To weight or not to weight?

Hi, I would really appreciate a bit of advice on plan timing, and specifically whether to try and fit weights into my 2021 ATP now that it’s getting a bit late. For background/context:

  • No planned racing/events next year until late June (La Marmotte, target top 30). I may do some UK racing before then, but these will be C races that I can do without adjusting my training.

  • Experienced rider, 36M, 58kg, never done pre-season weights properly and looking to include them this year to increase power even if I put on some muscle weight. FTP currently about 285, peak 300 at 57kg race weight.

  • CTL never been above 85, probably because I’ve always got by with intensity over volume. Too much VO2 max work. Taking a different approach this year. Currently at CTL 75 and hoping to push this much higher by May/June before adding specificity.

  • Going to Spain for 2.5 weeks over Christmas. I have a bike there and will ride as much as possible (15-20hr weeks) to give the base a big boost. No gym access.

  • Other targets next summer will include a multi-day stage race, a couple of gran fondos, some domestic road racing and then a real focus on the national hill climb champs at the end of October - a very specific, 5 minute effort.

I bought the Resistance Training + Sweet Spot Advanced (16 wk) plan in late October and started immediately. I had done 3 or 4 adaptation sessions before UK gyms shut due to Covid. I don’t have any weights at home, so I started following the main sweet spot part of the plan and am enjoying it and responding well.

Gyms re-open on 2 December, and I’m not sure what to do. Part of me wants to start the weights ASAP but I won’t have access to a gym/weights between 20 December and 4 January (when I will be riding big hours in Spain). Am I best to start the weights now, complete the adaptation phase and then pause the weights over Christmas before re-commencing in the new year, perhaps repeating one week of adaptation before jumping into hypertrophy phase? Or should I just wait until the new year before starting the weights plan from Day 1, and in the mean time keep sweet spotting and build my CTL as much as possible with the time in Spain?

Thank you! :slight_smile:

Hi Thomas,

Loaded question here. But personally this is my opinion.

With your CTL currently at a 75 and peak of 85 there isn’t much to go before your CTL is at its peak which you don’t want in January with a goal race in June. So I would go ahead and start the weight training now. I would do exactly what you said and start back with the adaptation phase when you get back. You can do either 1 or 2 weeks depending on how you are feeling. You can still do yoga, foundation work and etc at the place you are staying. This should help a bit.

Also make sure you have had a proper offseason break. Going from 85 to a 75 now doesn’t sound much like a break.,2%20weeks%20off%20is%20ideal.

Really timing is everything. So you want to make sure you have time to get in 6 weeks of interval training in before your race in June. Before that you need at least 12 weeks of sweet spot work (base). Ideally you can get 18. Then you will have the 10 weeks of resistance training. So work backwards and fill these ‘start’ dates in.

So quick glances it does look starting weights now would be your best option. While in Spain just do sweet spot riding, muscle tension work and some endurance riding. Don’t forget to do your off the bike work as well. If you have access to dumbells, kettle bells and etc there is a lot you can accomplish to stay on track.


Thanks Jake, really appreciate it. So taking onboard your thoughts I’m looking at something like this:

December: 3 weeks weights plan (adaptation phase), then go to Spain.
Late Dec / early Jan: loads of endurance miles, push the CTL way up.
Early Jan: back from Spain, continue weights plan, repeating an adaptation week first.
Mid-March: finish 10 weeks weights plan, move into sweet spot.

That gives me 15 full weeks before my first target race at the end of June, which is a 6h+ mountainous race so I reckon I can get away with keeping the sweet spot going until pretty close (no need to be nailing the shorter intervals for this kind of event).

If that sounds sensible I may just snap up the Sweet Spot 2 plan while the Cyber Monday code is still valid, as that would take me through to 3 weeks before my first A race.

PS. points taken about CTL and off-season, thanks. I did have almost a 3 week break in October so think I’m good there. And whilst my racing CTL has typically been 70-80, like I say I have really neglected the pre-season work for a few years so I’m pretty confident I can push this out to 120-130 if I don’t overload on intensity. Hopefully that, combined with the weights plan, will leave me in great shape when it comes to specificity and racing in summer.

Thanks again.


Hi @Jake,

Hope you’re good? I’m revisiting this and finessing my ATP, and have one or two questions. I signed up to the #coaching-subscription just now, so hopefully it’s ok to ask these. If it’s easier to pick up these points in Training Peaks, that’s cool, though it might be helpful for others to see the thought process behind the plan :slight_smile: One of the cool features about FasCat is the “library” of advice on the forum. Loving it!

So my first A race is La Marmotte on 27 June. Huge event, 7500 riders, 6h+ mountain gran fondo. Missed out on a top 100 by a few seconds in 2018, so I’m going to target a top 50 and use this as my main 2021 motivator. Looking at time gaps and power data, it’s doable if I get myself into my best shape. I would be very happy to share previous ride data if that’s helpful. As you can imagine, it will need a big aerobic base and I don’t plan to do much intensity above sweet spot. It’s really just 4 x huge alpine climbs with mostly descending and flat in between. So definitely asks for a big CTL.

Working backwards looks like this:

  • Complete 10wk weighs plan 28 Feb (CTL projection 75).

  • I then have 17 full weeks until my event.

  • Key question 1: how to structure those 17 weeks (allowing for a taper)? 12 weeks sweet spot, 4 weeks intervals (maintaining endurance), 1 week taper?

  • Key question 2: my other A race will be the UK national hill climb champs at the end of October. Likely to be a ~5 minute climb @ 12% average. So a VERY different race and will require LOTS of VO2 max and anaerobic work. However this should work well as I will have a big base from the first half of the year, therefore plenty of room to hit the intensity hard from August/September. Would you guys be well placed to help me get ready for that?

Thanks a lot and looking forward to working with you :smiley:


Hi Thomas!

So now with the coaching subscription we will do all our communication in TrainingPeaks. Will make it easy! I have put in a Feedback ‘workout’ box in TrainingPeaks every 4 weeks. This is where you leave you questions, comments, things you want me to look at, adjust or etc. Then I will go into your TrainingPeaks and analyze, adjust and etc and give the feedback in the same place.

So I will go ahead and answered you questions there. Check back in a bit and you will have you answers! Looking forward to helping you out! And the ride you have planned looks amazing! Really jealous.

Hi Jake. Thanks very much, got your message and the note in TrainingPeaks. All looks good. I sent a quick reply and just had one question about the next 2/3 weeks. Would be awesome if you’re able to take a quick look and drop me a short reply on that - after that, think we are all set up so will FtFP and look forward to catching up in January :slight_smile:

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I also put this into TrainingPeaks as it might beneficial to your upcoming trip.

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Perfect, thanks. And thanks for the validation on my planned rides. Will try to get a bit of gym time in there too. Anything to keep the Christmas calorie burn going!

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Hey @Jake , hope you’re good. I was due my feedback yesterday just wondering if you saw my comments and questions in TP? Maybe I’m supposed to comment on the previous feedback box (last month), not sure. Thanks

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Got your feedback in TrainingPeaks. That was a great training trip in Spain you had!

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