Volume vs intensity?

I am currently in my first week of the Sweet Spot Base 1 High Volume plan and after working through a couple of days and looking at the coming weeks, it seems like there is a lot of time spent riding “hard” so to speak. I find that doing workouts like Antelope/Geiger/Wright Peak-3 that I can do them and I’m not shattered after but I frequently find myself questioning my legs throughout the workout and if I will make it to the end. Coming from an endurance running background, I’m used to doing workouts 2-3 times a week with the other days being a “whatever pace feels good” run(s). I don’t think lack of fitness is necessarily the problem as I’ve been noodling around for about 3 months now and tested out at 4.1 W/kg on my first ramp test.

With cycling, because of the lack of impact which allows more volume at higher training intensity, is it normal to spend 5-6 days a week spending a large portion of time at higher percentages of FTP? It seems like it would shred your legs up and make it hard to continue hitting power targets but also there is substantial periods of recovery within the workouts. It could just be I’m too new and haven’t adjusted to structured training, it just surprised me a bit to see so much volume at high(er) %'s of FTP.

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In a word, NO. The High Volume plans in TR are intended for well seasoned riders who have gotten to a point in their training that they need the additional volume and intensity of this plan to progress.

The HV Sweet Spot in particular spends a TON of time at a relatively high intensity, even though it is below Threshold, it is an intensity that is not “easy”. It is demanding and rewarding in that sense, but not something for people without the right training history and pedigree.

Essentially, the TR HV plans are for a select few people. Pre-judging from your comments, I suspect you may want to step down to the Mid Volume plan at the very least.

That said, what lead you to selecting the HV plan?


Coming off collegiate cross country/track where I was typically putting in 100-140 miles a week. Started cycling during my break from running and was typically riding 12-20 hours a week. Generally speaking, I consider myself on the extreme end of the “endurance” training spectrum.

Even with the higher intensity workouts for the SSBHV plan, I don’t really notice any fatigue day-to-day, it’s more just during the workout, which I’m sure could partially be learning to adjust to actual cycling workouts.


I’m biased because I’ve responded really well to SSB HV, but I found that for me, having 5 pretty hard days is great and with the endurance Friday and off day on Monday, there’s enough down time to give the legs a little break each week. By the time you get to the really demanding stuff in late SSB2 you should have enough fitness built up that it should be doable. If you can handle the volume (sounds like you can with your background) I think you might be surprised at how you can progress with the plans and it’s a lot of bang for the buck


As you question, the lower impact of this higher intensity is more acceptable since it doesn’t pound our bodies in the same way as running. In that sense, it is very doable. The real issue is appropriate recovery from all the work that will lead to proper adaptation, and not excessive fatigue.

If you are handling the work and have proper recovery, then you should be good to go.


Sounds good. I’m guessing the fatigue in-workout is more due to the newness to the bike and less-so the workload. Thanks for the input, fantastic product and support.

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Good luck with high volume. I tried a modified version of it after performing well with mid volume for 4 years. I am single with a relatively stress free job and no other commitments. I lasted 4-6 weeks before I burnt out.

Like others have said, it’s really for well seasoned athletes. The 1%'ers. Not to underestimate your abilities, but I doubt you’ll last much longer in high volume if you’re new to structured training.


I say give it a go. Maybe.

I did Sustained Power Build HV (Dec 2018) with ~700-800 TSS/wk and, as @hubcyclist stated, I responded well to that training even though I only started doing structured training/TR a few months prior and hadn’t raced in 15 years.

One caveat though – if you don’t have the seasons under your belt, as others have mentioned, you had better be absolutely certain you have ample time for rest and recovery. This was really the only reason I took on a HV high intensity plan, because I also had the opportunity to sleep a lot and eat a lot without doing much of anything else. I wouldn’t advise doing a HI-HV plan in addition to a busy life.

I think the much more recommended route is a MV plan with additional rides if possible/feasible.


40yrs old
Have limited time with family
Upped my intensity because of what I considered low volume 5-7hrs a week to 400-500tss I was getting burnt. Every ride was intensity. My body was breaking.
I’m happily at 600tss a week @9hrs without a rest day. ( .65if 648tss this week)
I also really like double days for added TSS and adaptions.
My rest day is active recovery. The point is if you up The intensity do it gradually maybe one extra ride a week and increase every 10 days or two weeks.

Let me explain my point of view. I was following sweet spot base high volume 1, 2 and then did the first 2 weeks of general build. All of them were the high volume option. I had been consistent and then I peaked in February. I did a lot of virtual races, group riding and some high intensity workouts such as over unders and sprints. By early summer I was burned out physically and mentally. I had to back off for 2 weeks to get back to normal. Fitness wise, I am pretty much the same as you.

You can check out my topic here: Burnout, Off Season and Handling More Load

Lessons I learned from this:

  1. Take recovery weeks seriously aka don’t turn a 1 hour ride into a 2 hour ride because you feel “good”. Keep your rides really short. I train 10 to 15 hours a week so my recovery week will be approximately 5 hours long.

