When to abort a plan

Hi. I’m about to start specialty phase of my current rolling road race mid volume plan. However I have no events planned and had set May 29 as an arbitrary end for this training plan. Listening to the 355 Podcast I think I’m missing an opportunity to continue ability improvement by moving into specialty phase.

Would I be better off to end this plan and begin a new plan? I would really like to improve my hill climbing capabilities. As we are now moving into warmer months and I will be doing more riding (and training) outside I will be off the smart trainer more. It seems if I continue with the current plan I will be in stasis and can better use my time for further fundamentals improvement

Thanks all

I personally prefer to do base and build phases. I’ve done both base/build/specialty and base/build/base/build cycles leading into A events and prefer the latter. The base/build plans will work on developing your “engine” whereas specialty will sharpen event-specific capabilities while generally maintaining but not building your “engine.” I think it is a very individual decision, though.

Also, FWIW, consider your level of fatigue. When I did the base/build/base/build cycle I got burned out. While specialty hones those race-specific intervals, it also starts to lower the overall volume so you can regain some freshness. When I did base/build/specialty I hit an all-time FTP, but I think it was because specialty allowed me to shed some fatigue. The all-time high was short lived, though, as I dropped 5% soon after my event. From a lot of people’s perspective, especially if your A event is a race, then specialty did exactly what it should. My A event wasn’t a race and I was more interested in sustained improvement so I wasn’t please about the drop.

As @rkoswald states, a big benefit of Specialty is the drop in volume which can give the body some time to rest and recover. Base/build year round with little recovery can lead to burn out and plateaus for some people.
An alternative is to just do the first 4 weeks of Specialty. The volume & intensity tend to be consistent which allows for some recovery without the full reduction.

Here’s my fitness (e.g. performance manager) chart from intervals.icu since Oct 2019. The purple section is when I did the Century Specialty plan. The decrease in Training Load per Day (e.g. CTL) is due to the drop in volume in the plan to regain freshness and peak.