Why does TrainerRoad do intervals 3+ times a week?

I just completed my first block trainerroad and I had great success with the sweet spot base mid volume I. I’m honestly thrilled with how much I improved in 6 weeks. The plan had me doing intervals 4x a week. I found it to be adequately tough and I substituted a few interval sessions for outside group rides.

For my next training block I wanted to up the amount of time on the bike up to 10 hours a week or so. However the high volume plan does intervals 5x a week! That is insane. I don’t understand why the plans do intervals so frequently. Doesn’t the research suggest that the optimal frequency of intervals is twice a week? I honestly don’t think I can complete the high volume plan.

When I look at the training recommendations from some high level youtube cyclers (Dylan Johnson, Vegan Cyclist, Chaz Turmon), they all embrace doing intervals twice a week at most. Any more is likely to lead to burnout and overtraining.

I created my own program with the hardest progessive interval workouts and weekly TSS increases just like trainerroad high volume plans. The only difference is I did 2x interval days, 3x endurance days, and 1x recovery day per week.

So this begs the question, why do trainerroad programs do intervals so frequently? I know they are the best value for your time, but can’t you increase the compliance with the program by dropping a few interval sessions and make up that TSS with some additional endurance rides on the medium/high volume program?

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Not all intervals are the same. You can do an interval that’s 2x69min at 69% FTP, it’s lower intensity…and it’s technically an interval.

Dylan Johnson (and others) advocate for 2-3 HIGH INTENSITY interval sessions a week, which is essentially what TR does. In high volume the sets that are high intensity are vo2 max and the stuff at 105-108% and maybe the over/unders. The others are tempo/sweet spot intervals. They’re still intervals, but they’re not high intensity.

I don’t have experience with every high volume plan, but I haven’t seen one on TR where it has you doing 4+ HIGH INTENSITY interval sessions a week.

Also, TR is built around training indoors and maximizing time. If they make the plans sitting there and spinning at an endurance pace for 2hrs, it’s boringAF…that’s one reason why it’s more centered around sweet spot work. Also because sweet spot work…works, and can be done day after day after day, even if they are all “intervals”

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If you look closely at SSB2MV and SSB2HV, you will note some important differences.

Specifically the HV plan includes NO work at or above threshold, while the MV plan does include quite a bit of work at and above threshold.

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No. I’ve been doing intervals three times per week for years due to time limitations. I’ve coached athletes with three interval sets per week. Managed properly, it’s fine. Wouldn’t do four.

This is an example of guys who have tons of time to ride and can spend long hours in the saddle during the week. Many people can’t do that, and an additional interval set is OK provided the intensity is managed properly. Some TR plans border on too much or just flat out are too much - that I agree with.

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The issue comes in more with short power build and general build where you have 3 HARD interval sessions and a fourth long sweet spot interval session. Not a huge fan of that, but sub in long zone 2 for the long sweet spot stuff and I think it can work short term.

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Adding to this, TR staff never tire to mention, that the HV plans are pretty special and definitely not meant for everyone. It’s is a sign that you know yourself very well when you’re doubting whether it is reasonable to do HV - hardly anyone on here could do that I reckon.

Luckily there are more ways to increase volume. You stated that you’ve done MV and substituted some TR workouts with group rides or unstructured rides. You might try to do more of the prescribed MV workouts and add outside or group rides to this next.

All this being said. TR and SSB in general are tough. Super effective, but hard work. If you’ve got 10 hrs a week or more to dedicate to your training you might as well look into traditional base. After all, TR does not advocate structured workouts as the end all be all, but offers this in the context of time restricted athletes. If you have time to spare, no one would argue that doing a lot of Z2 work without too much interval work can be effective as well.

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Generally they don’t. Unless you consider sweet spot intervals, which they are not.

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This week Ive got zero of what I would call real intervals, it just circa 66% endurance sessions. On weeks when I do intense interval session TR usually have 66% endurance sessions in between and rest days book ending the week. I think TR have the balance right.

There’s probably a few specifics that should be outlined here so that, if we all want to disagree, we can do so with some common ground.

Firstly, Dylan Johnson atleast, ALWAYS says “two, and occasionally three high intensity sessions per week”. So he doesn’t say 2 is the maximum.

Secondly, I’ve watched a lot of Dylan’s videos and, whilst he doesnt express it clearly very often, it seems that he considers anything above zone 2 in a 5 zone model to be “intensity”. That would then include sweetspot.

As said by others, sweetspot is not a high intensity interval. The two times a week doesnt apply. Im currently doing the HV plan and yeah my legs are pretty cooked, but overall body fatigue is fine. If i were doing VO2 stuff 4-5 time a week id be in a deep hole right now, but sweetspot, not problem. If the medium plan is not enough, and the high vol is too much, you could do the high vol, but scale back a day as needed. Remember, these are canned plans, everybody is different and, may need more or less from each plan and should customize as needed. You mention Vegan Cyclist, if you havent already, check out is current training (train like a pro) where hes doing 20 hrs a week in december.

Yes he explicitly states high intensity intervals on Tuesday and Thursday in this 4 day/week template for ‘fast on 6 hours per week’ video:

Speed intervals and “steady state” intervals which in CTS lingo is harder sweet spot and lower threshold.

Skip to 8:30 on this video: https://youtu.be/H9SvLGv2c1E

Lower intensity intervals are tempo in his videos.

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The term ‘sweet spot’ comes from the idea that it’s the best of both worlds in terms of maximizing productivity vs recovery time. So, based on that school of thought, sweet spot work is unique in that you should be able to do more sessions because you’re not getting as fatigued as you would with other high-intensity work. SSBHV throws a bunch at you, but you don’t have v02 work or over unders, so again kind of a unique case.
However, without knowing your prior experience, I wouldn’t jack up the volume after your first training block- completing that one successfully and seeing gains is a sign that you’re already at a good volume for you. If you don’t think you can complete a high volume plan- don’t, and there’s certainly no obligation to. More isn’t necessarily better, and HV is too much for many people!

The reason they have so much intensity in the plans is to sustain the forums. There wouldn’t be nearly so many questions if we all rode tempo, endurance, and the occasional hard effort.

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:rofl:

TR = TRolling :wink:

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Just kidding, Chad.

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I know, I thought it was super funny, and just playing along. :smiley:

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Also don’t forget the original plans all had Sunday being a long zone 2 ride. But the compliance seems to have been very low. So they swapped in longer but low end sweet spot on Sunday. In the weekly notes, Chad always gives a substitute ride that is zone 2. If you do that you will never have more than 3 “hard” rides regardless of how you classify sweet spot.

For what it’s worth in in SSB2 MV and I’m going to try to do the long zone 2 ride every Sunday and see how that goes/changes things.

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