Adjusting Your Training Plan

plan-modification

#1

Adjusting your Training Plan


How do I adjust my training plan following time off?

  • When life events, illness, and even injury get in the way of your training, Coach Chad Timmerman shares his advice to help you get back on track.

How to Adjust Your Training Plan When You Miss Workouts

  • Every cyclist will miss prescribed workouts in their training plan at some point, but it’s not the end of the world. The key is knowing how to adjust your training plan to keep your training on track.


High volume plan
#2

So … Looking at uping my TSS a little over the winter when i start sweetspot base mid volume again.
High vol is a bit high for me though, but I can do a little more than mid Vol.
So plan tweaking. Should I pluck the 1.5 hr Tuesday & Thursday workouts from the high volume to replace the 1hr mid plan workouts OOORRRRRRR do the mid vol workouts and add another 0.5 hr workout on top, like Taku for a bit of endurance. So sweetspot intervals or more endurance to top up?


#3

Good question, @SimonJamesScott. It really comes down to the type of stress that proves beneficial. If you’re teetering on the brink of what you can handle in a week, I almost always lean toward adding endurance/recovery work. But if you feel confident that you can heap on some extra intervals, push those high-quality days a little further while paying close attention to the quality of later workouts. And be advised, initially, more intervals can be a deceivingly demanding adjustment, but don’t be too quick to abandon your plan changes. Unless they’re really running you down, give them a couple weeks before deciding if your changes are sustainable. Just like anything else, there’s a period of adjustment that can prove favorable if you ride it out and allow your body to ‘catch up’.


#4

Thanks Coach. I will plan to do the extra intervals then and monitor carefully each week when i get into it.


#5

I’m trying to add something around 15% to my TSS in SSB mid volume. This year did only the normal versions from base, build and specialty, and got my FTP to plateau around 4.25 w/kg.

Three parts:

  1. I have often heard that you should keep your easy days easy and hard days hard. Does this fit into upping your volume? Should I try first making my hard rides (on Tue, Thu, Sat) harder by adding more intervals or upping the intensity or would it be better to make the Wed ride also a bit harder? Is using the +1, +2 etc. versions a good option?

  2. Since my body adapts to one type of training easily, should I consider adding a new kind of stress instead of the Sweet Spot the plan already has? For instance, should I make the Wednesday ride a longer 2-3h endurance training to have both good endurance and sweet spot training throughout the plan? In a more general sense, am I just trying to add more TSS or should I be also adding something new and better to the plan if I really want to benefit from the 15% increase in stress?

  3. Would one more training day be better than more volume on existing days? My understanding says that having five training days is enough and having two days completely of is good for my recovery (even if I’m just 26). However, can it be that adding the sixth training day would actually be quite beneficial?

Also, is this a viable way to get my FTP to rise again or should I try something clearly different?


#6

Hi, @matiassaarinen. First, even with more volume/training stress, the easy day/hard day approach still has its place considering that the body adapts during recovery. When you deprive it of sufficient recovery, you can’t expect adaptation to the same height as a body that’s benefiting from proper management of the stress/recovery cycle.

Increasing the stress of your usual high-quality days is a good first step, just make sure not to overdo those workouts. And don’t raise the intensity, add more intervals. The intensity shapes the workout more than anything else, and altering it will and usually does alter the workout’s outcome.

It’s pretty common to see riders advance their training by heaping on extra intervals through a beefed up version of an already demanding workout, but this can require more recovery than usual. This results in a more fatigued rider who then presses onward with yet another tougher-than-usual workout only to perpetuate a cycle that sees him/her dragging after a couple of weeks.

So the challenge is to increase the load gradually and be patient, a bit conservative, rather than bury yourself only to degrade the next week of training as your body struggles to realign itself, or maybe never really does. This is visible when you see otherwise strong riders underperform race after race, ride after ride. So 15% may be manageable, it may not. If you’ve escalated your training load in the past, definitely use that information to guide this upcoming set of increases.

