Please allow higher intensity from coach jack


I am currently using a custom plan incorporating threshold and Vo2max workouts Tue and Thur with Z2/Z3 Sat.

I am on a 2 month build cycle and selected level 7 as my starting point. At the end of the 8 weeks I will be level 12 at which point I will go back to a 4 week base plan.

After the 4 week base plan I intend to return to another build block where it would be really useful if I could select a starting level above 10. I think in this instance 9 or 10 would be appropriate as I will lose some of the adaptions but just thinking about further down the line.

Has it been considered increasing the options available at the start? Is it possible to back date your plan starting date as if that was the case I could select extra duration which would mean my starting point could be above 10?

One further point is that when I search for workouts in my plan it returns no result. For example “Threshold Block #11” returns no matching workouts. It would be useful to have these workouts available outside of a plan.

Love the flexibility in building plans, the above points would make it easier when considering longer term progressions.


Very nice request. If you like the ability to re-edit your plan and use our calendar with automtic updates then adding intensity might be necessary in your case. If you push your plans to my plans starting at level #10 then you can push specific weeks of plan to our calendar. Like push weeks 10-16 to our calendar or TP or where ever would give you level #20-26.

So I did not explain the problem of why we only allow #10 now. We allow up to 16 week blocks, so that is up to #26. We feel the value of workouts beyond the intensity of our #26 are of limited value and get too hard. Yes some people could do that but that does not mean they should. I realize that is a personal choice and for a minority there might be a value. But to solve your problem if someone chose an 8 week block, we could allow going up to level 18 to start with which still takes you to 26. I like this idea… Well I personally think it’s too hard :slight_smile: but I like the solution… Pretty sure that should give you what you want and work from a system perspective.

If my last explanation was not clear let me know and I can create a quick video or screenshots to show you what I mean. My solution above also let’s you push later weeks (say #14-X or #18-X) to your calendar.

Excellent, I wasn’t aware of the functionality to push specific weeks to my calendar so that satisfies all my requirements and gives good configurability.

Looking at the V02max workouts at #21 I doubt I would ever have the ability to complete them :smiley: . I was more interested in the range 12 - 16 which I might actually get to in a second build phase next year.

Cool, yes 12-16 is much better. :slight_smile: I did not even want to create above 16 but I knew there were cases of starting at 10 that made sense like yours and had to allow 16 weeks beyond that. I should check to see how many people have completed #20+ … so just push to my plans first and then you can push specific weeks to specific dates on your calendar.

That’s pretty impressive actually. So in theory I could have the full range of 16 weeks for all of the phases available in the custom section sitting in my plans and just pick and choose weeks to send to my calendar as needed through base, build and peak phases.

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Yes exactly!!! The only downside is it slightly more convenient to create a CJ plan, and send to calendar and then go back and edit the plan in CJ and re-sync it. You can do the exact same thing pushing to my plans first just takes a few extra steps and you have to delete modified out of date plans from my plans if you don’t want to get confused. We should probably allow editing CJ plan and updating the plan in my plans (as compared to creating a new plan in my plans each time) and it would make this process slightly simpler/more convenient too.

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It sounds like you know what you are doing but just a thought. My expert coach (Andrea) :slightly_smiling_face: would suggest after you inject a short base break you back up in sequence a bit. I think 4 week base I would back up repeat a week when you start build again.

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Thanks for the input. Do you mean say I achieve #12 threshold at the end of my 8 week build and then revert back to a 4 week base block that I should start at #12 or less when I return to my second build block? Depending how I was feeling I was thinking of starting back at something like #10 as I would have lost some of the adaptions?

I don’t know about that :smiley:. I have learned a lot from Trainer Road but not sure I have necessarily learned the most efficient or easiest road to fitness.
Main reason the hard stuff works for me is that it keeps me engaged on the turbo listening to music. I am less enthusiastic when it comes to endurance workouts on the turbo so maximum time I could handle is probably 1’30. Something I need to work on. But Base +++ and SFR looks interesting enough.

My main event next year is the Marmotte so figured a plan based around lots of sustained efforts in the sweetspot, threshold, Vo2max on Tue / Thur with long endurance rides at the weekend would work best. This is basically following the principles behind trainer road plans.

Having played around with coach Jack the serious Italian takes threshold to max 3:30 at level #6 after a 8 week block which seems very light.
I am sure Andrea is far more qualified than the guys at trainer road having worked with high level world tour riders and you have heard these comments before :slight_smile:

Anecdotally some of my best road racing results were after week long trips to Spain where I rode big milage at lower intensities so I have evidence it works for me but I assumed it was only when you have lots of hours available.

Coach Jack has certainly shown me an alternative method and I am undecided which route to head down :).

Actually your thoughts of going from #12 to #10 is even better. Andrea says 4 weeks of NO activity should go from 12 to 9. I was actually thinking 4 weeks of base could go back 1 week (I stated it wrong) but 2 weeks is even better/safer.

