Why is there no two high intensity workouts per week training plan?

I don’t do group rides, these are solo efforts. The terrain around me doesn’t allow for easy Z2 rides outside. So the only time I get outside I get very excited and end up doing solo race efforts.

I’m only in my second year of riding, so yearly periodization was not really on my radar. Basically I trained all of that time, but didn’t do those hard outdoor rides from October to March.

Last summer I pretty much did intensity four times per week and two of those hard outdoor rides per week. Learned the hard way that this was a bit much.
I’m pretty happy with my current schedule but my OCD kicks in as soon as I have to delete or skip one of the three trainerroad workous.

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The LV sprint and Olympic tri plans are 2 bike workouts a week

yea, not much of a sprinter nor a triathlete

You could take a look at a medium or high volume plan and substituted your current outdoor rides for the planned workouts? I think that might get you closer to what you are looking for.

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+1 on this. And if there is too much intensity you need to make some judgment calls about what is important. …

I break my season into three phases (outlined below). Never would I recommend three high intensity/ interval sessions in a week. Threshold and a long ride count as a “hard day” which I max out at three in a week at most.

Volume and consistency are key. And recovery is a piece of the puzzle most often overlooked.

Phase 1: Base.
Informal training, build mileage/minutes. Usually about 6-8 weeks. One long ride, some pick-ups and maybe a threshold. Keep 3-4 days between any low key intensity. Don’t be confined to a 7 day week. Key here is to keep it chill.

Phase 2: Specificity
Incorporate some hill reps, VO2 & threshold. Keep the long ride going. Keep the mileage/minutes going.

Phase 3: Competition
This is where people tend to over do it. Races are a hard effort. You need to recover from them. Too much in this phase and you’ll break down. Race your races, not the workouts.


Just replying to the title… i completely agree. My experience tells me i can’t manage with more than two high intensity workouts (ie anything over endurance pace) per week. The rest of my rides are endurance or recovery…

Just to make sure it’s not missed, the TR Experimental POL plans in Mid and High Vol’s are 2 “high intensity” workouts and either 2 or 4 “low intensity” workouts per week. Worth a look at least for anyone wanting a more direct option from TR and not having to do swaps and such for the typical TR Low Vol plan.


I like your philosophy… have you done any experimenting with how many weeks you spend in each phase? I tend to think I’m going to be better the higher up i drive my volume in phase 1 as it allows me to do higher intensity and increase my frequency of hard rides during phase two when I’ll usually do a solo self paced 1-3 week very hard “cycling camp”

You’re right… in my experience there’s just no way around the volume piece. More time building up, the longer you can hold peak form. (Or fade a bit slower anyways).

Generally base for me is a couple months (6-8 weeks). Just have fun riding, ride with friends, cruise the beach trail… whatever is low stress physically and mentally. That doesn’t mean you don’t rip a downhill or climb every now in then, just that you do it because you want to, not that you have to.

The second phase of training is actually my favorite. It is the “joy” of hard work that this phase of training is all about. The length of this phase depends on a lot of things. Like you said, the longer the base the longer you can live in this phase. Training years also is a big factor here. For example High Schoolers I have found have about 4-6 weeks before they plateau and begin to see negative decline. (Many factors at play here: sleep, body growth, school stress, etc.). For adults with years of fitness history I’ve seen it go from 8-12 weeks. But again, depends on a lot of factors.

Competition phase is kinda tricky. Ideally this would be like the championship rounds of track & field. Could be anywhere from 1 week to 6 depending how good you are. XCO and the like are a bit different in that many local races are set up as a series where you earn points every race, then the final is double points. So you want to be in form early but peak at the end. I hate to say it but I’ve gotten this part right more as a coach then as an athlete. And it has gone both very good, where everything went right… and it has gone very bad where everything that could go wrong did.

Training is as much an art as it is a science. And what works for one person may not work for another. That is what makes this sport so great!

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I was going to suggest the Polarized option as well.

A few weeks ago, I found myself asking the same question as the OP. Due to injury (broken Scapula 6 weeks ago), I had to scrap all my A races that were happening right now :frowning: And I return to a TrainerRoad SweetSpot Base HV plan in my garage while my shoulder healed up.

The first phase of this took my SW PL’s all the way to 9 - 10…and the workouts were starting to recommend “if you can finish this you should do some dedicated VO2 work blah blah blah”…and then after a rest week, and due to some stressful work commitments, I wanted to reduce intensity days a bit…clicked on the Polarized option, and it spit out a plan I really like the looks of…2 intensity days (VO2 and threshold 1 each…generally) on a Tuesday and a Friday). I usually do the ‘outside’ version of these workouts on hills in my neighborhood…and then rest of the days are filled out with all Zone 2 workouts which I love…and I ride long Zone 2 on the weekends anyways.

The Poloarized plan option seems to fit my current lifestyle very well…and still has me working toward a goal. 2 weeks in and I like it a lot…


Are you following a structured plan if you take a plan designed for 4 hours per week and add 9 on top of it?

I would say you’re not following the plan now so I would swap the long hard ride for one of the VO2 workouts.