3*20 Sweet Spot doesn't hurt that much any more. Why?

Doing 20 minutes at 93% doesn’t hurt that much anymore. Why?

This is my second year of riding and I made huge steps. Last winter I did my own version of sweet spot base training. 410 minutes and that became 315 all the way up to doing 2 hours at the lower end of SS.

When I do high end SS training it only starts hurting after 40 minutes like it use to do after 10 minutes last year. With the first 20 just nagging. Power zones seem to be good. Tested recently at 342. My HR zones line up nicely as well.

What should I do this winter? More volume doesn’t seem so attractive. Netflix and SS isn’t that much fun 3 times a week for 12 weeks on end like last winter.

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Do you have a tool, such as WK04/05? If so, the starting point to answer this question would be analyzing overlays of your PDC for the time periods leading up to the 10min and 40min. Given how new you are to riding, it is highly likely that you have a greater ability to hold power longer all else being equal.

Secondly, unless you come from another endurance sport, such as running or swimming, psychologically you have trained yourself to endure pain longer. Ex-world champion mountain biker and prolific author, Selene Yeager (a.k.a. “Fit Chick”) calls it “Getting Comfortable Being UNcomfortable”.

It’s not clear what you are doing for the 2hours. However, what your progression should look like would depend on your goals. For example, if you are road racer (2.5 hours or greater) or grand fondo competitor, one goal would be to build up your fatigue resistance measured both as Time-to-Exhaustion (how long you can hold your FTP) and Stamina (how flat the tail of your power duration curve is. Both of these measures of fatigue resistance can be improved with more and longer SS (and threshold and O/U). Have you built up to 4 x 30min @ 92-94%, for example?

Along the way, one technique that I have used that is very helpful to improving fatigue resistance is making the intervals harder later in the workout. So for example, if you are prescribed 4 x 10 @ 88, 92, 94, 90, using Workout Creator you could change that to 90, 92, 94, 94. You could also use a similar approach for threshold workouts.


WK04/05 are an unknown to me. So no testing there.
What I did for those two hours was riding between 85-93% of FTP with costing in the corner to flush the legs for a few seconds.
My last TT didn’t really hurt my legs. But my lungs wanted to burst so maybe VO² max work for the winter idk.

My goals for next year are to get faster at time trialing. This year I loved doing TT’s, I guess this where my pain tolerance comes from, and want to do a 13 minute 10k and a sub hour 42k.
Also I have some longer gravel/fondo type events planned where I just want to do my best.

I want to bridge the winter coming out with something extra. Normally you do base work but this just bores the hell out of me. It doesn’t make me feel like I’m getting faster. More then 1 to 1,5 hours on the trainer makes me want to quit all together especially with base work like SS.

did you test using a ramp test? how did your sub hour 42k power look compared to your tested FTP?

this is the other “pain tolerance” we only learn on the trainer :crazy_face: I’m hoping to overcome the mental pain and get some solid base work on the trainer this winter

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If 20min intervals aren’t doing it for you, have a look at the following series of workouts: Pioneer, Phoenix, Gibraltar & Polar Bear.

They offer 45,75,90,105mins of rolling SST at intensity ranges of 80-85%, 85-90% and 90-95% FTP…these should help bring some hurt back in your life :sunglasses:

In the workout description, it says that they are appropriate for triathletes, so they may suit your TT goals.


Good stuff :+1:

Try to tell your brain that “the game” is longer and longer durations. How long can you go?

Bookmark it and conquer!!


I tested with a ramp test at 305 or something close to that but i only ended up with 279 avg and 291 NP in a time of 1:05:26. But this was in april and back then I was very anaerobically build. Now it should be closer. My last tt was 20 minutes and i did 316 NP and I tested ftp before at ±300 watts so that was closer to the truth. I do a single ten minute effort and do see that as 110% of ftp.

Ah. What have you been doing 3x20 SS at when it feels easy? Have you tried 3x20 at 325 based on your new ftp yet?

