Duration of sweetspot intervals?

I have been doing a lot of sweetspot work lately but never used workout with intervals longer than 6 minutes because i find them much harder to complete.

Am i missing out on certain adaptions even if my rest period between sets is short and i spend the same if not more time im z4 overall?

if you are struggling with SS at 6min intervals you may want to look at lowering FTP. You should be able to do 10+ min with at 7/10 RPE at sweet spot, with the goal to grow that duration to 15, 20, 25min + to really grow that aerobic base.

5 Likes

To be honest - if you can do 6 minutes of SS you can easily do 10 minutes. After doing 10 minutes couple of times, you can do 15 minutes etc. You will be surprised how fast your body adapts to this type of efforts - it is almost all in the head not your body. If you have proper cooling (the most important part of any sustainable efforts - in my opinion) and do not forget about carbs (almost as important as cooling), doing 3x20 of SS should be doable without any problem soon. These kinds of efforts are more on the mental side than stamina (especially with SS).

Could you tell why you do only 6 minutes of efforts? Your legs give up or your cardio? Or you simply haven’t tried longer intervals?

3 Likes

As you said it’s not so me failing the workout as it is lacking drive to go further.

I found that if i stick to these shorter intervals i much more motivated to get to the workout and often pick a longer version of a workout to add more volume.

If i was to miss out big time on certain adaptations i’d have to reevaluate my approach though.

What are you training for?

Meaning, what types of efforts (intensity and duration) do you need?

With how things are going atm i’m mainly trying to build a good aerobic base.

I usually supplent these sweet spot workouts with z2 work outdoors aswell.

The adaptation you are missing out on is TTE (Time to Exhaustion). If you are doing a race, fondo or group ride you might be required to do 20-30-40 minutes of sweet spot just to stay with the group at times.

But I agree with what has been said above - you are probably over testing on the ramp test, or some how have your FTP set too high for vanity.

Six minutes of sweet spot should be easy. Even ten or fifteen minutes should be easy. Six or ten minutes of threshold (the power you can hold for an hour) should also feel fairly doable.

3 Likes

I think keeping SS intervals “short” is missing out. I am not the physio expert here, but everything I have seen points to great returns when you stretch those to 10, 15, 20 and even out to 30 minutes or more.

It is largely about muscular endurance, and this power zone tends to be one that is used A LOT in many events and races. So I think it is worth re-evaluating your reason for needing mini breaks.

2 Likes

absolutely agree.

I just did a 40x2 this weekend. Did the first as advertised and pushed the 2nd up to FTP. It sucks, but it should be within reach.

6 minutes of threshold is too short (as I correctly remember form one of Kolies podcast, you need 10 minutes at least to drive some adaptations) not saying about 6 minutes of sweet spot - that is extremely easy and you lose a lot of adaptations in terms of TTE and muscle endurance. With longer intervals you also put more stress on your aerobic system, and as this is mostly aerobic sport it is always good for you.

Even i rest as little as 30 seconds between intervals?

Yes, if you can’t maintain longer duration, that is a sign of an issue, IMHO.

The whole point of longer intervals is that it builds on itself and becomes more demanding the longer you hold that power.

Needing to pop one or two into a workout as a “bailout” to finish otherwise fully completed longer intervals is considered “OK”. But if you can’t even complete a handful of intervals over 6 minutes without breaks, something is not right.

Edit to add some potentially useful threads to review:

1 Like

Try this. Progress to the longer SS workouts. Start with ones at the lower range of SS. Tell yourself you’re allowed a ten second backspin after 5 minutes of a 10 minute interval, or 6 minutes of 12. You’ll pretty quickly realize that you’re not actually getting more tired, it’s just kind of hard the whole time. If you try to see how long you can go past that promised backspin without taking it, you might find you don’t actually need it. Long SS intervals, especially when you’re doing 3x20 or 30 are mentally really hard, but you really shouldn’t be grinding out the seconds like you might be in a suprathreshold effort.

1 Like

This is important. I think some of the posts above are over-emphasising the word “easy” when talking about sweet-spot work. Yes it should be do-able and you should be able to work your muscular (and mental) endurance up to the longer intervals, but it should also feel uncomfortable, ie: “kind of hard”. NOT easy, in my opinion.

Another way to put it is that the mental component is important because it’s uncomfortable enough that your brain would rather stop, but not so uncomfortable that your body actually needs to stop.

7 Likes

In my experience the shorter sweetspot intervals should be used to ease you into longer efforts. I’ve had good success by progressing into 60min straight of sweetspot.

I have also had trouble progressing through Sweet Spot workouts as the intervals become longer and rests become shorter. I can maintain a longer Sweet Spot or Threshold effort in a race or on a climb but have difficulty completing harder and longer workouts. It is likely due to limited muscular endurance and inconsistent motivation. I don’t think it is an FTP issue as the Ramp Test and other tests and apps consistently give me a similar FTP.

Given the current WFH situation, I have built the plan to address my Sweet Spot shortcomings. I will be able to do TSS of 400+ and will intersperse Zwift group rides and shorter Zwift events during each week. There is a steady progression in my plan and if I fail a workout or have to turn down the intensity , I will be able to step back and pause the progression or take a recovery week as needed.

Week 1

Abbey 6 x 5 min w/ 3 min recovery 62 TSS

Week 2

Tunnabora 5 x 7 min w/ 3 min recovery 65 TSS
Ericsson 4 x 8 min w/ 3 minu recovery 64 TSS
Carson 6 x 5-7 min w/ 2 min recovery 66 TSS
Monitor 6-6 min w/ 2 minute recovery 65 TSS

Week 3

Geiger 3 x 12 min w/ 3 min recovery 67 TSS
Antelope -5 4 x 10 min w/ 3 min recovery 70 TSS
Carillon 4x10 min w/ 1-5 min recovery 68 TSS
Tallac 3 x 15 min w/ 3 min recovery 74 TSS

Week 4

Antelope 5x10 min w/ 5 min recovery 96 TSS
Ericsson 6x8 min w/3 min recovery 97 TSS
Tray Mountain 3x 20 min w/ 5 min recovery 103 TSS
Eclipse 3x 20 min w/ 7 min recovery 104 TSS

Week 5

A Race - Wright Peak 3x 30 min w/ 5 min recovery 145 TSS

Why do you want to take breaks?

Like others have said, SS Is most effective at driving training adaptations with longer intervals.

2 Likes

I wouldn’t worry too much about it. One of the goals of sweet spot work is learning to push the pedals hard for long periods of time. Taking little rests is a bit like riding outside. If you can work up to 60 or 90 minutes of total sweet spot work, do it and you’ll get strong :muscle: and those short rests won’t really matter.

3 Likes

Whatever you do, do NOT think about Coach Chad listening to classical music, reading scientific research, taking notes, and something else during sweet spot intervals.

3 Likes

:scream: