Training Plan Traditional or SSBB (First cycling Season)

To my Question

I am now cycling since June and I made huge improvements consider where I come from. When I do FTP tests in Zwift and now on TR I think I overachieve always by about 20 to 30 Watt, it seems I am just good at this hard 5 min there I can go really deep. When I look at my profile in Trainingpeaks, I can see that I am good at, Sprints, 1 min, and 5min (323Watts from the last 5 min of the FTP test) efforts. So I think I am strong at VO2 max but bad at riding longer at Threshold the leg pain starts early there and then I tend do spin 5 rpm faster to make I hurt less… I would like to work on that part. Since I have a lot of time and no event I train for I am wondering what Training plan is better for me. Traditional Base Build Mid. Volume or doing Sweetspot Base Low Volume with an additional 4-th ride. I like to be on the bike 4 times per week minimum. If I recommend to do the SSBB Low Vol. what type of workout you recommend as a 4-th, Endurance, Tempo, Threshold, Sweet spot?

For someone cycling only for his first Season will I benefit more from the Traditional Base Approach then someone who has already more season in him? Or is Sweet spot Based training still better for me?

Some facts about me, in case they are important.

39 years old

73 to 75 kg

TR FTP 240

Lost a lot of weight since Sep. 2019 20kg

Now shifting focus from losing weight to increase Power, build more muscle therefor eat a bit more, no Cal deficit anymore.

Thanks for your opinion

It’s hard to be objective about one’s own capabilities, given our feelings are entirely subjective. I would schedule in a 20min FTP test to compare to the ramp if I was concerned, or if you’re already certain take down the intensity 2-3% on your workouts and see how you feel after a week or two. For most people it’s not really necessary, just go with the ramp result.

The decision to choose SSB over traditional base is many and varied, primarily TR are looking at “bang for buck”, and that means sweet spot work. So unless there is some kind of physiological or medical constraint on you, SSB Low Volume is the way to get going with TR, and keep doing your weekend out door rides.

Enjoy :slightly_smiling_face:


I would go traditional as opposed to a ton of sweet spot. It really help you develop really well and you won’t get roasted mentally from too much of the same thing.

Good luck!



:thinking: sweet spot base has way more variation in the workouts than traditional base. And doing 2hr trainer rides for 8 weeks in a row can be fairly taxing mentally.

Here’s my 2 cents as someone in your shoes last year, coming into my third ‘season’ on the bike and looking to fully plan out and optimize my year as best I can. From hearing jonathan talk about why he did traditional base coming back from his knee injury, it was partially because he wanted to have the ‘low and slow’ workouts to really work on form and build up gradually and as someone who is new to the sport I can benefit a lot from spending time devoted to form and build slowly. Also, it seems like traditional base can be more effective if you have the time to devote to it. Problem is there’s no real way of knowing because you can’t do a direct comparison of one plan over the other.

Bottom line, I think there are pros and cons to either, and you’ll get people on here who are 100% sweet spot until they die, and others who have seen great progress with a traditional base or polarized approach. Final point, being new to riding, and starting with structure, you’re going to see such massive gains either way that it really comes down to what’s your preference for riding. Do you want to do shorter and more intense workouts, or longer and less intense workouts.

To dial in your training without an event, use the plan builder and pick a discipline you want to get better at. and that will guide you to the correct build and specialty plan, and you can then edit the plan if you want to do traditional base instead of sweet spot base.

Final points, if you decide to go sweet spot base low volume, and want to add a ride, add in a longer z2 endurance ride on the weekend. And for traditional base mv, make sure you look at the third block before diving in, there’s some sneaky intensity and really long z2/z3 rides that caught me a little bit by surprise.

And good luck, have fun, gonna have your best season yet!


I’ve read (I’ve got it bookmarked somewhere!) that beginner age-groupers would be better served doing 2-3 seasons of SSB first, basically to jump start their physical adaptations etc., and then transition to Trad Base in latter seasons. :man_shrugging:

My approach…think about where you want to be with your cycling life in 10 years:
If you think you’re still going to be racing and having a blast, then start with Trad Base. Keep doing it and the substantial results will really start showing up in those later years.

If you think you might only race for the next 5 years, stick with SSB. It’ll give you a boost every season, enough to be competitive.

If you have no intention of racing/competing (“no event I train for”), you should do whatever you find enjoyable; maybe a hybrid – SSB during the week and long Trad rides on the weekend.

Good luck!

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You sound like someone who wants to improve as a cyclist, yet you say you have no event - why do you want to be a faster cyclist? Is it because you want to compete next year, is it so you can hang with the local club, is it because you want to do better on Zwift, do you want to go touring? I ask because different requirements need different adaptations, so should have different training stimuli.

If you are relatively new to indoor interval workouts, then I would choose SS low volume and have the extra ride as a Zone 2 ride (outdoors if possible). I don’t think that jumping into a mid-volume traditional base plan would be much fun - it’s a lot of time on the trainer riding relatively easy. That said, if you are doing this for touring or super long rides, trad base might be just what you need (and if you want to watch TV on the trainer it is ideal).
I did some of the traditional base stuff this year because I’ve been injured, but I struggled to fit in the long weekday rides - 1 hour of SS is much more manageable that 1hr 45 of zone 2. If you are going the trad base route, check that you have enough time for the duration of the rides, not just the number per week.

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It’s hard to see the appeal of doing Fletcher three or four times in a week, then Virginia three or four times in a week, etc.

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Having done both Traditional Base MV being new to TrainerRoad and SSB MV twice now, I saw good results either way. So as far as gaining fitness and you being new to structured training, both will likely be effective.