Coach Chad says a lot of good stuff in my opinion and I am sure you learned some good stuff there. As we know TR took Coggan’s idea of trying to maixmize TSS with sweet spot. After reading all the books and as a TrainingPeaks user/runner, I thought maximizing TSS made sense as well. Generally the inverse logic seems to hold true. Most athletes will be there best when their CTL is the highest (and decent form/tsb)…

If youthink about this logic a little deeper, this means you could do all the “wrong” training for your body/personal needs but if your CTL is the highest you will be the fastest… hmm maybe not. Probably injecting at least a small amount “right” training would have a large postive effect. The bottom line is this is all theoretical science. Once evidence based science (Dr Seiler) or many elite coaches started stepping up (Zone 2 propoents) we see that the TSS model does not hold up to evidence even when it does sound good in theory.

Ultimately everyone wants to maximize their training but at the core of it lies “it depends” meaning in some cases the TR model works. Especially for short term FTP gains, which from a marketing perspective is beautiful is because it’s what everyone wants. “How do I improve my FTP?”

As you see CJ is very different. Many people love consitent hard work, look at the success of spin bike classes. Nike’s “no pain, no gain.” … Fitness marketing sells us this vision. Zone 2, going on walks, come on that stuff is for the birds :slight_smile: Give me some real training…

Obviously there needs to be some hard work to get fast, it’s just as Dr Seiler showed on as little as 6 hours a week it’s still more like 90/10 for time in zone is more efficient in his studies than a much high contribution of his “zone 2” which is zone3 or low zone 4 in the Coggan model. Now some individuals might thrive on sweet spot, again “it depends.” But our belief is most will do better following a plan that starts easy (as low as intensity level #1) and builds. Most old school pros went and many still go from a pure zone 2 base to our level 1, just adding small amounts of intensity. When at your base, your body just needs a small nudge to make gains. It’s like going to the gym and normally lifting 100 lbs and jumping to 250lbs… It’s not going to be much benefit, sure you will gain something but you would do the same benefit and less pain and risk by going to 110lbs. Small incremntal increases will nudge your body to make adjustments.

I should point out there are some new school young kids (pros) doing well on some other stuff these days (max efforts in the winters) but they are taking a much higher risk based approach according to Andrea. If they don’t break it can work for them.

I am talking a lot about pros but really Dr Seiler pointed out and Andrea feels the same the same principals hold true on as little as 6 hours a week as well.

Anyway. I say do what you love to do. Enjoy yourself. I am sure level #1 is way too crazy idea for you :slight_smile: If you love sweet spot, do it. If you can do sweet spot all winter and feel strong in the late spring well than it’s not so bad for you. I realize even starting at our higher levels are still a big drop from many of the high TSS plans TR has.

We always push for a health first approach to training. Excess stress with minimal additional and possibly no or negative benefits is not worth it in our opinion. More risk of illness, more risk of injury… I personally got a lot of insight out of this book “Faster” how how many pros (especially the author) focus more on health based approach to training.

Andrea is health first all the way. They have always been very anti-doping for example. Kicked guys off their teams in the past that were doping.

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Thanks for all that information and certainly fruit for thought. I think there is a perception from many and that includes myself that zone 2 training is easy. A proper zone 2 ride on the turbo which touches mid and high zone 2 is not actually easy. Likewise a properly executed 3/4 hour outside ride in zone 2 constantly on the pedals is not easy.

Health first approach sounds good. For now I will stick with threshold and Vo2max tue/thur combined with long Z2 at the weekend which is probably close to what Dr Seiler advocates.

This morning was threshold #8 and it felt really good during and afterwards so will continue and keep close attention on sensations.

The ability to customise plans etc is streets ahead of trainer road so great job there.

Thanks so much. Yes as you say, actually as you get stronger zone 2 power is not easy. As your aerobic fitness improves significantly even the top of zone 2 heart rate is not so easy. Dr Maffetone and the 7X iornman winner Mark Allen pointed out that when he got to peak fat / aerobic adaption he was doing zone 2 HR intervals as they were hard and he did not feel like keeping in zone 2 non-stop. Andrea points out for pros zone 2 is real work.

It’s important to clarify that Dr. Seiler’s definition of easy is below AeT (aerobic threshold), determinine your AeT base on HR is the key point. For a lot of people that is closer to 65% of power but might even be 60%. That will improve over time as you get more and more aerobic / fat adapted. If you eat pre-meal carbs that will shoot your HR up and start buring glycogen immediately so that you end up training at a lower power intensity. If you can burn mostly fat then your HR stays lower, power goes up and it gets much harder.

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Hi Alex. Can I just check re the maximum workout level of #26.
When I select a 4 month block starting with #10 in week 1, the maximum is #21 in week 15.
This is because there is a recovery week in each month. Is there an option I am missing when creating the plan?


Oh you are right there is no way to get above level 21. I just checked and I have sequences up to 24 but since you can’t get there they are un-necessary

This is levels #22-24. I assume you mean our threshold progressions not threshold blocks
2 X (3m@70% + 6m@82% + 6m@102% + 5m@40%)
2 X (3m@70% + 6m@83% + 6m@103% + 5m@40%)
2 X (3m@70% + 6m@84% + 6m@104% + 5m@40%)