3 x 20 mins @ sweet spot = 60mins @ sweet spot?

I have Hunter scheduled today which is a 2hr sweet spot workout. Three 20min intervals at sweet spot with 11min recoveries. I don’t fancy spending 2hrs on the trainer so instead can I just do one 60min effort at sweet spot and derive the same adaptations as I would if I had done Hunter?

I’m going to take a swing at this but others may correct me:

  1. It will be significantly more difficult doing 60 without the breaks vs 3 x 20min with breaks.
  2. Riding 60 min straight will improve your ability to hold steady-state power for longer periods of time at a higher given wattage as compared to 3 x 20min.
  3. You will burn less calories in 60 min version and there might be slightly less benefit in terms of pure aerobic energy adaptations that happen at lower watts.

What about something like Lamark, Eagle or Black Hawk? Threshold work (so higher intensity), but in less time.

There’s also something like Cumberland +1 or +2. No rest for the wicked, but you get your 60 minutes sweet spot done.

All of this.

Thanks. Fewer calories are fine. More difficult; I figured I could just deal with it. Sitting on a trainer for 2hrs is also difficult. Cumbernauld looked like a good alternative.

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Nothing wrong with doing it in one go, mentally difficult yes, but perfectly doable.

The problem is recovery.
But otherwise there is no issue.

Done. Cumberland +1 was absolutely fine. Spared myself 45 additional mins on the trainer :muscle: https://www.trainerroad.com/career/paulgrav/rides/45334536-cumberland-1

Thanks for the advice.


You shouldn’t need recovery when performing Sweetspot efforts.


I don’ think that’s true at all. At any intensity, including z1, you’re eventually going to need recovery, it just depends on the duration you spend at that intensity - the length of the recovery interval depends on the intensity/length of the work interval - obviously one can have a higher ratio (higher x : lower y where x is work and y is recovery) when doing sweet spot versus, say, VO2max, but they’re eventually going to need some recovery.
Same goes for “big R” recovery, i.e. days off the bike…yes, one should be able to do multiple days of sweet spot work (or anything else below threshold) consecutively, but even that has a limit before you’ll need a day off the bike. There is also the mental component of it - most people can’t go out on their own and do a 60 min sweet spot effort with any sort of consistency. I would’ve thought these were pretty basic principles to anyone using TR.

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Go do Eclipse for a week or two in a row and see if you need recovery or not.
If there was no need for recovery, I would do Wright Peak -1 every day and be over 1000 TSS per week.


Probably thin margins but that link actually says you spent 40 minutes in tempo. :wink:

And to think I did the full Hunter yesterday. :roll_eyes:

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Perhaps I should have been a little more detailed in my reply. Of course you need to have a break no matter what the interval you’re performing as at some point you’re going to fatigue. Generally speaking though, you should be able to complete an hours (ish) worth of sweetspot without a break.

I think you’ve blown what I’ve said out of proportion.

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Either way Sunday workout is a bonus day for me, 3 workouts are normally enough but needed something to cover a strength training class that was unexpectedly cancelled.

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The plans are made with 80/20 intensity principle in mind. I find it much easier to get through large Z1 breaks when I think about the big picture. I try not think of recoveries as wasted time, even on rare days I feel like I don’t need them.

I disagree. TrainerRoad plans do not support the 80/20 principle. With the exception of the traditional base plan (which for obvious reasons lacks the 20% moderate to high intensity portion), none of the other plans come close to the 80/20 split.


Generally speaking, yes…although I think that line of thought ignores the mental effort necessary to do an hour’s worth of sweet spot without a break (especially indoors). So while most of can physically do it, it wouldn’t be productive long term because we’d quickly lose motivation/focus/commitment/whatever and not want to do it anymore. Bigger picture, it doesn’t matter if you can complete an hour at sweet spot once, it matters if you can do the work often/consistently enough to improve over time.

Oh, interesting. I’d assumed the recoveries and endurance rides would make up vast majority, especially after hearing Chad saying he considers polarized rule in plans. Interested to see what splits do look like on more intense plans.