Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Training Plan, and More – Ask a Cycling Coach 394

I think you’re way too concerned. If people want to not do SSB because it is not classical base or because it has other stuff than sweet spot, so what. Go do one of the messy Zwift plans. If people want to do HV because they think it’s a great idea from an hours standpoint, despite better advice, go for it.

Somebody has to be behind me in a race :full_moon_with_face:

On an honest note. The old handmade plans by Chad were amazing. There were times when we only had plans and didn’t have the TR calendar and it worked well.

Yes, many of the new things are great, but don’t forget how good the stuff was where you’ve started.

Volume was never really my concern. I only mentioned a use case as someone discounted the mere existence of TB LV as it sits. It was a distraction I probably should have ignored.

My primary focus in my original comment and related reply are aimed at more accurately differentiating TR’s Base plans via naming convention.

  • I have no idea if “Traditional Base” is even appropriate, but it has a history with that approach. I didn’t offer an option for that plan/method.
  • “Sweet Spot Base” is a known misnomer and would benefit from a more appropriate name for sure.

Maybe both need to be renamed?


Sweet Spot ==> Core or Pre-Build

For the training volume:
Low ==> Primary
Medium ==> Supplemental
High ==> Elite


LV to Social Rider
MV to Amateur Racer
HV to Elite/Pro Athlete

LV to Ideal Base
MV to Good Base
HV to Tough Base

IMO you’re going to see a tendency to go for whatever sounds like the “mostest”, whether you call it HV, “elite” or just list them by hours. Brains are generally better at short term rather than long term priorities, and I think that’s sort of the way we’ve been taught to think about fitness and self-improvement. I appreciate TR’s discourse in that regard, but I think ultimately the issue goes a little beyond them.

I do like the idea of denoting plans based upon their level of structure- something like a “flexible” plan that can work around outdoor/group rides etc presents its own value that isn’t tied to it being comparatively “less”


Agreed - seems odd to start as they have started doing without any intro, jumping straigh in. Just a few words would be sufficient. Please.

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Low- weekend warrior
Med- experienced
High- elite

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The problem loads of people are making here is to set value judgements against the plan names.

The aim is to encourage people to pick the plan that best suits them not their own idea of how ‘elite’ they are.

The best by far suggested are ones that take any ego away from it and are purely descriptions.







Ok, there seems a lot of things thrown around here for new names. Here is my take
Three overriding main thoughts:

  1. The main thing in naming should be real clarity around what they are for and where they focus. To help people filter between plans. (So avoid subjective names like mild, hard and tough, as they would not apply to all).
  2. For goodness sake, does no one look at the plans, read the description and then look at the mix of workouts!!! Sorry, but I would argue the names should help you filter between them and drive into the detail, to assess what they are doing for you.
  3. This is what I call “the 10,000 and six word problem”. You get this in “Values statements” on posters behind receptions in an office. You take 1000 or 10000 words of thought and conversation, and compress them into just a few words (assume six) and then expect everyone else to ‘mind read’ all teh subtleties and thought that went on behind them to construct the words. You have to explain what the real deeper meaning and importance of them is. The plan name is merely there to provide a holder/signpost for the rest of the detail.

More detailed thoughts:
4) Base build and speciality make immense sense as an over all framework (and I don’t recall anyone on the pod cast suggesting they be changed)
5) Low vol, mid vol, and high volume are all extremely descriptive and unambiguous. (and if you change these then you’ll need to go back and edit all the podcasts where you say "for goodness sake avoid High volume, and even mid volume, because consistency is important - and if in doubt do Low volume!) :slight_smile:
6) Most of the later build and speciality phase plans are pretty descriptive and don’t need changing.
7) The problem seems to lie in Sweet spot base 1 and 2. Most of the other Base 1 and 2 training plans seem to be quite descriptive. The issue that you are raising was calling the sweet spot base plans something that suggested it was not all sweet spot. On the other hand, if you called it anything else, unless you explain it is Z2 AND SS work (or start talking about the three zone model which would just confuse things) you are in a verbal mess. Base and sweet spot sound right to me.

