Any benefit to Traditional Base vs Sweet Spot?

oh you’re missing out! 2:45 of tempo, and 2:45 of endurance is so much fun :slight_smile:


Lol. Thats why I was only half joking when I mentioned repeating TB1. I enjoyed it. The longest prescribed workout was 1:45, but on my days I had the time, I would turn whatever workout I was doing into a 2hrish workout and load up a movie to watch.


type2 fun

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Interesting thread. Here is my experience with TB and some reasons for doing it instead of SSB.
Last year I experimented with my base training by implementing TBHV in conjunction with strength training. My base phase was TBHV1-3 (+strength training)>SSBHV1-2. I went through TBHV1-3 while following a Starting Strength protocol (although Rip would say I’m NDTP and would not be impressed). I managed to increase my strength numbers in line with/above Chad’s level 3 benchmark recommendations for the squat, deadlift, press, and bench, even though I don’t consider myself a “sprinter”, and I didn’t gain any weight.
Previously, I found the SST intensity made it hard to sustain a strength program and the lower intensity of TB helped up until about TBHV3 where the stress from cycling plus 3x/week of lifting heavy was too much and my lifting stopped somewhere in SSBHV2. In hindsight, I should have dropped the strength to 1-2x/ week way sooner as the cycling stress increased in TB3.
The overall results of this base period were good. I was able to maintain 1hr long bouts of continuous SST (90-95%FTP) and my FTP was the highest it has been since I started training 3 years ago at the end of this base period. Unfortunately, my training plan suffered a major interruption and I was unable to continue on into a build phase during this period to see how far I could push my fitness last year.
This year I plan on following a similar program with some key adjustments I think will help in sustaining a year long strength program as well as avoiding burnout and the “perma fit” syndrome, as Tim Cusick called it, by remaining in base too long.
My training plan this year:
TBHV1-3 (+Strength training)> 4 week VO2max/FTP block > SSBHV2>SPB > 4 week VO2max/FTP block > race > mid season break > SSBHV2 > SPB (or GB) with FRC/Pmax wkos built in. Strength training drops from 3x/week to 1-2x/week after TB.
I want to modify TR’s SST and FTP wkos to include intervals of longer duration as wkos with 30-60 min intervals at SST-FTP really move the needle for me. This year I was able to maintain 3x/week strength training throughout TBHV1-3 (it was easier to maintain this time around- yay adaptation) and will now drop it down to 1-2x per week depending on my fatigue and try to maintain this throughout the year. The goal for strength training after the first 3 months of the season is to not have to start over from scratch next season and hopefully achieve heavier weights when I run NLP again in late 2020.
The first 4 week VO2max/FTP block consists of 2x/week of 3 reps of 4-5 min. intervals as hard as I can go and progress by trying to go harder each subsequent workout. 1x/week of FTP intervals that progress each week from 3x10 min. and then progress by extending the duration to as long as possible up to 1x60 min. per Tim Cusick’s TP recommendations. 1x/week long ride of 3-6 hrs that includes some low tempo work. The remaining wkos are basically Pettit for a total of 6 days/week on the bike. The second 4 week VO2max/FTP block will probable include some hybrid of the specialty plans, I haven’t decided yet. The overall goal of this plan is really just to increase my FTP, not for any specific type of racing.
As a final note, assuming I continue with strength training throughout this season, I will not be returning to TB for the 2021 season. My hope is that I will be adapted enough to handle a SSB phase while running NLP by this time. The reason for this is TB is hard to maintain with a job. Getting up at 4 AM to ride the trainer for 3+ hours on the weekdays, and spending all weekend on the bike takes a lot away from the other areas of life! But TB definitely helped me transition into maintaining a workable strength program while focusing on my cycling gainzzzz bruh.


Question for anyone who has done TB->SSB progression (HV in my case):

  • Did you skip ahead in SSB1 at all? If so, how many weeks?
  • Did you add any Z2 (endurance) hours after the SS intervals to up the volume?
  • Did you replace any SS days with Endurance or Tempo to create a more smooth transition from TB / get a more polarized or pyramidal training distribution?

In my case, there are many months before racing begins and I am attempting a double base period. I am thinking about trimming the SSB portion of my cycle to allow for more of a build period and probably foregoing the specialty period in favor of racing.

I’m starting SSB LV after finishing up the full TB MV. My FTP stayed right around 250 the entire TB. But I went skiing for a week and took some time off. I’m starting SSB with a 243 FTP based on the ramp test. I was doing the 20 min test for TB.

I’ll be adding in endurance rides indoors or out weather depending so I didn’t skip the first week. Did add Carson -5 at the end of the ramp test today.