This is really it. Traditional Base can be pretty boring and mind numbingly tedious unless that’s just what you enjoy. However, being new to structured training you may find this longer less intense structure unappealing. On the other hand, because you are spending less time on the saddle with SSB, that lack of time must be compensated with increased intensity. So there’s no wrong answer, just what you prefer.


Thanks a lot for all your quality Feedback when we just go by what i like it is a mix to be honest.

Would be something like this:
5 to 6h of riding per week.

Since i am doing Low Volume strength training 2 times a week for 1h, i cut down my riding time to about
5 to 6h per week.
The strength training i do is because i mentioned i lost a lot of weight got some nice muscles on the legs now but the rest of the body is a fair bit behind the legs to a point where it effects my position on the Bike, Back, Core, Arms also need somewhat of a base i guess.

Also I enjoy to have some longer Endurance rides on the Weekend like Sunday 1:30h to 2:00h.
Or a light 1h Workout on Sunday morning and 1h Socialride not hard on the same day.
I can see that 4 x 2h Sessions per week can be boring, but one long session i will enjoy for sure.

Over that last months i increased my TSS every month, well that is wrong my TSS just went up and up and up, beginner mistake now i know.

The week after new year my TSS for that week was about 900+ and the 6 week avg. says 720 i think. I see now that this is fare to much and it will negative impact the training. I think Forum on Trainingpeaks did show -40

The good thing is i can now look back at the data and see that i had the best performance gains, and had the most fun when my TSS was 450 to 600. So this gives me a good feeling for now where my limit is, and where to stop.

So i think i will do the SSBB Low Vol training for now 3 Rides and add a additional 1:30 Endurance Ride on the Sunday. also i have the 2h of strength training on that week.
If i feel to tired i always can skip the Sunday ride and reshuffle the week so i get a extra rest day.

So the week will look like this:

Monday off
Thuesday --> Ride 1 1h
Wensday --> Strenght Training 1h
Thursday --> Ride 2 1h
Friday off
Saturday --> Ride 3 1h:30 (Moust TSS Ride)
Sunday morning --> Strenght training,
Sunday late afternoon --> Ride 4 can be Endurance Ride 1:00 to 1:30h or anything i feel up to Zwift Events or a short Race also i can skip the Ride in case if feel i need a extra Recovery Day

Estimated TSS per week 420 to 500 with the Strength training included.

Also in case the 3 Sweetspot sessions drain me to much, i can adjust my FTP slightly i guess.

Does that make sense?
I guess with this training i need to make sure, the nutrition side gets good planing a swell.


Looks perfect to me. As with any plan focus nutrition and sleep. You’ll be on your way to the fastest and strongest season yet!

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As another late to cycling noob, I offer the following thoughts:

  1. Traditional base Involves too much time on the trainer for anyone new to indoor training. The TR team advises SSB LV in most cases and I have always thought that some part of their recommendation is based on data they have on adherence to plans in addition to science.

  2. SSB LV + 2 strength seasons/week makes for some hard weeks despite the low volume plan. Based on your TSS data, it looks like you can handle it well but you will need to be mindful of recovery days and nutrition as other posters have noted.

  3. SSB LV1 is fairly monotonous once you get through the first week and into multiple sweet spot workouts per week. There is more variety in SSB LV2. I would not be afraid of substituting one 1.5-2 hour easier ride like Baxter for one of the sweet spot per week during SSB LV1 if you need it for physical or mental recovery.

  4. Be wary of adding TSS through hard efforts like Zwift racing during indoor season. I do this to break up the training monotony but it usually sets me back.

Good luck.


Traditional base and sweetspot base both have their place in training. TB is effective at making positive aerobic adaptations and pedal form refinement, but takes alot of time to see the results and it lacks the focus of muscular endurance that SSB has. As a new cyclist you will see much more benefit from a focus on muscular endurance while in base training. SSB also typically does a much better job of raising ftp. Consider doing TB have after you have taken the low hanging fruit of SSB.


Thanks a lot for the good advices from all off you. Sounds like we have a plan here :). If you guys are interested i can post my progress here.

Today I did a 1h Sweetspot Training (Monitor). And it did feel good, i actually did raise my FTP by 2% 242 now at the beging of the Workout since. My HR was 161max/Avg 144. My absolut Max HR is 183 bbm and i had 2 or 3 events where i did ride at 170bbm avg well paced effort never went into the 180is.

Am i right that this 170bbm is where i need to be when the Threshold sessions start?
So my FTP that i have set seems about right i hope.

Also i noticed that the last interval from the 6x6min @ 90% FTP was so easy it was over before it started. The ones before did seem much harder and where hard. I guess this is a mental thing, being confident that you have that workout in your bag and that it is over soon did make the suffering go away. And the positiv thinking startet.

I think if i can change the way my brain works when i see 6 hard intervals coming up i could perform a lot better. Just looking at every interval like it is the last one of a set. How you guys do it? Any good tips?
I guess the underlying reason for this is the fear to fail the goals you have set your self and specially with Sweetspot Workout, where your head says, this is supposed to be doable for you everyday since it is not Threshold. I am just thinking to much…

Again thanks a’lot for the support and the kind words.
Great community

Be careful about raising your ftp, both early in your structured training career and early in the plan. It takes time to get a feel for how sweet spot should feel, and also the plans are progressive starting ‘easy’ and getting harder forcing your body to adapt. If you truly feel like the workouts are too easy, bump up a couple workouts in a row, and if you’re still able to nail workouts then set it. But given that you’re going to hit your body with a lot of stress, somewhat out of nowhere, I think it’s better to start conservative then be aggressive.

The final interval is generally easier because mentally you know that you’re done and you can give it your all. I just trust in the process and know if my ftp is set right, I slept well, and fueled well, that the workouts will be doable, and if the intervals are crushing me, crush it back.

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