How to survive long sweet spot intervals?

Doing long sweet spot intervals used to be really challenging for me. I’m beginner (have been riding for 1.5 years) and I think I’m naturally sprinter cause I can sustain 700-800 watts sprint for 15-30 seconds, but my ftp only about 160. While I’m doing long sweet spots my legs starts quitting after first 3 minutes. Can you share how are you solve this problems? Mentally I can sustain this durations for 13-15 minutes, but then I’ve got dropped every 2-3 minutes. Sorry for my english btw

Hey,

You will find plenty of info here

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He’s been riding for 1.5 years. I wouldn’t think that is long enough, particularly without any structure to know whether he actually is a natural sprinter or not. I think he needs to start at the basics.

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His FTP is 160. If it was 260 and his sprint was 5x his FTP, I might agree, but almost everyone starts with a stronger anaerobic component because we’re stronger than we are fit. Regardless, he’s going to need to be able to do longer than 3 minutes at sweetspot to be able to get to the sprint.

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If you struggle with sweetspot workouts, it’s likely that either your FTP is set too high, or that you are simply trying to do sweetspot at too high a % of FTP.

If you set your ftp with the ramp test, it’s quite common for people who are strong at short-duration high powet too overtest, that is, to get a ftp from the test that is too high.

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Before this thread goes down an odd path of anti-SS, @hardcore - what are your cycling goals? Knowing this could help figure out the right plans for you.

To your original question, you may find it easier to start with longer endurance rides at lower intensities and/or shorter SS intervals for now - AND/OR the lower end of SS range. I feel a big difference between 84-88% and 94-97% - which depending on where you look is the lower and upper ranges of SS. And some TR SS workouts go as far down as 75-80%.

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We got it, you think you are right. Perhaps now it’s time to let others express their opinion.

I think it’s super normal to be able to have a decent 15 to 30 second power. Ultimately, that’s also something you can develop quite easily.

Anyhow, back to your question. If you cannot hold sweetspot for longer than 2-3 minutes I would assume your FTP is set way too high. Perhaps it’s worth trying a longer test protocol like KM.
Then work on progressively going longer. So perhaps start with 6x4 minutes and grow that to 3x12 etc. For more details on the progression see the forum thread @MadTuna has linked above.

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Are you currently following a TR plan or just picking workouts with long intervals?

Assuming you started with the right plan for your experience level, TR plans usually start with some short endurance workouts then add short Sweet Spot intervals of 2-3 min with short breaks between, then intervals and gradually get longer as you progress through the plan ( 4 mins, then 6 mins, then 10, then 12… etc.).

Part of building up to that longer interval is also building the mental toughness to work through the discomfort. If you follow the plan, you should be able to get there.

I can sustain first part for 13-15 minutes, then I have some drops. Like this

That doesn’t look too bad. Ever tried the same workout at 3-5% less intensity? Also, what’s going on with your cadence?

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My first cycling goals is triathlon, now I’m in the middle of preparation to sprint, so my first goal be as fast as possible at 20km TT.

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Average cadence about 90. When I got dropped I need to relax 1 minute or so, I think its bad to do it

Im sticking to basic plan for 2-3 workouts per week

The bottom line is that if you can barely ride 3 mins at SS, it’s not your SS. If you can barely ride 30min at SS, it’s not your SS.
OP needs to get an appropriate ftp test.

Any of the methods would not over-estimate to such a degree that you would struggle at SS (ramp, 2x8min, 20min, etc)

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I did ramp test because test is important part of TR plans

agree with @NINE - that looks pretty good. Hard to tell, but looks like the higher end of SS - perhaps take it down a little?

So you are talking about 30 minutes or so of optimal power. There are lots of TT plans you can look at. I also did a version of Chicoma which was great. Lower end of SS, some sprint spikes, limited rest. Look in the workout catalog for SS – lots of good profiles - and lots of good plans.

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First block of TT plans looking the same as my current

I would start by dropping your FTP a bit to maybe 150 or 145. Then if you still can’t complete a workout like you linked above then I would start with shorter blocks. Don’t try 2x15 min blocks but rather find a workout that has 5-3x6-10 min blocks so that you can get that mental and physical reset. Maybe a workout like Ericson or Monitor. Then slowly build up from 6 min to 10 min to 15min, etc etc.

But physically you should be able to hold SS for an hour with some discomfort and pushing through some mental barriers but it should be achievable. If that’s not the case then you’re FTP is too high and you need to build up to longer intervals from shorter.

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For clarity, despite TR pushing the Ramp, it is suitable to use any of the common FTP test protocols to set your FTP for training.

The reason these mater is that the Ramp test can sometimes give incorrect FTP values for some riders. It can make workouts harder (just like you describe) because it may have yielded an FTP that is not appropriate for you. Those other tests may well be “better” for you in the sense that they might give you a more accurate FTP that applies to the TR workouts.

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SS training is not my thing too, but for the sake of plurality and to reply directly to the OP, I still believe that in 2000+ post replies the OP will find his answers.

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