[An aside: The 3 zone model calls such plans “Threshold plans”, so SS is better. When I do LV SS base 1 and I look at my training base % hours per week in intervals.icu through the base phase I am typically getting Threshold (70% Z1/2 30% Z3/4) because I am doing a load of extra Z2 work at the moment. However, that is because I am adding loads of Zone 2 training to get to 9-11 hrs per week on top of a low volume plan. When I move to SS Base LV 2 you introduce Z5 work, that will declare I am doing Pyramidal work.]

In other words, despite all these ‘helpful’ suggestions I am not sure there is a real clear unambiguous, simple renaming of these sweet spot base plans, that in itself would not still make me read the (censored) instructions and detailed descriptions to make sure I understood what they were actually trying to do :slight_smile:


It goes further than that though, doesn’t it. Reading this and some other suggestions, along with the recent Pod. People need to be guided into the correct plan, that may not actually equal the amount of hours available.

i.e. say 10hr availability, pretty good for most working cyclists. They should probably be on MV and add in endurance (various ways suggested in Pod). vs being steered into a plan that is full to their availability.

I agree with you, take out the ego.

Three random examples.


I’d disagree on that one. The term volume is interpreted differently by users.

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Agree with you, it is not volume. Volume is the hours of cycling you do in a week. The TR plans start with # of interval days and number of endurance days, believe it currently is something like this:

  • LV is 3 interval days
  • MV is 4 interval days and 1 endurance day
  • HV is 4 interval days and 2 endurance days

I keep hearing “LV and add endurance workouts” - what if you select an LV plan for 3 days of intervals, and add 2 days of other riding for a total of 10 hours? Clearly that is 10 hours of volume.

Volume is not the number of structured workouts in your plan. In my definition, structure includes endurance rides (endurance ride ‘structure’ is duration).

From a wider coaching point-of-view, ‘structure’ includes manipulating training load thru a combination of intensity/duration/load targets for endurance days, interval days, and group riding days. The total amount of time you spend riding per week is volume.


Thought during the section where they touched upon gravel racing that Nate started to say that Century would be his recommended plan. But then the conversation shifted. And then he started to say they should rename the Century plan.

Curious is there was more to what he was saying. @IvyAudrain ?

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just wondering, wasn’t the old SSB HV all sweet spot?

No, 5 interval days and one low aerobic/endurance as shown here Plan builder - too many “difficult” days - #11 by WindWarrior

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Hey! Sory I just want to clarify your question:
Are you asking if there was more information on recommended plans for a certain racing discipline?

Do you have a specific scenario with Plan Builder you’d like to run by me for a recommendation?

Let me know, I’m happy to help!

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I was just really curious what Nate was getting at.

My A events for next year will be 5-6 hour gravel rides with LOTS of rolling hills, but no sustained climbs. Forum reading in the past led me to believe that rolling road race is a good choice for that. And I think the podcast discussion reaffirmed that idea.

Was just really curious, thought Nate was almost suggesting that century was a good training option for gravel racing. Then he mentioned something about needing to rename the century plan, and then the conversation shifted directions.

Just trying to avoid any training plan FOMO as I head into next year. Lol

If I recall correctly I’ve heard TR state climbing road race is good for people who want to race the longer event. Gravel/ century plan is for people who want to have fun with great fitness.
I did climbing road race for BWR wafer which was 4 hours in length for me. I felt I picked the right plan going that route. Just my 2 cents :call_me_hand:

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If they were 10 minute segments…yes intro waste of time…but on a long podcast with no intro…it is missing something

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Huh, I find it completely weird. Really cuts into the friendly, family vibe I’ve come to expect from the podcast after all these years. Even though I know it’s intentional, it completely throws me off. But if I’m in the minority, so be it.