Low plan with added workouts vs medium

choosing-a-plan
plan-modification

#1

I’m setting up my training schedule for next year and was hoping to get some opinions on going low vs medium.
Background-I’ve used TR for about 8 months going from 130-219 with low plans. I’m a mountain biker and plan to do XC and some longer distance “backcountry” races next year. I work as a surgical resident and on good months can get in the 5 days per week for medium plan without digging myself into a hole, but when the weather is good would likely end up substituting 1 or 2 rides for outdoor rides. The other option would be to continue low plans and add in 1 or 2 extra indoor (or outdoor) rides as my schedule allows.
The thing I don’t like about going low with added workouts is it seems a little more haphazard it terms of what I’ll add in and if I go medium at least I’ll have a goal TSS even when schedule gets in the way.
I guess the counterpoint would be that low plans have worked fine and why change a winning game.


#2

Think about this…

Go with LV and add the workout that corresponds to the MV plan for that given day. If the TSS is too high, you can always choose a variant (-1, etc). I’ve been bouncing back and forth between LV and MV, ending up on LV with the flexibility to add where I need to (if desired).


#3

I agree. Go with LV and supplement and adjust. You can plus up some workouts or detract from them as necessary.


#4

As a counterpoint I have done Mid Volume in the past and when I couldn’t do everything I skipped a workout or two. If I managed all the days, great. If I didn’t it wasn’t a huge problem either.

That said I can see an argument for adding extras on to LV as it can be more motivating to feel like you are doing more than planned rather than not ticking off everything in a MV.


#5

If you’re not going to be able to hit all the workouts in medium stay in low. As you go up in volume it changes the intensity mix as well. All the work in each plan has a purpose and if you’re randomly going to be missing rides, especially some of the weekend rides, in the medium plan you could end up in a strange place on your progression.

Better in my opinion to stay on the low plan, get all your intensity there, and add in z2/z3 outdoor rides as opportunity allows.


#6

I had a similar question earlier. New to TR but not completely new to structured or indoor training. Wanted to incorporate Zwift races into a TR plan.

What I ended up doing is medium volume and subbing out workouts for other activities, for the reason you state: it gives me a baseline. I’m interested in the answers here. So far this has been working for me, but with a sample size of one base block (so, not much).

In case it’s helpful, I did rough analysis of the TR Sweet Spot Base Low and MId volume plans. While the workout selection varies a bit, Mid puts the “more important” workouts on Tues, Thurs, Sat. These roughly correspond to the workouts in Low. Wed is low-intensity aerobic, and Sun is additional sweet-spot volume. So if you go with Mid and sub out the Wed/Sun workouts for something else, you’ll get roughly the same effect as if you go with Low and add to it.


#7

This is what I am doing because I know a can commit to the 3 LV workouts and then can fit in an additional (usually a roller session). I am not sure I could commit to the 4 planned sessions of MV


#8

I’m no guru on the training topic, but my approach is to commit to the Low Volume plan, and by that I mean really commit: no dropping, ever. Then I add in other bike riding, or strength training, as I can and am able to. For me personally, its better to aim low and achieve 100% than aim higher and achieve 90%. Backsliding starts as soon as you are not 100%. That’s my psychology anyway, YMMV.


#9

Related, but slightly off topic, on the medium plans (specifically SSB) is there a consensus on which of the weekend rides is the best to replace with an outdoor ride?

I generally have time to do 1 outdoor ride per week (although sometimes don’t manage while its light so do the TR workout later on instead). It would be good to know which day it would be best to aim to do this on.


#10

I’m taking the mid volume approach and subbing/ moving around. As well as weekend rides, to get the rides in, I do commute as well, but days can vary with family/ work/ life committments.

I prefer to schedule the mid volume, as when I am on the turbo, I generally have time for the longer workouts on the mid volume.

SSB1 turned into a lot more commuting than I’d planned - I would’ve been happy to maintain FTP, but I had a slight increase despite less than ideal ramp test prep (tired/ hard work week), so it appears to be working for me. At least in the base phase.


#11

I’ve tried both and prefer this approach.

With “Low + ad hoc” I found I missed just as many and rarely added any. With mid, you just need to be mentally able to accept missed sessions are not the mark of a bad person :slight_smile:


#12

during the base period there isn’t really much different from the low/mid volume versions. Adding or replacing a ride shouldn’t make a huge difference, but for build and specialty it is probably better to pick the plan that matches your total expected sessions and/or TSS. The low volume plan is expecting those days off to be fully off, and will have some higher IF rides because of it. Plus it does not have a 2 week taper, but a 1 week taper for the specialty. At least in the XCO. Don’t think of replacing a ride with an outdoor ride as skipping a workout.