TSS / Week Drop when Starting SSB MV1

So I am putting together my plan for 2020 and opted to basically repeat what I did last year by starting with SSB MV1 and progressing through a Mid Volume build.

One thing I’m struggling to understand is the “drop” in weekly TSS I will have when I start the Base plan. I am currently doing between 400 and 500 TSS/wk and the SSB MV1 will average only 347 TSS/wk. Last year I crashed in my last race so it was a good transition before moving to more TSS/wk but now I’m afraid that I could lose fitness by not stressing my body sufficiently. The high volume plan is out of the question at this time. Just such a huge jump in TSS.

I’ve basically considered three options:

  1. Proceed as normal if the drop in TSS is nothing to worry about.
  2. Modify the MV plan by adding one more day of Z2
  3. Modify the MV plan by doing “+” versions of one or two weekly workouts.

I see option 1 as the safe bet but may not have any increase in FTP whereas if the community thinks options 2 or 3 would be better, I’d almost prefer that to know I won’t drop off in fitness.

I just started the SSB MV1 last week, and I’ve also been concerned it’s not enough load for me compared to what I’m used to. This is my first experience with TR, so I wanted to be a little conservative. What I’m doing is taking the Wednesday workout from the SSB HV1 plan and put that into the MV1 plan and then adding a recovery ride on Monday and Friday. This will get my TSS in the 500 weekly range.

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What ended up working well for me is to make the Tuesday/Thursday workouts harder, and making the Wednesday ride a bit easier, occasionally adding an aerobic ride on Friday.
The advice of making your harder days harder and easy days easier has kept me from putting myself into holes that I’ve been in the past.

Don’t worry about the lower TSS in SSB MV1. SSB ramping of TSS is designed with the assumption that you are coming out of a rest/recovery period which may have included time off the bike and/or unstructured riding. Or, the assumption that you have already completed at least a Base and Build towards an “A” event or race season and thus need to give both your body and mind a down turn in intensity.

You can’t keep building fitness endlessly. The goal of an off season into Base training is to start at a higher level then you did last Base season. So if last season (2018) you started Base training at 220 watts and were able to build and peak to 280 watts, then hopefully this season you’re starting from 240 watts during Base in hopes of building to 300 watts. You must let your FTP drop to allow it to raise to a higher level or eventually you’ll lead to a plateau and start regressing, possibly grinding yourself into a hole.

I get allowing your hard earned FTP to slip a bit it tough to see. However, you’ll be thankful next spring when you’re hitting new PBs.


I agree with what you’re saying here. I think for my specific example I have already done my “off season random rides” and actually started doing SSB MV2 but outdoors to prepare for an event in three weeks. My problem is that I would immediately have to start SSB MV1 in order to finish my build phase on time for 2020. Therefore I will kind of have a dip in CTL where my ATL drops for SSB MV1 and I just wanted to reduce that drop if possible or necessary.

I would not worry about the drop in TSS. TSS is a number; your actual fitness is based on the work you put in, and you’ll be putting in plenty of training at an appropriate level and volume for where you are in your season.

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I quite like adding an extra 30+ minutes or so of Z2 to the end of a ride. I tend to aim for right around the middle of Z2, but I’ll vary it sometimes between high/low Z2, mostly just for the sake of variety. Its also pretty easy to add another 60 minute Z2 ride on one of the off days. You could add a ride on both off days, but I think its still worth having a day off.

You can also swap out the scheduled sweet spot rides for ones with more time in zone. I tend to prefer longer intervals, but simply adding an extra interval or two works great too. If I’m adding intervals, I try to keep the progression throughout the block. If I’m turning my 10 minute intervals into 15 or 20, I tend to also make my 20 minute intervals longer as well. You don’t have to limit yourself to the +versions of the listed workout, there are a lot of similar workouts that might be longer or have more intervals you can swap to. Alternatively, its pretty easy to simply modify a workout in the workout creator, if you’re not finding exactly what you want.

I much prefer adding more time in zone during base, than increasing intensity. As an exception to that rule, I will adjust intensity on the over-unders if they feel too easy, because I want them to feel like I’m actually going over threshold and back. If FTP improves throughout the block, the later intervals may not be challenging enough otherwise.