Coaching help please... Jumping into Sweet Space Base - I don't want to lose what I have built

Need help being coached…

3rd year on TR… Last year I started out at this same time of year with SSB 1 and 2 (HV). But felt like I went backwards come January for indoor racing. I don’t want to lose what I have built up. My plan has me starting off with Sweet Spot Base HV block.

A little history… I’m 60yo, retired, and race the local XC MTB in the spring, and love endurance 75mi+ rides every couple of weeks and a few 12 hour+ events in the spring/summer. I’m a mountain biker, where local trails have some 5-10 min climbs that require Zone 4+ efforts. This is much more “punchy” than road biking.

Here is a look at the last 6 weeks of UNSTRUCTURED Just for Fun riding …(looking backward)

W0 - NOW
W1 - 9.5 hrs - TSS 602 - (About 30min in each Z4, Z5, Z6, Z7)
W2 - 5.6 hrs - TSS 333 - (Mainly Z2/Z3)
W3 - 12.2 hrs - TSS 550 - (Mainly Z2 with 60min combined in Z4/Z5/Z6/Z7)
W4 - 7.0 hours - TSS 400 (Some travel - but 90 min in Z4-Z7)
W5 - 11.4 Hours - TSS 724 - (90 min Z4, 45 min Z5, 30min Z6, 15 min Z7)
W6 - 9.3 Hour - TSS 530

So my AVERAGE weekly TSS is 523, but lots of variance. And I spend some time above upper Z4+.
My typical long mtb rides are 2-3 times a week of 3 hours at .82 IF for a TSS of 200.

If I jump into Sweet Spot Base HV plan, I don’t really spend any time in upper Z4 or higher and the block starts out at 433 TSS. Even with a ramp rate of 5, this would require 3 weeks to get back to my current average TSS that I have built. And that would include no time at upper Z4+.

Should I be doing something different?

Yes don’t do HV! Not a recommended plan for most people. Do LV or MV and add east endurance rides


All TSS is not created equal. So you can’t compare outdoor unstructured TSS to structured training TSS

Sorry one more thing. Master plans should be coming out very soon and they will only have two days of intensity per week. That is not what you will get from HV SSB

I think of it this way, that’s 120-minutes unstructured intensity or roughly, very very very roughly, about two TR 60-minute workouts. Not exactly because TR doesn’t have a lot mixed zone workouts. And structured workouts can be a little harder than unstructured.

That’s 2 TR workouts as a very rough approximation.

Less than an LV plan. Add endurance rides.

One reason I’m a fan of mixed zone workouts plus as much endurance for 6-12 hours per week total.

FWIW and I’m a year older and 8 years training.


“Master” plans? As in old people?

So if I move to MV, I fill in the tss with normal z2/z3 rides? I guess I’m worried that I’m not getting any z4+ time like I get on my outdoor rides.


Just so we are on the same page…

Week1 (outside) was —
Z1/z2 - 4.5 hours
Z3 - 3 hours
Z4 - 30min
Z5 - 30 min
Z6 - 30 min
Z7 - 30min

Today’s 2 hour SS ride was 49 min of Sweet Spot.

In this SSHV block I get nothing above 92%

Are suggesting that I move to Mid volume and fill in tss/hours with endurance.rides and never get above upper z4?

Yea Master’s Plan would be for people 50 and over. I’m in that category.

My view and I think the view of the TR is that you can’t really compared TIZ on an outside ride TPA structured workout unless you are executing a structured workout outside. Lots of stories here on the forum of people much younger than us who tried high volume who burned out quickly.

Generally it’s better to start LV and then see how you do before going up. But it’s your call obviously. But think about low, mid and high volume as the amount of structured training you want to do. Not as the total amount of riding you want to do.

Search the forum…there are lots of threads covering topics related to this. Best of luck

Are you sure that’s correct? Maybe I’m wrong, but 90 minutes above Z4 seems like a lot. Especially the 30 minutes of Z6 and 30 minutes of Z7.

