Any benefit to Traditional Base vs Sweet Spot?

I just want to do something different, but I don’t want to spend 20+ weeks indoors this winter to come out next year with nothing to show for it, or worse yet with a loss of fitness. I’m looking to commit 10 hours a week roughly from November to end of March so whatever will give me the most bang for my buck is what I would like.

I feel like my base is already strong based on some of the rides I’ve done this year (back to back decent weekend rides such as 70mi moderate followed by a 107 mile century at 20mph the day after) but I also know “base can never be too big”.

The real goal this year is to do short power build MV, so whatever will set me up best for that. Those practice rides with the racers the intensity gets cranked up and I want to be able to drop the hammer over and over when it’s my turn to pull to wear those guys down a good bit before the finishing sprint

I just know when people do real base training it’s usually something like 15 hour weeks for 6-9 months, I don’t have that time commitment so the big concern is if Traditional Base MV is enough TSS and time in those zones to actually make any progress. The way TR pitches SSB, makes it seem like TB is a waste of time, but I know it isn’t really

Having done a 3hr Z2 ride this morning (big mountain), I was pondering this whole TB vs SSB thing a little. I’ll preface with the obvious that TSS is not equal, but in thinking about the time realistically available to me, I still can’t imagine myself sticking with a TB approach, mainly because real life gets in the way of being consistent on weekends. Like with my ride today, it was 142tss, but I could have done a really solid sweet spot workout with roughly equivalent tss in 2hrs. I knew I had a little more time this morning for a longer ride so I decided to do z2 rather than a shorter more intense ride, but I can’t always guarantee myself that I’ll have 4-5hrs for a really big ride. 2hrs is really my personal cap to be able to reasonably fit in my riding and not becoming an imposition on my family if we decide to go out and do something. So for me, SSB HV is going to tick the marks of time/intensity balance I can personally handle.

I’ve also re-thought TB time commitments. Most estimates are based off pro training, however, pros need to do that much just to induce adaptation stress. Most amateurs might only need 2-3 long rides a week, say ~10hrs a week, in order to create enough training stress.

This might be coming from a MAF-type world view where the athlete is fried and needs to spend a lot of time healing and reconstructing their aerobic endurance. Definitely pros, even as juniors, never spend 6-9 months doing “base”, so why would a healthy amateur?

Also never forget that even “short power” has a lot of aerobic contribution. Take the German 2000 Oly 4,000m track team who set a WR that year, they did TONS of Z2 type riding even though their goal was smashing out insane 2min power. That said, they also did a bunch of stage racing throughout the year which could account for a “short power” training block. And they only spent about 2 weeks doing true dedicated short power training before their A-race. Just something to think about.

At least you have a clear goal in mind of what you’re after.

1 Like

This. I would love to be able to do another 2-3month block of full-on polarized training but going back into semi-normal/semi-covid work hours kinda deletes that idea. I’ll probably stick with a couple ~4hr endurance weekend rides, maybe a couple weekday Tempo rides, and a VO2 session. :man_shrugging:t2:

I just signed up for SSBLV because I was looking for something to bridge weekends with the short dark weekdays here in Germany. I am able to ride nearly all weekends outside for 2-4 hours each day to get my long “base” style rides. About half of these are with a group and most of it is big rolling hills with longish Cat 3/4 climbs. I’m planning to reevaluate after block one is complete. I figure I can always add in sessions like Taku to extend my saddle time if i want more base tacked onto the higher intensity workouts. This would likely simulate my group rides as well.

I’m taking advantage of the Covid situation to fit in a slightly modified TBHV. I skipped TBHV1 and started at 2. We have to work from home, so I can always fit in 2 hours at lunch for a workout if I start work early and finish late (not an issue with no commute). Also, at the weekends, there’s not all that much we can go and do, so I’m not finding it too hard to find the time.

I’m finding the workouts a lot better than I first thought. In fact when a SST workout rolls around now I’m wishing I was cruising at 70%. I’ve got Netflix to distract and educate, which does help with the +2 hour stuff. I’m also starting with some strength stuff and it’s not killing me when I’m on the bike. Another advantage is that a 2 hour workout soon becomes not quite so intimidating length-wise.

I’m enjoying it, but won’t continue with loads of Z2 all winter once this 7 week block is up. I’m starting to add more SST now, and will probably do a custom 2nd base phase of mainly SST and maybe 1 long Z2 on the weekend.

2 Likes