How to properly start into the off-season?


the last two years I was using my indoor trainer with trainerday.
I used some plans generated by Coach Jack and in this time. However I felt like the way I used and constrained thoss.plans was not right.

Today I made an FTP test and would like to properly use Coach Jack to get into the off-season.

I thought about using a kind of base plan to improve my endurance. Then when the new year kicks off I would like to start the build phase to get into the upcoming outdoor season with an improved endurance and climbing abilities.

Am I right with this concept?
How would I construct such plans within Coach Jack to maximize the outcome of the efforts?


Hi Mathias, I would set a spring event date goal and jack will create base+build+peak. This is traditionally the best way to reach peak performance in the spring but the problem is each person is a bit unique and does a bit better with taking control of this process and adapting it it. Personally I would do this below (do 3 different plans, one for each block)

  1. HR Zone 2 for 3 months starting right now and do as much as possible, train while fasted as much as possible. Very gradual warmups. Try to work your way up to 10 hours a week of zone 2 even if that includes some form of rucking/running or other low intensity endurance work. Fast walking to work or park farther and walk fast… But as much cycling as possible is best.

  2. Serious Italian Build period for 3 months

  3. A peak period that aligns closer to your goals, I like big climbs peak block for about 2 months.

Getting this serious aerobic base will create huge benefits for your build and peak periods.

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Thanks for your recommendations @Alex

Now I finally have something I can truly work with

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That’s 95% of what I was planning :wink:

  • 10-12 weeks Z2 HR based (almost strictly, both running and indoor cycling for a total of 10-12 hours/week)
  • An initial build period with SweetSpot and SFR on the bike. A second build period with SFR and over-under work. Running will remain mostly Z2 but every now and then a ‘performance’ run to track progress. Genre 1, 3 or 5k performance run. Given the fact that there will be multiple ‘Brick’ sessions during this period, doing 2 higher intensity sessions should not be a problem. But I will strictly follow ‘feel’ over ‘plan’.
  • Peak will not really be planned, it will just happen when the outdoor season starts.

And the hours will gradually increase when riding outdoor to be ready for my main events in May. Those are long days in the saddle.

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Perfect plan!!! :slight_smile:

Hi Alex.
I have signed up for the Etape du tour in July. It’s a tough course and I want to train right for it. Your reply above is the kind of advice I am looking for. I have been researching what’s best at this point and I’m totally on board with zone 2. I will be doing some strength work 2 days a week for the next 2 months and solid zone 2. Any other advice or tips on training plans is appreciated. I’ll be keeping on eye on this thread for any other tips. Love this app.

Cool, happy you found us!!! :slight_smile: And I am excited about your trip, it sounds hard. Yes for now sounds like you have a good plan. I would say my advice above is good. As soon as you can just focus on the weekly long ride. As you get closer to Peak Season I will ask Coach Andrea what he suggests, just remind me. The fundamentals are the same but once you have your great foundation, then that peak period is what drives your final race success.

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Never heard of ‘SFR’ - what is it? Thanks!

It’s a strength endurance workout. It’s very low RPM 35-45 RPM, that is much higher torque than any workout you have likely done. Unless you are super muscular (think squats) it’s best to start out easy. It won’t feel like much but you might be sore the next day.

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Hi @Alex
would you recommend to do an FTP test every month or so to adapt the current running plan to the body adaptations?

This is something I was aksed by a friend I recommended Trainerday. And then I realized that my current plan until first of May works on my current FTP and not on an updated one.


Hi, I would start with a ramp test and if a person is mid-build period or late build period but feel their FTP is increasing quickly then monthly is probably good otherwise every 6-8 weeks should be fine. And once you start getting to a place it is stabilizing for the season, you can do it more rarely.

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Hi Alex.
Following on from the above, I’m pleased to say that the training has gone well so far. My performance is improving and I’m getting some PB’s on my outside rides. I will be completing the serious Italian block on the week stating 22nd April and was wondering what to do next? The event is July 7th so if I start the next block on the 29th that’s 10 weeks for peak block. The event is the etape du tour and has 4700m of climbing. Do you or Andres recommend the big climbs plan by coach Jack? If so what shall I do for the ‘spare’ 2 weeks as it’s an 8 week plan? Thanks

Sorry, Denny just getting back from mini-vacation. Love to hear your success!!! Big climbs is good. If you are feeling really good (not on the edge of over training), you can do a 8 week peak, followed by a 2 week peak just starting at the intensity the previous block ended off at. As an example Big climbs might start at intensity level #3 and go to level #7 in 8 weeks and then you can do level #9 and #10 for example (I am just presenting the idea). Also I suggest you do a taper before your event to be really ready for it. Keep the intensity short and generally easy during that week.

@Robert_UCL Do you have any other suggestions for Denny?

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Hi @DennyLK,

I’m Coach Robert. You are doing great with the training so far. What Alex suggests is a good option. I don’t know what your kg/W ratio is, but that could seriously impact your ride.
I always advise you to study the climbing profiles.
Are you a regular climber?
If so, you probably know what you’re up against. If not, this is a serious ride. I did the study for you and looked at the climbing profiles. I also read all the comments to see how others experienced these climbs. There is always valuable information there.

The first climb seems very irregular. You don’t see that on the profile of Etappe du Tour or even on the profile of Climbfinder. But that is the one thing that will kill you on the way up.
The other climbs seem regular, as you can expect from climbing in the French Alps.

You want to know this because you want to know where you will get into trouble. For me personally, everything below 8% is easy. I can do that all day. 10-12% Will raise my efforts to zone 4, which means I can do one hour of that on a tour like that. Everything above 12% will raise my efforts to zone 5, which means there can only be two to three of these parts on a climb, and I need some time in between to recover.

From that perspective, I would do more zone 4 training during the peak blocks. Combined with some VO2 max intervals.

You can do this by choosing the big climbs plan. Use it as a peak block. Don’t change anything if you are a light climber and have no problem in the mountains.
If you are not a natural climber and the mountains are challenging, Change the second peak block by choosing harder workouts and swap the Dynamic force for VO2 max.

These workouts are not harder but different, and they will help you overcome the steeper parts without killing you.

I always use equal gearing in the mountains, which can be 36-36 or 34-34. With that gearing, I can ride anything up to 16%.

Lots of fun cycling


Thanks @Robert_UCL . This is great advice and I really appreciate both you and @Alex taking the time to respond. I will definitely study the profile now it’s getting closer to the event. I am not a super lightweight climber at 73.5 kg (185cm) but not heavyweight either, I’m unsure of my watts per kilo ratio as I don’t have a power meter and I’m training using heart rate zones. I have been riding regularly for about 15 years but not with any training metrics. I have done many events and long days on the bike but this be will the biggest challenge I have faced, so probably still learning what I can sustain and for how long. The question of how to pace it is something I have been wondering. Is there any advice you would recommend?

You’re welcome, @DennyLK. I see that you are fine, both with your weight and your experience.
The best advice I can give you is to buy a power meter. It will make your data and training more consistent. For instance, when training indoors, your HR will likely be higher as your body is trying to cool down in a hot environment without any wind to cool you down.
Pacing is very personal because every rider has strengths and weaknesses. In general, I would recommend starting slow, especially on the first climb, which seems the hardest (on paper).
It is better to have something left in the tank at the end than to empty it halfway. You can always speed up towards the end.

Make sure to keep eating and drinking, develop a plan, and stick to it, even if you don’t feel like eating. Fuel is the one thing that keeps you going.

Finally you can create a small strip with your fueling strategy and the race profile and tape that on your frame.

Have fun

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Thanks again for the great advice :+1:t3:

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