Yes! Riding at or above threshold for extended periods of time will definitely train you psychologically to ride in that uncomfortable territory. So not surprising that riding below it (i.e. SS) feels “easy” after a season of TTng.

However, SS is really important. And, if it helps you deal with them (including the length), think of them as the base/foundation for the higher level zones (specifically, threshold and lactate clearing O/Us).

Do you have flexibility in the order in which you do these?

Similar to the way that you would progressively increase your Time-in-Zone (TiZ) doing SS efforts, you’d do the same thing with threshold (95-99) and lactate clearing O/Us (95/105s). The triple combo of SS, Threshold, and LT will build up your TTE for the 42k TT.
[IMO VO2 isn’t as good use of time as focusing on these 3 “lower” zones]

For your 10k, you would start doing VO2 work while in maintenance mode on the lower zone work.

My longest is 1hr. It sucked.

Lactate is produced by fast twitch muscle fibers, and cleared by slow twitch / type 1 muscle fibers. So don’t forgot those long aerobic endurance rides to develop slow twitch as they are using lactate from fast twitch as another source of fuel! Great article here: https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/what-is-lactate-and-lactate-threshold/ and if you don’t care about the science just skip ahead to “Training Misconception Around Lactate Threshold”

Mine was a little over an hour, pacing was the hard part.

Good point. I take that as a given for all cycling events.

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threshold, threshold bursts, vo2max…you’re just scratching the surface. You’re doing enough Sweet Spot, time to move on!

More importantly, what are your big goals for 2020? That should drive your training.


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Secondly, unless you come from another endurance sport, such as running or swimming, psychologically you have trained yourself to endure pain longer. Ex-world champion mountain biker and prolific author, Selene Yeager (a.k.a. “Fit Chick”) calls it “Getting Comfortable Being UNcomfortable”.

This has been a huge revelation for me. I come from a powerlifting background which is basically recovery interspersed with short, wildly intense periods of pain. When I first started SSB earlier this year, holding moderate SS for 5 minutes 3 times seemed ridiculous, I absolutely hated SS. About 6 months in and I still hate SS, but doing 3x10 SS intervals isn’t destroying my soul.


My goals for next year are a for march: GravelFest by ltd and a 1/8 triathlon relay where I’ll do the bike split. Trying to add to this form I race a 42K TT I did last year in April. Then in July I aim for a top 10 at the Dutch amateur nationals TT. Looking at last year’s times this should be possible with a good winter plan, only like a 10% increase in power :grimacing:. And some random TT’s over the year where I want to hone my skills like keeping momentum in corners.

What I plan to do after reading all your advice is to do a 6 week block of:
two workouts 3x30 minutes at ss,
one low cadence workout 4x15 ss 60-70 rmp
and a VO² max workout 4-6x4 minutes at 110-120%.
Totaling 7 hours in total.
Then some followed by a 4 week block off my old TT plan. What is just a lot of race simulations, over unders and KOM hunting on the 5-10km segments.

I’ll just have to get threw the SS workouts with some movies, TV series or some other entertainment.

Spread 3 of the SS Booster workouts in a week?

I’m praying the same happens to me. Because at the moment all intervals longer than 10 minutes suck. Always.


@jacemano and @TRusername

I did some research and according to: Maximal Lactate Steady State Versus the 20-Minute Functional Threshold Power Test in Well-Trained Individuals: “Watts” the Big Deal?

Maximal lactate steady state(MLSS) occurs at 88-98% of FTP aka Sweet Spot! This is in well trained athletes. They can tolerate higher lactate levels so working at this level will make you more capable in handeling sustained efforts. So remember that your MLSS may occur at 88% or even lower so doing a 95% interval at “SS” will make it more like a threshold interval then a SS interval. This is not an excuse this is what you are training for with SS efforts.

I guess that I’m at the higher end of the MLSS scale compared to my FTP that is why it’s easier for me to do 30 minutes at 90-93%.

So keep at it things should get better! I started out with 10 minutes braking me one year ago.
Pay attention to your HR with the intervals since SS or MLSS is or should be a physiological steady state HR can give a good indication of this.