Time Crunched Masters Age Cyclist and Base Advice

Been using Xert for a couple of years and appreciate the platform immensely. I don’t race and most of my group outdoor rides are from LTP to tempo/threshold average power. I have about 6-8 hours per week to train, over the next 3-4 months, and my goal is to be ready for the season by increasing my aerobic base, and raising LTP and Fat Max wattage relative to HR.
What methodology would you advise:

  1. Just ride at (@95%) LTP for as many of those hours as I can? And add the occasional big intensity workout as well?
  2. Ride to 75% max aerobic power (tested) for 3 (2 hour) workouts per week of 3x20 min intervals WITH a heart rate ceiling of 83% max HR (as suggested by a well respected local cycling gym trainer - TCG)? Then easy endurance around these workouts? Kind of like a SS based program but with a HR ceiling so as not to burn out.
  3. Pick a rider type (GC) and low to moderate ramp rate and then a date in the future and just follow XATA recommendations?

Perhaps do, say, 6 week blocks of each. I’d also put a HR and/or DFA Alpha 1 limit on (1) se well. If you are not getting the gains from one of them - drop it.

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I would say if you’re not happy with past base training, do something different to what you’ve done in the past :slight_smile:

You don’t explicitly mention building volume, and that’s important to do in a sensible way. Xert does that with improvement rate, the others you will need to add some progression eg longer rides and hours under 1, longer tempo intervals under 2. You can of course use Xert to guide volume increase even if not following their workouts

Other factor is boredom / monotony if doing this indoors. 1, and 2 could risk boredom, while 3 has a variety of workouts and mixes intensities a bit within workouts too…


I started to type up responses, but I coudldn’t really add much to what you’d already said. I’d say the goal is to get that TL as high as you can, and on 6-8 hours/week, probably one intense session a week is good. What I’d do is endurance as hard as you can while still feeling ok for the next day, and then when your stars go blue, do an intense ride. Go back to riding endurance until stars turn blue again. That pattern might mean you don’t even get an intense session every week.

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This is what I have decided to do. To predict how MY body would respond, I have plotted 6 LTP sessions a week for (60-90min) and see what the star colour would be. For about 6 weeks, the start of every session is blue and becomes red once the workout is logged. The next day is always blue again…so I pile on the LTP again. At about the start of week 7, the day starts out blue and ends blue after the workout is logged by the system. At this time I introduced an intense session and the calendar day wet red again, and then yellow for a week…so LTP again until blue shows up. Rinse and repeat. The predicted numbers look ‘good’…we will see how reality plays out.

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Keep us up to date on the progress. I’m in the same boat time wise and I don’t race. Spirited Fondo rider! I set my type to sprint time trialist then rock out from there with a target date until time changes. This hardcore group rides starts then that I hope to be able to hang on to til the end at some point this year.


You may want to consider a shorter focus duration athlete type if you are going through the whole periodisation with Xert (discussion so far has been about base only). With the sprint time triallist you won’t see a lot of change from base to build to peak and you may miss some adaptations by not doing any work above threshold. Also, many group rides have bursts or even a bit longer efforts above threshold, so you should probably train those too via a shorter focus duration - maybe check the focus duration of a group ride in which you were dropped?

I should have elaborated more, but I will shorten my duration type in March. I expect to come into those rides flat and dropped. My plan is to use them as a part of the build and hopefully be able to complete one. Decided to try this method this year

Nov-Dec (last fall) Strength/cross training with maybe 3-4 hours of riding per week during that time. Training load dropped as expected

Jan - March 13: Sprint TT for a solid base (slow/moderate). Decided to do ZRL this year, so I’m getting some weekly intensity. All the other rides are endurance based, even the ZRL races turn into SS/Threshold workouts.

March - June 4 I’ll switch to Breakaway Specialist still at Moderate. June 4th with a TED for a fondo

After that I’ll switch to maintenance because I’ll hit limit of training hours (approx 9 hours at Peak according to the dial). I guess I really only made myself have a really long base season compared to my usual. So far, I feel great and notice the aerobic difference. 2x20s @ 85-95 percent used to scare me, now they aren’t as bad. (35yo, both work full time, 3 toddlers 6-8 hours is my max for a happy marriage)

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Sounds like a good plan, and good luck with it :slightly_smiling_face:

If you want to raise your Fatmax (hence decrease your VLaMax) I recommend two workouts:

  • One workout as the start of the “long ride”: 6x0:30 @170-200% FTP, resting for 2:30 at LTP. Alternatively, 10-12x0:30@170-200%, resting for 4:30 at LTP. The “Headstrong” workouts go into the right direction, but the sprints are too short for the power requested. So I made custom ones for me; still, Xert rates them as 4/5 (10x0:30@175% FTP, 4:30@LTP Rest).

  • Sweetspot Workouts but with extremely low cadence on low glycogen storage. I do Rock’n’Roll Endurance or 3x20@90% with cadence between 40-50. This promotes conversion of “intermediate type muscle fibers” (which can develop both to oxydative and glycolytic fibers) to oxydative fibers.

Other than those specific workouts, I would recommend to start with a shorter focus duration (aka improving your VO2Max) and then switching to the “Time-Trialist” or even longer durations. That is because you it is contradictory to increase VO2Max with hard sessions and at the same time increase your Fatmax. Typical VO2Max-intervalls involves lot of glycolytic contribution, increasing your VLaMax, but for high Fatmax, you want your VLaMax to decrease. So get a high ceiling first (VO2Max) and learn to utilize it then (move Power@FatMax closer to Power@VO2Max).

With a solid BASE plan in place, (lots of LTP volume) will LTP move independently from TP, or does one always move the other?

Rephrased: Is it possible to move LTP closer to TP?

LTP and TP track almost identically together - as TP goes up, so does LTP and vice versa.

While it is possible to get LTP to a higher relative value of TP, it comes at at the expense of HIE.

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I think when you are not that fit, you can increase both. I wonder when the point of fitness comes where you have to decide for one asset in your fitness signature at the cost of another.

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