I’m a 60-year-old XC/marathon racer who had his best season in a very long time. Met almost all of my race goals by following the low-volume SS Base, XC Intervals, and Marathon FC plans.
I’m prone to overtraining and/or under resting, and I credit my success this year to more frequency and fewer longer XC rides (3+ hours). For the first time in a long time, I actually felt gains/faster after a rest day or two.
I’m setting higher goals next year and want to know from the coaches if I should continue with low-volume plans because I am prone to overdoing it. Or do I need to up the volume to “get faster” for next year? I raised my FTP to its season high around mid-season but didn’t increased it. However, I was able to ride longer in that range, and in Sweet Spot range, as the season went on.
At my age and training history — going on 22 years — does it make sense to continue low volume? If so, can I reasonably expect to make FTP gains and/or ride longer in that and SS ranges?
For the rest of 2022, I’m going to do the Fall Foundation Plan and then 10 weeks of strength training, along with some once or twice fun gravel/MTB rides through the winter. I’m taking a week off the bike this week, coming off a 6-hour XC race on Saturday.
So in my opinion, if you have the time, volume is a big component of seeing continued progress on the bike. Aerobic/Z2 rides promote all kinds of positive adaptations and are used to support the structured rides at higher intensities.
The trouble most people have with Z2 riding is that they ride too much, surge too often, or aren’t fueling and recovering from the ride, so it becomes a higher strain day than it should be. When you push these rides too hard, your body adapts to the medium-intense pace and you can see improvements in the short term, but as time goes on, they’ll wear you down, which is what it seems like you experienced.
My suggestion to you is to dial in your pacing at Z2 and maybe even drop your FTP to 92% of your 20 minute test - the workouts will feel easier, but you’ll be recovering like a champ and able to take on a larger volume of training as a result.
Same goes for the fun gravel rides, use HR and power as a guide, keep them lower in power, and you’ll get stronger - sort of counterintuitive, but it works every time!
In order to incorporate more Z2 rides into my low-volume plan, is it better to, say, increase the Endurance Zone 2 rides beyond 1 hour? Or maybe extend, say, a SS workout from 1 hour to 1 1/2 by adding a Z2 work at the end?
Or is it better to just add another 1-hour Endurance Zone 2 ride on a rest day?
A combination of the abov e?
For example, the low-volume plans normally have Monday and Thursday off, which seemed to really work for me. I’m afraid I might not be as fresh for those key workouts by not having a rest day before them.
Adding some endurance riding volume onto workouts and extending Z2 days is great, this can be flexible with your schedule and the weather. I never recommend changing recovery days into riding days - those are the days you actually improve! By adding more total riding, you need the recovery days to be as restful and focused as possible, as we only adapt when we recover.
Also, FasCat is always happy to swap a basic level plan for intermediate if you feel like that would help you - just shoot us a message through the customer service chat