Mtbjones, yes look at the week on the left. This was a hard effort outside week followed my a recovery week. I could NOT have done that week back to back.

Z4 - 1hr
Z5 - 39 min
Z6 - 39 min
Z7 - 21 min

One more thing. There are a lot of mtb riders here in Boise. While I’m never KOM on the strava segments, I’m usually ranked in top 15% of ALL riders on most segments, and many times in top 10 in age group.

My first plan was SSHV in 2018, and yeah, it was too much SS. I steadily lost fitness.

Honestly I don’t know what to tell you about picking a TR plan. I’ve got a lot of opinions about my training, and in the end they didn’t align with TR approach.

Was just pointing out that instead of thinking in terms of TSS and/or hours, and trying to align TR plans to your desired TSS/hours, reconsider and think about time-in-zone. You may end up making your own plan. Or not.

You are the coach, you either know what to do and make your own plan, hire a coach, or give that job to TR.

Or do polarised HV base and build instead. The more I look into literature the more it becomes apparent that you probably shouldn’t do any more than 2 HIT sessions per 7 days and no less than 1 HIT session per 10 days


So you want to be in race shape in january by doing a base plan? That is not the goal of a base plan….it builds a base, not your high end. You want race fitness, do a race plan. Be aware, if you going hard now, your gonna have to chill out sometime later, year round fitness is going to be plateau fitness


My 2c is that while it is very hard to build fitness, it is not nearly as hard to maintain fitness. Sure, could you lose a little off your high end energy systems if you don’t use them? Yes. But they come back quickly, and if you’re building them on a bigger base they’ll likely go higher and/or be more repeatable.

A lot of high end is neuromuscular as well. So do 3 sprints during an endurance ride, or do spin ups every 10 mins… something like that.

I think of the build/maintain balance very much like accelerating a bike … it takes a lot of effort to get up to 20mph, but once you’re there it takes much less effort to maintain that speed. Or something like that. Good luck🤘



I opted for HV polarised build this winter although I’m using a 1hr 45 minute commute 3 times a week to utilise more z2. I’ve opted to go straight into build has one Vo2 and one threshold per week. With a 3 hr plus z2 ride on a Sunday, if family commitments align or extra rides in the week to make up the hours.

At 56 I’m finding volume over intensity is providing the gains I need. My heart rate is reducing with relative watts increasing while I’m not carrying the fatigue from last years SSBMV.

If work is stressful I find the commuting also a good release for my state of mind as my wife passed comment a few days ago I’m more relaxed and happy when I cycle into work. Oh I’m also dropping weight as well but my intake has improved in terms of quality calories and abstaining from alcohol.

My baseline plan for winter is to increase my time from 10 hrs per week to 12 to 15 by April with repeating the 8 week training block of polarised build. Subject to change is my intention to complete a 8 week block of rolling road race.

On reflection there are a few main drivers at play. I can’t do MV without digging a hole for my health, so this leaves volume especially when I compare myself to quicker riders in my club who consistently drop me who simply ride a lot more, in some cases 6 to 7k miles per year. Frustration from last winters training and my mediocre gains together with a cycling holiday in Mallorca in April.

1 Like

Yes, that was a bad choice to remove VO2max workouts from polarised base. I think those workouts are not only essential to maintain what you had and not have to start from scratch later that year but also for the whole idea of polarised training where 10-20% of your training days should be really really hard


I think it is important to first define what “base” is and your goals for the season. If you are young, have a season, on a team with specific goals… taking a break from VO2 is not a bad thing.

If you are older and more focused on long term fitness and being in shape year round… then doing VO2 year round has benefit. But even then I think taking a break from high intensity is necessary and more focus is more on maintenance.

1 Like

I cannot find the article anymore but I remember reading about a study where the group doing vo2max every 10 days or so during off season improved more next season compared to the group that only did z2

1 Like

I am old (60) and want to maintain throughout the year. I’m thinking of moving to SSMV and keep one V02Max / week (or 10 days)

1 Like