Training Plan Progression (Traditional Base or SSB?)


Looking for some guidance on my training plans over the next year.

Some info:
-I race XCO and XCM mountain bike races in the Spring and cyclocross in the fall with some road races sprinkled in.

-Cyclocross is my main discipline and main goal for the 2019 season.

-I have a decent history in competitive endurance sport (running track and cross country) but have only been racing bikes for 2 years.

-My FTP is 287 and I am a 29 year old male. 3.98 w/kg and I live in Canada so all of my rides will be on the trainer/rollers from now until about May.

Right now I am thinking that my progression will be as follows:

Traditional Base High Volume 1
Traditional Base High Volume 2
Traditional Base High Volume 3
Short Power Build Mid Volume
XCO Specialty Mid Volume
Short Power Build Mid Volume
CX Specialty Mid Volume

I am struggling to decide which plan progression and volumes would produce the best improvements for me?

Would it be beneficial to replace Traditional Base plans for the SSB plans?
Should I just be doing mid volume for all base and build plans? I generally have more time to train in the winter which is why I have high volume base and mid volume build/specialty.

Any help would be appreciated!


If you have the time for traditional base high volume then I’d say go for it


the time…and mental fortitude to sit on a trainer for hours at a time at pretty low intensities. I would say indoor only traditional base is definitely not for everyone.


I can spend the time and have the mental fortitude (…i think) to complete the plan but just want to make sure that it is more beneficial than sweet spot base or am I just wasting my time in the pain cave!


Yes, traditional base will deliver a better aerobic base than sweet spot. The sweet spot base was created for time crunched cyclists, that can’t put in 10+ hours a week to develop base aerobic fitness.


A lot of it comes down to choice. For sure there is some low intensity riding in the Traditional Base but there is a good amount, especially after the first few weeks, that while not super intense can’t be considered ‘easy’.

If you have the time and can cope with the volume your plan looks fine I reckon.


And then the follow up question is there any issues with High Vol. base plans then Mid Vol. Build and Specialty?

During those times mid volume would be the most training I can likley fit into work/life.

  1. I’ve always read and heard “you can’t get enough base”
  2. The training stress of build and specialty are different, and training stress drops from base to build even if you are doing mid or high volume throughout the base/build/specialty (there is an FAQ article on that)

For those reasons, and the ones you cite, I’m also doing high volume base and then switching to mid volume build/speciality (and adding in mid-week race and longer weekend rides).


Thanks! Good to hear I am on the right track.


I just posted something similar and I’m glad I found your thread @Jamie_Weikum! I have almost 10-12 weeks of extra time before my peak in aug 2019 and doing two speciality plans and two builds sprinkled throughout will solve my issue and having me ready for CX. I think I’ll also go with traditional base as well.


There is a point of diminishing returns with base. Once your FTP starts pushing against your VO2 max you need to shift your focus to raising your VO2 more, then come back for more base.


Yes, and I’m considering doing a base-build and then repeat as per TR’s suggestions. In fact in TR’s 4 week traditional base 1 it seems I picked up some aerobic gains, but lost some ftp. It was an experiment and I decided that doing long rides on the trainer wasn’t for me, but next season I’ll find a way to do traditional base outside where I’ll naturally pick up a little high-end work.