TSS - stuck in the middle

I have been competing for over 25 years, I am now 46 and in my 3rd full season of cyclocross. (before I did Mainly MTB and road). I am a midpack rider. (FTP currently 229 but is normally closer to 280 when fitter) 77kg

This year due to family/work I didn’t start my structured training until late, I am now in the middle of Sweet Spot base Low Vol II.

I felt Mid volume was too much with also racing nearly every weekend, so went for the low volume. When I have had the odd weekend without a race I have increased the workouts, taking them from the equivalent place in the Mid volume plan.

I have been surprised how although I have felt tired in these weeks, I have been able to handle them and my fitness has been on a upward curve.

How do you know how much TSS your body can handle? Is it just a suck it and see and add maybe an extra workout each week to the Low volume plan, then to retest when I start the Build faze?

It is a common issue, overload with TSS and you can go down a hole of being tired, not being able to finish workouts as strong as you should. The key I found was to build slowly. I went from 300-500 and it put me into a hole for weeks. So I backed off and increased over a few weeks, then backed off, increased again and backed off. I can comfortably handle 600 weeks now. The most important factor is listen to your body.

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You’ve got the right idea. Choose the lower volume plan and add on aerobic work or anything you can handle as you see fit. These plans aren’t a perfect fit, but it’s typically easier to execute them successfully if you add rather than subtract.

The suck it and see approach with a LV plan and then adding to it when you feel able to is pretty solid. Especially with 25 years of training behind you - you’re going to have a pretty good feel for how much you can handle without overly sweating the numbers. And TSS is not created equal - TSS from high intensity intervals is a lot tougher on the body than TSS from long steady rides.

I think following the plans to the letter is great for those who are relatively new to the sport and have little feel for how much training is needed to stimulate improvement, but without overdoing it. I think the more experience you have the more you are able to adapt the plans.