Why isn't this working? I'm getting...slower using TrainerRoad? How do I get this turned around?

+1 for this. I’m a family man myself and know that I can’t handle more at the moment with kids (= less/poor sleep) and busy days at work.

@Grasschopper, know that you can grow your FTP on the low plans from where you are now, so no worries there. (I’m living proof)

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This is just my own experience. Last year, just before Christmas 2017, I started structured training for the first time. I went immediately into the SSB MV and destroyed the first 6 weeks. Did not miss an interval, let alone a workout.
Then I retested and improved my FTP a bunch. The next six weeks were extremely difficult with several failed workouts. I realized that I had dug myself a hole and could not sustain that much TSS.
I dropped to LV and incorporated 3 strength training sessions into each week with mostly full body exercises but very little leg specific stuff. This has done wonders for my energy levels and it is much more sustainable for me. When life and time permits I add in an additional endurance or recovery ride to burn some more calories but nothing high intensity.
This is what I would suggest for you. Move to the low volume plan for your high intensity stuff and add in strength training and additional rides when you have the energy for them.
Eat a little extra on the days with high intensity and less on the other days. Give it a try but definitely stick with TR. You won’t regret it. Good luck.

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+1

I didn’t see anyone mention it yet but I found Matt Fitzgerald’s books “Race Weight” and “Endurance Diet” to be both enlightening and very very helpful. His DQS revamped my entire way of thinking about diet, weight loss, and performance increase.

His book Racing Weight talks about caloric deficits when weight loss is your primary goal, which sounds like it could be helpful for you.

I would encourage you to read both. My weight loss and performance has been positively affected by implementing ideas and ways of life that the books discuss.

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Failing more meant not able to complete at 100% but quickly became not able to complete even 10% down and having to go to 20%. I think I actually gave up on a couple all together. Yes that sucks.

Thanks for those…someone else posted the thread by @mcneese.chad about the 2/1 setup. I may give that a go next time SSB come around.

No I am very interested in becoming a much stronger rider. I don’t know what’s realistic but I’d like to see my FTP well north of 250 some day.

If I said that it’s not what I meant. All rides up until Dec 8th were done at 100%. Dec 8th was the first workout I had failed since the 2nd week of SSB MV1…so like 6 weeks of workouts.

Thanks for the link. Next time I’m doing SSB I will probably make that adjustment.

People keep suggesting the Endurance Diet and I just haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet. I also don’t do much reading but I"m sure it’s worth it and my partner will be interested as well.

Thanks to everyone who has responded. As noted we just started our first build phase this week and we dropped to low volume as opposed to mid so that we can work in some other sorts of workouts (lifting and other cross training). Having lost 50 lbs already I feel like when push comes to shove I can do the calorie counting and eating right. Having counted calories for a year I had stopped and clearly went off the rails. I’m back to tracking on MFP now and some things will just naturally decline, more specifically the added drinking and sweets that have come with the holidays. I guess I’m just not good enough at saying no.

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Chad has summarized and given examples, you may want to also refer to original source of plan adjustment info from my Reddit post:

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I’m going to strongly agree with the people saying this sounds like a fatigue issue. If you’re ever having to knock off 20% of your intensity, you’re tired.

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If this is truly your first foray into structured training I strongly suggest giving a low volume plan a try.

  1. Far easier to be consistent
  2. More ability to recover - less fatigued
  3. Allows you to manage calorie deficity/dieting a lot easier and more forgiving
    Even if it “seems” easy, it will boost morale and give you a serious sense of accomplishment.

The mid-vol plans are a big lift, and they can put you in a serious hole if you are trying to manage other outside factors (stress, kids, diet, etc.)

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+1 to this. You will still get faster on Low Volume plan. Better recovery and less fatigue. You can still ride more if you want, but make them recovery rides, lower intensity.

I’m hesitant to say it’s 100% my first foray into structured training as I did the Zwift 4 week FTP booster program a couple times last winter with good results. That said that program is MUCH different from how TrainerRoad approaches training and I feel like I’ve probably never had enough base work which was why I was interested in TrainerRoad in the first place…more complete training. Build a foundation and the peak can be higher…was my thought. Just to be clear as it sounds like many have confused my current focus on weight loss…when I started TrainerRoad 12-13 weeks ago I went in assuming I should NOT be on a caloric deficit and I had been eating more…this about 10 pounds of weight gain (so clearly too much and not the right things…I know this).

Moving forward my training will be done while dieting as weight loss is a priority over strength gains currently. Especially since I have a 3 day cycling camp in Yosemite coming up and there’s going to be a LOT of climbing.

This could be way off base so please take with a grain of salt …

If your number one goal is truly weight loss now you might go a year of Zwift first. Don’t worry about getting faster, stronger right now. You will get faster and possibly stronger but just take care of the bottom half of w/kg right now. Zwift is fun. As you improve join faster group rides. Work on your nutrition, calories, etc. Have fun and still work hard in Zwift. Zwift is so fun you might even have to be careful to not ramp up too fast. There’s nothing wrong with Zwift being part of “your” process to get more fit and healthy.
Good luck.

4 weeks…you’re still new, and that’s OK. I have been on TR for 4 years and race C1/2 and find mid-vol a lot to balance when i account for more than full-time job and then home life.

@Jonathan made an EXCELLENT point on the podcast last week that I WISH would just be the auto-bot response to any question about plan selection. “…the one that you can do consistently”. There’s nothing more to it than that.

It seems clear from your posts you are suffering with some motivation and that cycling performance is not the top priority. Grab some motivation back by banging out a low-vol plan that you can consistently complete the workouts on, even if its at 95% every time. So what if biking isn’t top priority, it’s not for a lot of people if they are honest with themselves. Focus on your goals, use TR to supplement the excercise, and knock it out. It’s not like you have much on the line to lose in terms of cycling races by trying, and I would bet if you do things consistently that not only will you get faster, but you’ll enjoy it more.