  2. Given my life situation I will opt for a low volume plan.

  3. Mid season breaks are a must to avoid physical and mental burnout. Before this fall, I was forced to take a week off the bike(cannot even ride on the trainer!) and take it easy for another week due to a type 2 AC joint injury on my shoulder. Long story short, I crashed and landed on my right shoulder. I felt physically and mentally better after this. My next mid season break will be in winter.

  4. Consistency is the key to success. I am currently following the century low volume plan and had to shorten an endurance ride(not part of the plan) due to lack of time. However, I was able to complete the other important workouts.

Keep in mind, I am not discouraging you from following a high volume plan but it is worth reconsidering. Check the following:-

  1. Can you really train 5 to 6 days a week at a high intensity and still feel “good” without avoiding a burnout soon. Since cycling is a low impact sport it will take you a while to feel the symptoms of overtraining.

  2. Do you have recovery weeks?

  3. Can you follow a high volume plan and be consistent? i.e, keep this up regardless of your life situation and if the weather gets better outdoors.

Good luck!


I started the year on SSB I&II HV. It ended up derailing the first half of my season, and I eventually got a coach to right the ship. Low stress life with little obligations and lots of time led me to believe I could do it. I completed mid volume plans last year. The problem is I could complete the workouts, but too much fatigue built up by the time I got to Build and races started in the spring. Ended up getting sick often with poor results.

My recommendation would be to proceed with caution, and watch for the warning signs.

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I was getting bogged down the TR plans, I thought it was too much intensity, especially so far from my target events. I ended up hiring a coach and now I realize that the plan had too much >FTP / VO2Max work.

I don’t get it. I’m one workout from recovery week and having completed SSBMV I. I don’t think it’s too much intensity at all. I mean doing GBMV x 2 this year and with the substitution of Saturdays rides for outdoor equivalent rides and a big endurance ride on Sundays I think my “periodisation” was more in the realms of 60% HIT and 40% low intensity. SSBMV I is the first I’ve done basically 100% adherent to plan and adding in more endurance-rides, because hey calories exists, so I’ve been doing around 5-600TSS/weeks instead of the planned 3-400TSS.

I can’t say that it’s too much intensity. Most of the SS-rides are below threshold especially considering H/R is below Z4 most of the time. Only time it’s above is on Saturdays for me and that’s because of those pesky O/U-workouts which I’ve come to love. But I guess we’re all different and listening to what one can manage is very important.

I lack that particular gene so I’m heading out for 2hrs of high intensity ice hockey before Galena tomorrow… :exploding_head:

Everybody is different. I find VO2 work hard, for me the build plans need to be low volume and then add in extra rides to get weekly TSS up to 500 range.

But sweet spot I find easier, and have done both SSB1-HV and the MV plans. At the moment I’m a bit detrained, so right now I probably could handle SSB1-HV but only by rearranging weeks and going with 2 weeks on and 1 week off. Instead I’m doing traditional base and 3x strength training.

The Dark Side population is growing. :grin:


Until I set out my plans for 2020, I had never even considered doing anything other than the low volume plans. I’ve always seen them as the ‘go-to’ building blocks. If you’re relatively inexperienced they’re great. If you’ve got a few years under your belt, you can add workouts, tweak and adjust to your needs.

This time around I am planning to try and complete SSB 2 MV. I’m only doing this because my A Race for next year will be a totally different challenge and I know I’m going to have to step my game up.


Here is my input.

46 years and married. Very busy and stressful job but mostly in the office.

I always do Mid Volume plans. I add around 130-150TSS via weekend fast group rides which is around 100K-120K that takes my TSS around ~600.

I use work days as recovery days. Especially after hard sessions, I try to keep my steps as low as possible and try be seated in the office all day.

Besides training, nutrition and sleep, two most important thing. You must a plan. I don’t miss my 8hrs sleep. and very careful with my food. I try to repair damage muscles as fast as possible with proper meal and rest. And yes I have cheat days and I can drink a bottle of good wine :slight_smile:

I always train at same time, after work and target my dinner as my last food of the day. I drink protein shake at least 1 hours ago I go bed (Just dont want to get up for toilet in the middle of my sleep).

If you follow a plan and train your brain, you will adjust and body will absorb the pain much easier.

Good luck.


Given this I think it’s no surprise than your able to absorb the training stress of the High Volume Plans. If you’re able to maintain 100+ mile running weeks without injury you’re clearly a very durable, able athlete.

Running is much more stressful on the body than cycling and there aren’t many people who can possibly imagine what that amount of stress that mileage creates. It may be that the lower volume plans are suitable for the majority but from this description you are very much in a tiny minority and may well cope with the stress of the High Volume Plans with ease.

With that background of running I’m sure you know you’re own body and it’s limitations and given there’s no day to day fatigue I’d see no reason to change your plans while they are working for you. Don’t be a slave to them and don’t be afraid to change or lower the volume if you need to but with the background you’re coming from it may work well for you.