And yes, once your body habituates to one type of stress, you either have to add more of that stress or change the nature of the stress. With Sweet Spot, it’s common to come up against a ‘volume wall’ where you simply can’t do more or longer SST efforts making it necessary to supplement with something else or change your workout composition more radically. Adding a day of VO2max work could be the answer, doing a couple weeks of LSD could work, maybe a week or 2 of sprint-intensity work will catalyze a bit of improvement - lots of options.

And plenty of riders, especially in the 4+ w/kg realm, benefit from training 6 days/week, as long as those days are structured properly and allow sufficient recovery relative to the amount of work being performed. This again makes the case for the hard day/easy day approach, but it doesn’t have to be strictly one-for-one. You can stack a couple harder days together followed by a single rest day; a weekend followed by a Monday rest day is a pretty common way to do this. But often that composition is a hard Saturday and a long Sunday rather than back-to-back days of intensity (though they have their place occasionally too).

My advice is to make your hard days slightly harder as a first step; Tue/Thu and maybe even Saturday too. Then you can tinker with a longer but light Wednesday ride or even the addition of a light Friday ride. Just keep things gradual and listen to your body, cliché as it sounds. It’s easy to dig a hole that sets you back, much tougher to balance the increased stress with increased recovery and keep things trending positively.


#7

First of all, thank you for the answer! I think there’s enough for me to go and plan and test my training during my next season using that wealth of information. Avoiding changing the intensity in a workout is an especially important point for me since I didn’t consider its effect on the broader outcome of the workout.

I think there’s only a single major thing to account for when bridging from mid volume to high volume. That is lowering the intensity: when one should start switching from VO2Max and even threshold work to SST and LSD during the base phase? In other words, how can you know when it’s not necessary anymore to have some high intensity already during base?
If I have understood correctly, the VO2Max work is there since the mid volume plan has still quite a small amount of training time and thus requires high intensity training for providing enough training stimulus. That would say that when the volume is increased, at some point the VO2Max intervals become unnecessary (and unnecessarily intense). Is there, e.g., a point after which just SST work is enough, or is there some indicators that can be monitored to assess the necessity of doing VO2Max work already during base?


#8

@matiassaarinen, the high-volume SSB plans are devoid of VO2max work and are solely composed of SST work, and the Trad Base plans are much the same way in that the initial base periods contain little outside of steady aerobic work. So if you go high-volume, that handles itself. But if you’re straddling volumes, I don’t see anything wrong with a weekly VO2max workout if the time is still fairly limited, i.e. leaning more toward mid-volume. You can always omit the VO2max work, in the base period especially, if you’re feeling overwrought due to a training diet too high in high-intensity work. In fact, the base period can be an excellent time to get away from HIT when this is the case.


#9

Question about adjusting workout intensity level – I’m concurrently doing strength training and SSB but the non-bike workouts always leave me achieving 1-2% lower in-ride power/final TSS/IF on the bike.

Would it be best to lower the workout intensity by this amount or just leave it at 100% with the understanding of why the sub-par performance is happening?


#10

Just leave it there, @Captain_Doughnutman, and don’t fret over something as minimal as a 1-2% discrepancy. We’re never really working with margins of error as narrow as that, even when we have a meticulously detailed mean maximal curve with current plots all along it. Day-to-day fluctuations of numerous types can and do affect performance, so try to view things through a slightly wider lens and only really concern yourself with consistently sub-par performances, and ones more substantial than what you’ve described. Personally, I think anything under a 5% margin is usually a green light to keep training.


#11

Apologies for yet another “special snowflake” situation, BUT…I just finished up SSB1 High Volume and am getting ready to move into SSB2 High Volume. The 2hr weekday workouts are a little long for the amount of time I have available, but I have plenty of time to train on weekends. My thought is to decrease the Tuesday/Thursday workouts to 90min versions, and bump up the weekend workouts to 2hr30min. For reference, I’ve had no trouble completing the 2hr workouts at the end of SSB1 High Volume. Thanks in advance!


#12

That seems like a fine option. Do pay attention to how you respond to the extended workouts on the weekend, and be cautious if they are more than you can handle and recover properly.