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Instead of traditional base + strength training, you might want to try strength + a Maintenance or Time Crunch plan (I always forget about those). Or you could go with SSB + strength. For strength I focus on core & upper body, at 56 it has made a huge impact on energy level and body composition. Feel like I’m in my 30s.

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I agree with @trpnhntr, if you want to lose weight and have time constraints then you might need to make your own plan based on sweetspot work that is similar to the high volume plan, just shorter. I would do Tu, We and Th all 60 - 75min sweetspot workouts not going higher than 92% ftp so you can do them over multiple days. Take Friday off and then do 90 min SS on Sat and Sun, again stay below 93% ftp.

As the weather improves during the year then substitute your weekend rides with longer endurance rides including SS intervals on the Sat ride.

I’d also continue to make the interval durations longer as you progress through the year.

You might not make the same gains in ftp that you would on other plans but you will be surprised how much you can gain by just doing sweetspot work. I got up to just over 4 watts/kg in 2017 without hardly ever doing anything above 90% ftp.

Unlike the TR sweetspot plans, use 3 weeks on 1 week off (ie easy rides). If you feel you need more rest I would go down to 2 on and 1 easy.

Lastly, if you are serious about weight loss then it might mean counting calories in the short term just to work out roughly how much you are taking in. It’s not much fun counting up everything but there are some apps out there to make it easier. Obviously you’ll be wanting a slight calorie deficit.

Good luck!

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My thought, you’re over doing it. Mid volume is intense for an experienced competitor. Sleep, food, and lifestyle will certainly impact this level of training. In SSB MV every workout takes you to the edge. They should be doable but painful in their own way. I can’t imagine focusing on weight loss while hammering five days every week. If you have to drop 10-20%, then I’m guessing you’re over cooked.

Years ago I dedicated a year to a pro coach and achieved my personal best. Not one week in that year was as difficult as every week in MV Base. Plenty of time was dedicated to endurance and recovery while targeting and building ‘skills.’

I wish you the best. You’re experiencing something we all go through at some point in this game. Good luck and keep us posted.

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Diet has the biggest impact on weight loss. Adding exercise on top of a calorie deficit obviously helps, and there may be a way to time your workouts where you are fueled OK for your workout, but still running an overall calorie deficit. A few thoughts as follows - I’ve found these to be helpful:

  • Cut all junk carbs, refined sugars, and maybe all high GI carbs also. This by itself may put you into a calorie deficit, even if the rest of your eating stays the same. If the resulting deficit is too big, make it up with fruit and vegetables.
  • Cut back on alcohol consumption. There’s a lot of calories in beer.
  • Do your workouts at a time when you’ve had a decent meal a few hours prior. Eg early evening if you can (after a decent lunch). This will allow you to do a higher intensity workout than if you are depleted (eg early morning). Despite this, you still may not be able to hit the intensity of all the TR workouts (because you are still in an overall calorie deficit), but that’s OK, given your primary goal is weight loss.
  • Don’t eat any sugary snacks or energy drinks before or during your workouts. It’s usually not needed for 60-90 min workouts. If you feel underfueled for a workout, better to eat good quality carbs a few hours before than sugar immediately before or during.
  • Eat a modest evening meal, and don’t snack before bed. Flavored sparkling water is a great way to fill you up in the evening if you are tempted to eat (thanks Jonathon for this recommendation on one of the podcasts!)

Best of luck with things. When you’ve dropped the weight, then you can focus on getting stronger :muscle::muscle:

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I did this too and set prs with a coach. I found every week in ssblv harder than any week she ever had me do! They should call it threshold base lol sustained power lv I’m finding even harder.

I miss the days of noodling around the island but I’m getting faster so it’s worth it.

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fwiw I’ve just dropped back to low volume, as mid volume was just too much with work and family life, and the resultant lack of sleep. I supplement with outdoor spins, or low TSS “endurance” workouts like pettit, whorl, baxter, beech etc.

It’s not just the training days that vary between volumes, but the length of work outs, something I feel is often overlooked. The other option (which I have done in the past), is do the mid volume and minus variations to counteract that.

My experience has it’s been hard to lose weight (as the primary goal), and build FTP. Modest FTP gains is all I really achieved. I think it can be done, but you have to be very efficient at timing calories to fuel workouts and recoveries.

On the other hand, with a static FTP, losing weight was still boosting my power to weight - whether that makes you faster kinda depends. On the climbs yes, but obviously on the flat total power normally wins. I live in a hilly region, so I got faster!

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Did you use identical gear selection for each ramp test? In ERG mode, a lower gear (bigger rear cog) will give a lower FTP based on the same cadence. A higher gear will give a higher FTP, because the faster flywheel speed and the resulting increased inertia give you a “helping hand”, especially at a high cadence. In other words in a higher gear you get a few “free watts”.

I tested the theory and I accepted a slightly lowered FTP when I tested with a slightly lower gear because I had made the decision to do all workouts in lower gears this season.

The takeaway is that if you use ERG mode you should ramp test in a similar gear to that which you will employ in most of your high-intensity workouts (from sweet spot through threshold to VO2 Max).

One cog different would have the potential to account for a 5W variance.

@Darkgerbil - hmm that’s very interesting. I’m not 100% sure if I was in exactly the same gear to be honest. I do most of my training in my big ring (50T) but vary the back up or down a couple so that I don’t just wear out one single cog. So I might have been in the same gear…or I might have been in one that was a gear or two higher…or lower. I’ll pay attention to that next time.

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