Progressive Overload

I’m in week 5 of 18 weeks of Sweet Spot (intermediate). I notice the plan increases quite in a bit in total time from beginning to end… and it of course relies on “progressive overload” from week to week (increasing slightly in time and TSS, etc).

My question - in any given 3 week block if I do 11 hours, 9 hours and 9 hours (instead of 9, 10 and 11) am I sabotaging my training? I use Saturday group rides for my long ride and if it’s dry and not brutally cold I try and take advantage and get a 4+ hour ride in… even if that’s on the 1st week of a 3 week block. Basically I’m trying to get the volume in when I can… knowing that next Saturday could be rainy or snowy.

I know… FTFP… but seems like the smart approach is to get in the long rides when I know I can… even if it’s not perfectly timed as part of the 3 week block of “progressive overload”. Thanks for any insight!

Therein lies the ‘coaching question’ as in should you follow your plan as its designed for a reason or should you alter the plan based on x, y, z?

This is a trick question.

Hint: why do you feel the need to do longer 4 hour rides? Is there something coming up soon where you feel the need to deviate from the plan?

Or is there not and you should chill? Also we do not know where you live in terms of weather and the timing of your goals.

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Thanks for the reply @FRANK . I’m in Raleigh, NC which I think you know well (Go Pack!) but we’ve had a pretty cold and wet winter this year… and I’m just trying to get some extra volume and miles in (Zone 2!) outside when I can on the weekend.

I’m a retired Cat 3 (42 years old) and I did your 6 week sweet spot plan starting in February last year and it was my strongest year ever on the bike. It was also my first structured training plan (and my first year with a power meter). I made some huge gains. This year I’m doing the 18 weeks of sweet spot and my goals are really broad. I’m not trying to peak for anything necessarily (maybe Blood, Sweat and Gears in June if it happens). But mostly i just want to build a huge aerobic base and be able to ride with the fast guys… be as strong as possible for group rides in Spring and Summer.

I understand if my original question is getting into the “coaching zone”. It seems to me that it makes sense (with broad goals) to get the miles when i can… but I just wasn’t sure HOW critical it was to apply the weekly progressive overload.

Thanks again for the reply and the training plans. They’ve really helped me get stronger.

It is important to stick to the durations because we’ve designed your ability to recover into the plan.

If you ride more than your plan calls for before you’ve adapted - your recovery balance gets behind and this can lead to bigger problems on down the line.

Best to CtFO** in February and FtFP when you are training for a June time frame. I do believe your plan has the 4 & 5 hour rides when the time is right. That is not now.

**Chill the F’*%& Out - new term, thanks for the inspiration :wink: