I think plan intensity has been discussed on numerous occasions on this forum and the Podcast. In my very humble and completely unscientific opinion, I think some TR users overestimate their ability to produce their best form indoors.
We often hear about fast club/chain gang rides and race results but how many times do you do that type of effort? Once, maybe twice a week? If you’re tackling a MV or HV TR plan, you have to bring your A game to every session and I do mean every session, even the endurance workouts, if you’re completing the drills.
For me, there’s a stigma about doing LV plans. IMO it’s akin to saying ‘I’m not good/strong enough to do anything else’, which is of course total BS. To date I’ve only done LV plans and I tweak the workouts as I go.
The LV plans are a great way to decompress after a busy race season and IMO the best way to keep the engine ticking over without building up excessive stress. They’re easy to adapt to your specific requirements and a great introduction to TR as a whole.
End of the day, yes, some of the workouts are hard and sometimes you find your limiters in the most spectacular fashion. For me, TR works because I know at some point I’m going to get a beating. The same thing happens during a race. Those blue blocks don’t care who you are or what you ‘think’ you’re capable of doing, just like the other riders and racers at your next event.
I posted something similar to this yesterday but removed the thread but it kind of fits nicely here. Essentially what I was saying was that the SSBMV does have too much intensity (for me at least and I’m pretty strong at hard efforts) but as I look to start my base period I don’t want to see “VO2” on a base plan. SS is fine because it’s a good substitute for long and slow when you are only on 6-8 hours per week, you of course have to be focused and some sessions the RPE may be higher than what the watts are showing you but for me I’d only be doing 2 or 3 days in a row so rest will present itself.
My aim is to be doing 7-8 hours per week, this volume is an increase for me but not massively so and as I want to exclude VO2 the stresses will be different and manageable.
I have opted for the SSBHV1 plan, removed 2 workouts including Petit, this then has me training 4 days per week for around 7.5 to 8.5 hours depending on the week of the plan. In my head now, once completed and after seeing how the test goes at the end of it I feel like I will repeat this plan again so still avoiding the VO2 as that will take me to the beginning of February.
At this point I can look at adding some intensity with a goal race in mind at the end of March, so 7 weeks out from the end of the double base period. If executed to plan, this should give me a solid base on which to add in that intensity, most likely the training will then look like, 1 x HIT, 1 x THR, 1 x SS and 1 x easy as I approach that race. (Hilly road race, 50 miles, 6000ft climbing).
I am bound to break up the base period with the odd club ride but that won’t affect the stimulus, if anything it will be a nice break from turbo and keep me more motivated. Time will tell I guess but it looks manageable, unlike having to motivate myself for VO2 sessions at the end of a long working day.
SSB is no joke. It shouldn’t feel easy. That being said, you should be able to handle the progressive workload. If you are tired after 3 weeks, consider taking a rest week inbetween. Maybe the Mid volume is too much for you?
I was used to perform regularly (1 to 2) workouts on the trainer (v02max and threshold) before joining TR, so I started the low volume plan as a way to just take it easy until the next season, adding one group ride on the week end (kind of all out stuff, 270 TSS on those ride). After 3 weeks I was completely wrecked, and not able to recover properly. So for this year I will stick to the low volume, and ditch the group ride (only keeping it once a month cause eh, it is huge fun to make them suffer). Recovery is important, and low volume is always a safe bet. and you can always switch to mid volume anytime (or add one SS workout to low volune)
If you don’t believe in the process, then you need to find a new process. Even though you had a “valid ramp test”, it appears your negative experience with TR is due to FTP set too high and/or not enough recovery. If sweet spot didn’t feel like sweet spot or O/U’s crushed you, then obviously something was wrong and you shouldn’t have continued. TR workouts are designed to be tough but doable and you shouldn’t have to constantly burry yourself, especially in Base.
So it looks like you were nonfunctional overreaching that of course led to burnout. This is were YOU as the coach must intervene and adjust the plan. TR attempts to educate its users on how to do that as any cookie cutter plan can’t be right for everyone all the time. That being said, if you’ve lost faith in TR plans, try a new approach, because the best plan will be the one that allows you to be consistent and you believe in.
For reference, TR took me from a FTP of 193 (new to structured training) and mid pack Cat 2 XC racer, to a FTP of 298, winning my Cat 2 XC series and moving up to Cat 1/Expert. All in the span of 14 months and approaching my 43rd birthday. Were there times I felt overly fatigued and burned out? YES! So I adjusted my plan, took an extra recovery week or day when I needed, then pressed on with the TR plan. I also had a high and “valid” FTP test beginning General Base that crushed me physically and mentally.
So I lowered my FTP and continued on, only to surpass that higher FTP a couple months later. Holding on to a too high FTP will ruin the best laid plans.
