What Fatigue Score (or CTL) range/score should you be in to start base phase/season?

I am currently preparing to start a 12-week base phase, followed by 8 weeks of build and 8 weeks of specialty - a “traditional approach” if you will.

From January to March 2024, I engaged in a streamlined 12-week base + build (Polarized) process with TrainerRoad, riding about 8-10 hours per week to prepare for a cycling trip (to Girona). In the months leading up to that in 2023, I had done mostly “maintenance riding” due to some instances occurring in life off the bike. My overall natural fitness is pretty good as I clock about 7-8K miles per year, over 500K of elevation gain, and per TrainerRoad’s AI FTP, my current off-the-couch FTP is about 4.3 w/kg (at 6k feet of altitude where I reside).

I recently spent a week in Girona with some mates riding an excessive amount, seeing my fatigue score skyrocket - which was expected to occur. We tried to ride everything notable and I was not planning on recovering during the trip (cue awkward laugh).

I plan to “get back into training” this year and this will be my first time being self-coached (and leaning on TrainerRoad outside of the pre-Girona training I mentioned). I’m pretty excited.

TL;DR - I’ve been off the bike for almost 2 weeks now after my trip to recover. What’s a good fatigue score or CTL to start with?

Doesn’t really matter, IMO…whatever CTL you have will be your starting point. The point of the Base phase is to build the foundation for later, harder stimulus, or in your case, reset the system to build to another peak.

Your current CTL is what it is…now follow an appropriate volume plan and everything will sort itself out.

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Appreciate the feedback here.

Maybe a dumb question: if my fatigue is (too) high right now (it’s at a 35 according to Strava Fitness/Freshness), when I progress into more difficult training later, will I see any sort of plateau/overtraining if I don’t start “fresh” enough?

Not likely…that is far enough down the path that any residual fatigue you may have had from the Girona trip will be long gone. You’ll be dealing with the fitness and fatigue from the Base plan at that point, which should be manageable after a Base period.

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