What’s a reasonable increase of volume (or TSS) over a few months?

I’m taking a break off work, and will have much more time to do rides (no real commitments, other than walking my dog). I plan to get stronger (mostly for long events), and can dedicate a few hours a day to that. How much TSS / hours is reasonable to add to my training?

Here is a bit of my training history:
Since I started:

And last 6 months (had 2 non-cycling injuries that caused “dips” in training)

I didn’t do any endurance sports before 2019. I’m currently on a polarised MV plan, which I like, but add 1-2h easy rides (50-70% FTP) on off days. Threshold workouts on this plan have felt easy so far (marking them as moderate, as require some effort, but I’m in no doubt about completion).

I plan to do Mallorca 312 in April, as well as some long distance gravel events after that.

Is switching to a polarised HV plan unreasonable?
Is this a situation where I should just get a coach (anyone to recommend that can cater to European time zone?) ? I like the easy of using TR (especially for indoor workouts - I find the TrainingPeaks sync to garmin painful, especially if I need to modify workouts).


Usually ramp rate of 3-5 ctl is considered sustainable. At some point recovery will become your main limiter but this is highly individual. I have increased volume from 3h to 12h/wk im my first year of riding without much problem. But around 10h/wk recovery and food off the bike becomes my problem. Just try and see how your body will behave. If you will increase volume by z2 there should be no problem with digging too big hole.


Agree 100% with this … the “fastest” way to ramp TSS without melting down is to add that volume via Z2. I have some n=1 experience with this coming back from some extended time off the bike due to illness. Ramping back up using SS as a primary vehicle blew me up … ramping via z2 was tolerated very well.

Of course, there is a limit to Z2 as well … but I think the overall principle is valid.

1 Like

Since the end of June 2023, I’ve successfully increased my hours/TSS/CTL. My CTL/Fitness has gone up 35 points and the results have been remarkable. I’ve used HV Polarized Base as a loose guide. Basically just getting in threshold Tues/TH and all else z2 at about +/- .70 IF. Saturdays though are usually some tempo efforts mixed in with z2. I don’t stress about the workouts just hitting TSS goals. My TSS goals/progression have been laid out by TrainingPeaks with a goal of a CTL of 110 for my last race of the season at the end of October.

I’ve never felt better, fitter and more motivated in my cycling career!


3 is a good sustainable number. I increased at 1.96 in six months and I having good results.

Hey @Noegros!

I don’t think going into Polarized Base HV would be unreasonable for you :slightly_smiling_face:

Looking at your training history, you’ve been crushing it, and if you’re feeling up for it, I say go for it. The added Endurance in the Polarized plan is the best way to add in extra TSS.

That said, just be super mindful of your fatigue levels; it’s really easy to overdo it and dig yourself into a hole. :melting_face:

Also, since you’re doing Mallorca 312 in April, I would look into creating a training plan with Plan Builder after your Polarized Base Phase. This way, your training plan will peak you for Mallorca, assuming that’s your highest priority event for the year.


The plan builder wants me to start with a plan ~now for mallorca, but I feel like HV is likely too much (tried before), and MV will not have enough low intensity riding (which I’m looking to do).

@Noegros, you can set the Start Date to whenever you want with Plan Builder. See image below:

You can always choose to do Polarized training for the Base and Build Phases when creating a plan with Plan Builder so you get a good amount of Z2. See the photos below:

Or from your Calendar once the plan has been applied. See photo below: