’s important to note how you respond to the extra training stimulus. If starts to feel like it’s too much to handle, it can be a good idea to “fall back” to the default plan to see if some extra recovery helps you feel better.
This article from the TR Blog goes over some additional tips that might help you plan out increasing your training volume.