Manipulating FasCat plans vs. Coaching Subscription

Hey coaches,

I’m toying with the idea of getting a coaching subscription or actually getting a personal coach for next season. I really like the SS18 week plan, but I’m wanting to work a little bit harder than the advanced plan. I hit 110 CTL this year before getting COVID (the same day I did an FTP test in SSP4), and desperately want to be back to the place I was at this year before goal events like Snake Alley, Tulsa, a few USA Crit weekends, and Gateway Cup…if racing is allowed to happen! I’ll be racing mostly Cat 2/3 categories.

My CTL has dipped a lot, down to around 30 CTL right now, after taking an extended break off the bike to recover from Covid in July. I have been in the gym for resistance training though, and my recent FTP test says I’m at 270 watts.

Is there enough wiggle room in the SS18 weeks advanced plan to use a coaching subscription to get my fitness up with SS18 week and 6 week crits, or would I be a candidate for a monthly coaching subscription?

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Hi Bodine23,

I came down with COVID on November 11. In the last week, I’ve done a grand total of 5.5 hours of zone 1 riding, with hopes of safely building back up to regular training with the 18wk SST plan by the end of the year.

Selfishly, I’m just chiming in to see if you wouldn’t mind sharing a bit about your COVID recovery experience. I’m definitely wary of doing too much, too soon given the potential damage this disease can have on the ticker. If you have the time to share, I’m all ears.

  • Kevin

Hey, I wouldn’t mind sharing at all. For starters, the biggest take away I’ve learned is that the after-effects aren’t dependent on how severe your case was.

I was exposed on Sat. June 27th, and experienced my first symptoms on Tues June 30th. It started out as a two day headache, and had progressed into a small cough. I was tested on July 2nd and it came back positive on the 3rd. My symptoms were extremely mild: I had a distortion of smell/taste on July 4-5 only, and ran a low-grade fever (99.5-101) for three consecutive nights but it would be gone when I woke up in the morning. My symptoms disappeared by July 8th, and I would start integrating back onto the bike around July 20th.

Surprisingly, it was a struggle to get back on the bike. During the SweetSpot Polarized plan, I had done a few 4-5 hour rides at 250 NP. Coming back into riding, my HR was sky-high, and it was difficult to noodle around at 150-180 watts. My legs also felt empty inside, as if somebody unplugged them and the only power left was the energy stored in the circuit for a few seconds before it dissipated. My lungs also felt heavy for at least two months afterwards. I continued to do 4-6 hour weeks riding pretty slow until early-September, until I finally threw in the towel and took an exaggerated hiatus through the last week of October. I feel immensely better now, and don’t experience the heavy-lungs feeling anymore. My numbers are down, but I know that my body is ready to accept training again and I’ve retained a lot of the work I did for the first six months of this year.

I expect that reintegration onto the bike will be a case by case basis for most people. A friend of mine caught it and had moderate symptoms, but picked up training where he left off just two weeks after he tested negative. As a disclaimer, I hydrated while I was sick so that I wasn’t electrolyte depleted once I was recovered. I had also done an 18, 19, and 20 hour week progression before I contracted it.

I would really suggest anybody who feels really bad after a few rides back to listen to their body, and take it easy for 3-4 weeks before trying to start any meaningful training again. I hope you fair better than I did! If you have any reason to believe you have long-term damage, you should definitely talk to your doctor about ordering some images to make sure there’s no fluid buildup, lung damage, or heart irregularities.


Welcome back into the Coalition @bodine23 - glad you got your health back!

Re: FtFP’ing or hiring a coach comes down to $$ and how well you feel you are doing** on the plan. I like to use the DodgeBall analogy, ‘if you can follow a plan, you can get faster’

SO if you can make everyday turn green, that’s going to be the most economical path to your goals.

** if you are unable to make it turn green for whatever reason (life, work, health, etc…) then you are a candidate for a custom plan design by our wonderful coaches.

** if you are turning the plan green green and feel like you can physically do more, that is always a great reason to hire a coach to again, benefit from a custom training plan designed just for you + all the other coaching decisions that go into do what and when and how much of each :wink:

Thanks. I can definitely relate to the heavy lungs feeling. Riding around in Zone 1, I didn’t even feel the desire to go harder the first couple of rides. Even now that my energy is slightly better, I just don’t feel like I could go much harder for very long. As for my COVID case, I had a little over 48 hours of a pretty miserable flu. Never developed a bad cough, but the other symptoms were significant for those two days. I’d say I was symptom free (besides fatigue) by November 18.

For the time being, I’ve switched to heart rate based training for a couple of reasons. First being that I have no idea how much my FTP has dropped, and second being that I feel like keeping an eye on my heart rate and planning my progression based on that is both safer and fairly easy. I definitely don’t want to be doing the exertion of an FTP assessment any time soon. I have my first HR zone 2 ride scheduled for Wednesday and don’t plan to progress to Z3 until Dec 18. So far, no issues with pain or racing heart rate - but I’ll go straight to the doctor at the first sign of anything like that.

I appreciate your reply. It is helpful to know that others have made it successfully through this phase. It is also helpful to know ahead of time that it may just be normal for this to take a long time to get back to where I want to be.


Hey coach Frank, thanks for the response.

Fortunately I can make everyday turn green, and can ride 6 days a week! I want to build a really deep base this year again, and fortunately am STILL up by 55 watts from my December 2019 power test after having covid!

That said, I’m really wanting 2021 to be the year I go to the next level, racing or no racing. The turning point for me this year was SSP4, I loved the high volume aspect of that plan and was able to put the hurt on a pal that races for a team that contends for Pro/1 podiums at Joe Martin and Redlands.

If I can go into the 16-20 hours per week range, is this adjustment something that the $49 monthly coaching sub can help me accomplish with an existing SSB plan?

That is getting in to coaching territory @bodine23 because it involves training plan design.

The coaching subscription is primarily for training plan revisions due to life circumstances and power data analysis of FTP tests, the PMC (your CTL) and key workouts.

That’s why I said above it may

if you want to ride 16-20. One thing your coach would asses is your PMC chart to evaluate if that was a good decision AND then monitor your recovery along the way.