Why TrainerRoad Planbuilder doesn't taper before an A race? [RESOLVED ✅]

Uh…I guess that’s a question. Sorry. Didn’t mean to imply I had the answer…

But, clearly, TR does not taper an athlete before an A race. I give you my last several weeks of training

A event ‘T minus’ 3 weeks TSS: 393
T minus 2 weeks TSS: 418
T minus 1 weeks TSS: 391
Week of A Event TSS: 282

The bulk of TSS reduction during the week of the A event comes from just eliminating the two workouts that would otherwise be scheduled in the days leading up to the event. The two on-the-bike workouts earlier in the event week both have week-over-week increases in TSS. (I mean, tuesday workout in the week of the A event has higher TSS than tuesday workout from the previous week).

I usually never follow the TR non-taper taper. What is the forum’s opinion? Do you follow the TR non-taper taper or do you do your own taper thing?

Just going by the numbers you posted, your TR plan does taper before your A event. So I am confused why you claim it doesn’t. I reckon what you want to say is that TR’s taper does not reduce volume and intensity sufficiently, and not for long enough.

The numbers you posted are not very useful in isolation:

  • What is your usual training volume (in TSS and in terms of time-on-the-bike)? How does that compare?
  • In those taper week(s), what do workouts look like? How much are volume and intensity reduced?
  • What does your event look like? An ideal taper for a very long endurance event is different from a taper for a crit race. (I don’t know whether Plan Builder takes event duration and type into account when planning its taper, but I feel that’d be quite important.)
  • Why do you think TR’s taper is insufficient? Have you tried it to tapers you manually adjusted? If you haven’t tried TR’s tapers, I’d be very cautious to judge.

There’s a bug sometime, report it to support to see why in your case the taper is incorrect

I just made custom plan for myself for a gravel race wo primer races and for fun I fiddled with different default setups to see what’s the result as a plan.

Planbuilder makes difference in structure at least if you choose to be raced in a national level, or not. I didn’t dug that deep though to see taperings . Just looking through big lines between different road and off-road plans.

From what I’ve seen and heard, tapering choises vary widely. Personally I’m not going to get fixed to a program in last days, going more by the feel for sure.

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Just taking a guess here but is it possible this amount of TSS is so low that TR did not believe a taper was necessary? That reducing workload would result only in a loss of fitness and not more freshness as welll?

Hard to know just by seeing TSS. You don’t judge value at a restaurant by dividing cost of meal by weight of food.

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All right, I hear you. Let’s go through the workouts by name…compared week-over-week…on the week leading up to the event. Maybe it’s just the definition of ‘taper’ that is confusing us.

Workouts in the week leading up to the race:

Goethe, TSS 84 compared to previous week Lola -1, TSS 70
Shortoff +1, TSS 83, compared to previous week Langley, TSS 80
Dicks -2, TSS 84, compared to previous week Stevens +1, TSS 82

So in the week leading up to the event, intensity remains constant but overall workload is ascending. That is why I call it a non-taper taper. Because duration, frequency, intensity don’t decrease. They either remain the same or increase.

In a traditional taper, intensity would remain the same but duration would decrease in the days leading up to the event. Especially in the last 7 days TSS might be 50% to 70% lower than peak TSS during the last block of training. (just to explicitly state what I mean by taper…not because I think you don’t know what taper means)

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Who knows? The last week TSS is ‘so low’ because TR scheduled no workout the day before the event and TR doesn’t know what the TSS of the event will be. So no weekend workouts chops off the majority of planned TSS.

I’m just fishing for how many people on the forum actually follow TR non-taper taper & how many do their own thing.

Could be a bug. Let @ZackeryWeimer or support have a look.

Didn’t mean to insult but less than 60TSS per day for 3 weeks before an event is objectively a low number

No offense taken.

@cinzanoframepump what’s the ‘TSS cut off’…the point above which you think a taper is appropriate and below which you think a taper is not needed? Do you follow TR taper recommendations or do your own taper?

I’m curious what types of workouts are listed in the taper weeks, and also what type of event you listed as your “A” event. Tapering is a reduction in volume, but not necessarily intensity. I would expect to see shorter workouts, but you may still have shorter, high intensity intervals.

Edit: to answer your question, I follow the TR taper as a guideline, but really I go by feel. If an easy spin or more sleep makes more sense for me that day, I’ll do that instead.

If I coached someone doing 60TSS per day I wouldn’t taper them. I’d say if you’re tired sleep some more and don’t ruin your legs a few days out or do any yard work or stuff like that before the event.

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This is what has always happened with my TR plans. Here is one I just made for what would be my a-race (not following a plan at the moment). I chose gravel as my discipline.

In the past I have more or less followed their tapers. If I was following this plan, I would skip the thursday workout altogether and on friday I would do one 30-40 minute ride with a few 20-30 second sprints in it. I always ride the best the day after a short ride with a couple of very hard efforts.

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So, 7 days before race day, Goethe. 7 days before Goethe, Lola-1. 5 days before race day, Shortoff +1…7 days before that Langley. 3 days before race day, Dicks -2…7 days before that Stevens +1.

That’s why I say it’s a non-taper taper. Training stress is ascending. Intensity is about the same. The schedule just eliminates the workout previous to the race. So it’s kind of a couch taper.

I’m just curious if TR users follow their own home-brew taper, or follow the TR suggested taper, or what? What do you do for a taper and how is it working for you?

I think your reply came in faster than I could type mine. :upside_down_face:

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I’m on what seems to be week two of tapering before my first A event, on a low-volume plan. Last week had 2 instead of 3 hard w/o’s with an easy recovery hour replacing the normal TH or SS workout in the middle. This week leading to the event, only one VO2Max w/o on Tuesday, then, one endurance hour w/o, and a 30 minute opener for an event on Sunday. All done by plan builder. Seems like Plan Builder not only has me tapering, but has a 2-week approach to it. Result is on last weekend’s final 90 min TH workout I killed it, setting new PR’s on my local climbs (without that intention, just doing the workout). Result is that I feel crazy fresh and strong, but am not overdoing it before the event this Sunday – which was a big topic on last Thursday’s podcast. That’s my experience anyway.


Ok! Thanks @nagletom

Your TSS progression is going to be 519, 424, 276, 155 (including the opener workout). That’s a lot different than what PlanBuilder put on my calendar! ha! Maybe even a little MORE tapering that I would do if I were creating my own taper.

PlanBuilder populated my calendar with 393, 418, 391, 282. So my T-1 week is pretty much the same as my T-3 week. And the first four days of my race week have exactly as much TSS as the first four days of my peak TSS (418) week. Strange that PlanBuilder took such different taper approaches.

@Brennus , from my TR calendar:
Wk 12 TSS: (Actual/Plan) 612/15; Week 13 483/424; First taper week (14) 388/277, and this week (16) planned TSS 160, plus the Event.

Thanks, @voldemort !

Based on your post I went back to a stage race I did a while back & finished on the podium so taper must have been at least ok…it’s a lot more like what you posted. Cadillac, Lazy Mountain-2, Gendarme -6 over the first four days of race week. The mesocycle leading up to race week had TSS 417, 427, 375, 221…which is a little more taper-like. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

So maybe PlanBuilder just went a little of the rails with this current plan. You know, it’s almost like PlanBuilder treated it like a B race instead of an A race. Anyhow, I was just curious how everybody else was experiencing tapers, so thanks for the info! Very much appreciated.

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