Training consistency need help (low or mid volume)


I’ve been cycling for the past three years, but have failed to really get consistent with my training which has led to to inconsistent results (suprise suprise). Cycling started out as a social activity which friends, but they have since dedicated significantly more time and effort into training than I have. I don’t want to spend an equal amount of time (they send up to 15 hours a week) but do believe that by taking a more structured approach I can end up less dead at the end of our shared hobby rides :wink:

Most of my training so far has been one or two bigger outdoor rides during the weekend, depending on if this alone or in group a single ride can be in the 250 - 300 TSS range with peaks up to 350 TSS (3 to 5 hours of riding). This is in hilly terrain. Often being the only ride I do in the week, does not lead to consistent improvements. My FTP is currently sitting at a fairly low 215.

So turning to structured training I’m debating the following three options:

  • Low Volume plan and substitute the highest TSS ride with the outdoor ride. This lands me at about ± 370 TSS a week (120 indoor + 250 outdoor).
  • Low volume + heavy outdoor ride on top. 4 rides total. This would be in the 450 to 470 TSS per week.
  • Mid Volume and substitute up to two workouts per week with an outdoor ride, depending on the intensity of the outdoor ride. Try to stick close the the Mid Volume total TSS of ±400.

Option 1 seems the most manageable, but that leaves me with only two structured workouts a week. Is this enough to get the benefits of structured riding? Option 2 seems a bit much TSS wise at this point. Option 3 seems the most flexible and allow for 5 structured workouts on weeks with no outdoor rides and down to 3 structured rides with 2 rides substituted for an heavier outdoor ride.

Can anyone help point me in the right direction? Thanks!

Given your current volume, it sounds like option 1 is a good place to start, and if you find you want more, move up to option 2. I’m a big fan of incremental increases and it sounds like #1 is already an increase for you.

option 2 is the only good option IMO.

the hobby group ride is largely ‘junk’ miles. TSS is not the only measure of work done and by subbing out one of the three LV workouts you are tanking the progression of the plan. Group rides dont tend to spend the requisite interval duration to offer a great training stimulus(unless the group is doing an actual structured workout)

I don’t believe that any miles are junk miles. If you don’t want to be lagging at the end of 5 hour rides then you need saddle time.

I would do option 1 or 2. Even option one with an extra endurance ride would be good - 4 rides per week is a decent schedule to keep up on the hobby rides.

Work on consistency. Getting on the trainer everyday for even 30 minutes of Z2 is better than doing nothing and then trying to do one big ride a week.


So this is depending on what phase of training you are in but since I’m in a build phase I’ll reference that.

If you can nail two HIIT workouts indoors and then plug in your outdoor ride on the weekend I think you’ll start seeing results pretty quickly. I think even the TR LV SS Base plans throw in some intensity like VO2 Max.

Super generalized here but:

VO2 Max on Tues indoors
Under/Overs on Thursday
Outside Club ride Sat and/or Sunday

The key will be nailing those indoor rides. I’m sure the consensus here will be to stick with a LV plan and adjust accordingly. Don’t go for a MV plan until you’ve proven you get do this first. It will just frustrate you seeing/modifying all those workouts. I only do MV during the tough winter months when I’m 95% inside and know I’ll do them all.

Another key point will be acknowledging your weaknesses on your club ride, is it sustained efforts, short punchy moves? Do you just need more endurance? Apply that to the 2 focused indoor rides.

When I say ‘junk’ it’s in regards to the goal of the training plan. I just don’t believe that there is enough stimulus in the LV plans(especially Base) to be subbing one of the structured workouts for a erratic group ride. Adding it on? That’s a great idea! If you are capable of handling a 250-300 TSS ride, you should be able to tolerate a 450-470 TSS week. That said 3-5 hours of riding probably isn’t 250-300 TSS.

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