We are all tired of the sweet spot vs zone 2 training discussion. We all had enough of being told that “all roads lead to Rome” at the same time as zone 2 training is crucial for mitochondrial function.
Can we please see the datasets ? Does anyone have any solid data on the effect of multi-week or multi-month lactate-guided training under LT1, and perhaps similar datasets on mixing in higher intensities like sweet spot / threshold ?
The question I’m trying to answer with DATA and not expert advice or personal experience, is : How to best raise my power while keeping lactate under LT 1? That’s all I care about. I don’t care about performance in general, FTP or anything like that.
the answer is simple: just ride more. in base I’ll do a couple sweet spot workouts and throw in tempo on a Saturday ride, but otherwise z2. it’s all aerobic work, you just have to balance the intensity and duration, but cycling is a sport which relies on volume for improving
You will struggle to find relevant datasets, that is multi-month studies on a large number of established/trained cyclists, because things like that are logistically very difficult to organise, and I think you’d likely struggle to get funding.
Even if we did, do the finer details matter? Given there will certainly be individual variation (athlete A performs best at X% below LT1, while athlete B… you get the idea), and that it’s hard wholly to eliminate confounding variables (are we controlling for diet? for sleep?), I’m not sure how useful the nuances would be.
On the other hand, we have ~100 years of anecdata that the world’s highest performing cyclists have (generally) ridden a lot at (generally) mostly low intensity. There is a saying that success leaves clues. No, tradition is not infallible by any means, but I’m not convinced that the way the best cyclists train has changed all that much in a long time*.
Here’s my take (before I’m shot down by actual physiologists): if you’ve got less than about 10-12 hours a week, aerobically most roads do lead to Rome. But if you have appreciably more time than that, then you can do more and hence, in the end, be better. The only way to do more is for most of that riding to be pretty easy, though how easy likely varies from person to person and situation to situation and will need some individual experimentation.
*the bigger changes to my mind have come in nutrition, and in not getting too out of shape in the off season. But that’s a different thread.
I think most TR users fall under 10h/week. The very reason of this platform is to optimize the limited training time we have. Pros have coaches and time on their side. We have money and less time.
With that said, if all roads do lead to Rome, why the hell would I bother with SS workouts in my base plans (which I hate), or god forbid, another threshold workout ? Why wouldn’t I just stick to 1x Vo2 max workout per week, puke my guts out, and for the rest of it, train under LT/VT1 - conversational pace. Again, the goal would be HEALTH not performance.
That and the lack of data supporting SS over z2 for amateurs with less than 10h of training a week, especially considering that all roads supposedly lead to Rome, and Ss Threshold sucks compared to z2 - while not changing anything with regards to vo2 max or anaerobic intervals which clearly have a place for health / fitness.
Tell us Andrew, if we don’t care about racing, why would we still care about SS / Threshold ?
Have you actually read the scientific literature? The vast majority of the thousands of exercise training studies that have been performed have had individuals training at what could now be described as “sweet spot”. Far fewer have utilized higher intensity training (e.g., “HIIT”), and almost none have employed large volumes of lower intensity training.
IOW, we know from decades and decades of research that “sweetspot” works… it’s other types/intensities of training that might deserve further research (especially in patient populations, where safety concerns have limited studies of high intensity training).