The great thing about TR is the flexibility. Use the training plan as a guide, not as something set in stone. Failing, skipping or lowering the intensity of a workout once in a while is not the end of the world. What matters is keeping commited and trusting the process.
I just had my first TR anniversary, my FTP went from 155 to 190 (didn’t test, I’m increasing manually and it may be even underestimated). But I don’t care that much about the number. What matters to me is feeling faster and lasting longer on rides. This is how I gauge my progress and all of it came with the low volume plans.
Sounds like an excellent plan. Keep a eye on that HR and see if less SST or hard intervals resolves the issue.
If it doesn’t I’d reassess your FTP, maybe with a longer protocol.
I think people tend to forget that just because we might define SST as 85 - 94% of FTP (or any other level for that matter) It does not always mean as far as the body is concerned that it is that training level we are operating at, i.e too much fatigue, stress, poor sleep, FTP not truly representing one’s MLSS, poor muscular endurance, poor or inadequate cooling the list goes on.
I have a really basic (and I’m sure totally misinformed) way of looking at the TR workout library.
I will never be able to complete 100% of the workouts at 100%. The more I use TR and even if I dedicate solid blocks of training to specific zones, some of those workouts will just be beyond my capabilities. This isn’t to say that TR isn’t working, it is, just that if my current FTP increases by 2% per year, the sheer volume of training I’d need to do to bring all of my limiters up to snuff would be monumental. It’s like a sliding scale. The more I work to improve my FTP, the more work I need to do towards my limiters. It’s like they’re always just within touching distance but not quite.
As Pete and Nate discussed in a recent Podcast, Pete can do 30 second and one minute VO2 intervals all day long, yet 20 minute Sweet Spot repeats destroy him. I’m pretty sure that Nate was the exact opposite. I know for sure which one of these two camps I fall into.
So in effect, the workout isn’t too hard, I’m just not ready for it. Most TR users who’ve used the platform for a solid year or two now have top end endurance numbers close to where their FTP used to be. That cannot be by accident. I will happily reduce the workout intensity to ensure that the session is both productive and not crushing.
End of the day, if everyone was able to complete everything that TR threw at them at 100% intensity, the podium would be a pretty crowded place
Instead of dropping down to Low Volume, you can remove a workout, Sunday perhaps, or change that to an endurance ride.
Also take a look at the Wednesday workout. That’s an endurance/recovery workout. You can drop the intensity on that one immensely (40-60% would be fine, or just skip it if you’re too tired).
It sounds like you’re just fatigued, more than you can handle. Keep your FTP where it is and see what happens when you reduce TSS and also look at how you recover from stress.
Good luck, it’s frustrating for sure. I’ve tried HV in the past, and crumbled by the time I hit build. MV is a bit low for me, so what I would do is HV and remove/reduce workouts and supplement things. That is pretty much what I’m recommending for you as well. In a podcast, Nate mentioned he’s doing the same thing, as he’s crumbled on HV in the past as well. That approach can be done to any of the existing plans.
Personally, I also find the 5 weeks of build to be tough. I’m older now and need a bit more recovery. I tend to go around 2 weeks of build and 1 week of recovery, as a better layout for me. So, I may change the 3rd week to be a repeat of the 6th week and push it to a 7 week plan…but it depends on how the stress is handled.
Blockquote * Carson: felt good and HR at the end of last intervals was around 190
*Ericsson: similar workout to Carson but HR at the end was 197-199
Just to give you my experience also just finishing the second week doing Carson and Ericsson, my threshold HR is around 174-178, and during Carson and Ericsson last week, my HR was topping out at approx. 150bpm at the end - avg. HR for the length of the SS intervals was around 144-146. I wouldn’t’ categorize the workouts as easy, but they certainly were not difficult. I definitely find the over/under more difficult, but not to point where I can’t comfortably hit the numbers.
I actually modified the SSBMV1 plan to include the Wednesday SS ride from the SSBHV1 workout, so I’m doing 3 SS workouts in a row, Tues-thurs. to get a little more fatigue.
Does anyone remember the SST training plans before they changed them a few years ago? Did they add more intensity are reduce it? I’m sure I could work that out if I looked back on my records.
Volume wise I think you have to consider your age. In twenties I could recover from massive intense volume almost day in day out, week in week out. But you recover quicker when younger and generally have less stress, commitments etc.
These days I handle a decent amount of stress but it need to be longer duration’s less intense between the (less of them) interval sessions.
My two pet hates of TR at the moment are the Ramp Test (not really sure who that gives a semi accurate FTP for, an if it does its a pure accident and won’t necessarily do so the next time) and generally too much intensity in most of the plans.
Exactly. If your FTP is set correctly, there is no way a SS workout should evoke a HR into your Vo2max zone by the end. That just doesn’t make sense - as your FTP is your theoretical number you should be able to handle for an hour!