Fitness loss with maintenance plan

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    Hi all,

    At this point I am in the middle of your Ironman level 2 training plan but due to race cancellations i will need to stop this training for now.
    Thank you very much for the offer of the maintenance plan, it is a big help.
    Regarding this my doubt is about the (big?) loss of fitness that i will have after this period.
    I am feeling very well now despite the training volume but when I import the maintenance plan for training peaks i see a big drop of fitness in coming weeks, if I add the 2 weeks very low volume before entering the maintenance plan I am afraid of loosing all the work that i have achieved in this last months.
    Does this make sense for you? This maintenance is better than having a schedule based on the 80/20 rule in 2/3 weeks cycles but with higher weekly TSS so my fitness don’t drop that much in such a short period?

    Sorry for the long text and big congratulations in your training plans, I never felt so good and fit in last years and still feeling fresh.

    Thank you,

    David Warden


    Thanks for using our plans and checking in. For sure, the Maintenance plan is written as an aggregate for all athletes. For some athletes, it will improve fitness, for most it will Maintain, and for some it will cause a slight loss in fitness.

    The fear of losing fitness is normal. However, the alternative is 365-days-a-year training with no long-term recovery. You can get away with this for a couple of years, but eventually you’ll lose fitness from over-training.

    Really, an athlete should ask themselves two questions:

    1. Can I continue to improve fitness indefinitely? If you say yes, this means that you think eventually you’ll be able to run a 3-minute mile. However, if there is an upper limit to your fitness, then taking a break and temporarily losing fitness is inevitable anyway.

    2. Can I maintain a certain level of fitness indefinitely? This is the tempting questions. Other than age, why not? It’s a complicated answer. If the level of fitness is, say 50 TSS, you probably can. If the TSS you are trying to maintain forever is 100, then you are fooling yourself. You must periodically reset so that you can enjoy several peaks of 100 TSS.

    An alternative to the Maintenance plan, after a brief break, is an Olympic or 70.3 plan with a virtual race in mind at the end. This still meets the needs of a break, gives you a bit more motivation, and clearly provides more potential fitness than the Maintenance plan. It meets all the criteria, assuming you are OK with not having an actual race at the end of the plan!



    Thank you very much David.
    Your answer makes all the sense and helped me a lot.
    Because at this point I’m doing close to 800 tss training weeks and with a CTL of 92 I was afraid of loosing this work but what you say makes all the sense.
    I will definitely have a break from structured training and decide the next step.
    Your advice of starting a new plan for a shorter distance may be a perfect solution for me and I didn’t thought about it.
    I can train for a late September race in hope that at that time we are able to race again, if not… i am more prepared to not have the race 🙂
    Thank you once again


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