I’m not worried about the slight drop in FTP. I think my endurance base was helped and I’ll be able to get a lot of benefit now from SSB. Or at least that is the plan

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I’m repeating SSB1 three times before I move onto SSB2. I doing this because I have plenty of time before my peak and I’m not looking for intensity so early in the base season. I wanted something more than Traditional Base but less than SSB2, so I thought this would be a good solution.

So far so good and I’m regaining all my lost fitness from last year’s peak (FTP 298).

  1. SSB1 = 266 FTP
  2. SSB1 = 277 FTP
  3. SSB1 = 285 FTP (today’s ramp test to start SSB1 for the third time)

I would call that a successful experiment but I haven’t enjoyed the o/u workouts. I may try an under/threshold (90% / 100%) next year to make it less taxing in weeks 4 and 5 of SSB1, as those were my only complaints.


I found this today on slowtitch that visualizes the idea between different intensity training benefits/drawback

As discussed on their forum, the exact amount of fitness/damage that occurs with each type of training can be adjusted but the concept is sound and easy to understand. Also the amount of “damage”/CTL you can handle goes up with more training(base)


In my previous season going TBHV123>SSBHV12 caused too much of a drop in CTL in SSBHV1, and I felt like I spent way to long in the base period without any intensity. TBHV3 has threshold intervals so I figured a good transition would be a MAP block and then directly into SSBHV2 (see my post above). YMMV. I frequently sub in a long ride on the “Sunday” workouts of the SSBHV plan (per Chad’s recommendations in the weekly comments too). After doing a full TBHV, I frequently add tempo intervals to these long Sunday rides if the legs are feeling good.

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I decided to take a slight detour with my SSB2 HV this weekend and try a long endurance session. I did vogelsang, 4hrs of 60-70%

Wasn’t too taxing, but it was tough to be on the bike that long. My aerobic decoupling was 7.5%, a little surprising given how much SSB I’ve done, but I only had a couple of bottles of water and eating 70 calories every 30mins or so starting at 90mins. As mentally tough as these long indoor endurance rides can be, I’d really like to incorporate longer endurance efforts in the winter


I had the same thought coming out of TBMV. Was going to move into SSBMV, but just looked like such a reduction, especially since the third block of tb is really quite hard. Opted instead to go directly into build, and then do ssb with group rides and Saturday races to keep the TSS and engagement high, before hitting specialty.

Hi All !

Very interesting thread i enjoyed reading this.

I’m currently modifying my plans a bit and wanted to do the same, but only with a single Z2 block at the end or beginning of the workout.

What would be a more beneficial approach here on extending sweet spot with longer z2 block?

I’m not sure I understand your question - I find endurance work after intervals very helpful, but rarely stress myself up to the sweet spot area. I also add the time after endurance or sweet spot workouts based on my sensations and available time

On my 1.5H SS workout i’m looking at adding a Z2 block, and use it if i have some spare time. My question was would it be better to add it before starting SS intervals, or after, what would be more beneficial for gains.

I wouldn’t want to push the SS work in front of me, I would just extend the cooldown if I have the time and mood. I don’t think there is any significant difference.

I would say unless you feel that you need additional warm up and you go into the intervals feeling flat then add them to the end. That way if something comes up and you have to end the session you already have the important intervals out of the way. Look at the endurance as something extra to add once you get the scheduled workout done and you have additional time/energy.

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It depends what gains you are chasing. If you want to focus on your ability to complete hard intervals when already in a depleted state then you should add the time to the start.

You see this a lot with high level athletes trying to win long events - so a tired max 20 minute effort might see them put in 2,000 kJ of work and then do a maximal 20 minute effort. Or, similarly, fatigued sprints after a long ride to familiarize themselves with the ability to sprint at the end of a road race

This puts the quality of the intervals in the context of your fatigue level.

The opposite is more beneficial for most riders, which is to focus on the intervals up front and then add the extra fatigue at the end after completing the challenging portion of the ride

Both have their place but it depends what your focus is and where you are in your overall training as to which will be best for you


My Training week composes of 5-7hrs of training which are 0:45min-1:30h long.
I’m looking to putting some longer rides to work on aerobic performance, so it seems best would be to add that z2 block at the end to reach my goal

Wanted to circle back as I’ve just completed another four week block using the same methodology as above. Starting to think its maybe a bit too much intensity for the time of year, but mentally and physically I am really loving this approach. My FTP is consistently climbing and I feel fresher than I do otherwise

The ramp rate and overall volume I sustained during this block should’ve had me pretty gutted at the end of the third week, but, while tired, I wasn’t dragging as much as I would expect and was able to complete (barely) The Thumb +1 with a 5 watt higher FTP yesterday - which indicates to me that I’m progressing and recovering adequately