Nate said "Sweet Spot Base is not... we shot ourselves in the foot" ...Confused? If the SS Base training isn't SS... What should I do for Base?

I have listened to that episode, and since you did not mention any time stamps, let me go from memory: I think the point was that TR’s sweet spot blocks do not just contain sweet spot workouts, but also other types of workouts, including threshold (over-unders typically) and endurance workouts.

Is that what you are referring to? If not, can you provide a time stamp so I know what bit of the podcast you are referring to?

Really? I don’t think so. I do both, road riding and mountain biking, and base training is base training. I don’t see any reason why it is less suitable for a mountain biker.

Overall, given that you want to spend about 6 hours per week on the trainer, I’d switch to a low-volume plan, pad with endurance work when necessary, but otherwise ride outdoors. Just make sure that you can recover from the outdoor rides in time.


Thank you for your replies @OreoCookie … I think you may be right…

I may be mis-listening to Jon & Nates conversation and misunderstanding that they are not implying that their Sweet Spot Base Program is exclusively Sweet Spot and that is ALSO includes Threshold & V02 work in the program?

That is the important stuff that can be seen as lacking the the traditional LSD style base… The errors I made last year!

Thanks again & Yes! lower virtual volume and more real riding is absolutely my plan…

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I think the lack of any efforts beyond Z2 or the occasional dip into Z3 can make you a bit blunt. And in mountain biking (unlike road riding), you know that you sometimes have to dig deep to e. g. get up a steep incline or traverse an obstacle.

If you are struggling with intense workouts, you can do a mini week with short, but intense workouts (≤ 45 minutes) to get you used to intensity.

They regret calling it sweet spot base, because other content creators troll them and suggest that TR only has people sitting in sweet spot.

I can’t speak for Nate, but rather than calling it sweet spot base, they should just have called it base training or some other marketing term. This is all about marketing and not whether it is base training or not. It is base training.

As far as your issue with feeling sore. Make sure you are eating enough before / after the weekend training rides, Saturdays are going to be a tough workout. And if you look in the trainer notes you can also switch out a weekend ride for a longer endurance ride. Which, if I have time I actually prefer. If you have additional time during the week, add in endurance rides.


I suggested Balanced Base. Since then you have Traditional Base, Balanced Base and Polarized Base to choose from. All descriptions are IMHO honest and immediately transport the difference between the plans.


We covered the naming aspect in detail as part of the original podcast post. I think this is about the first one and there’s many more with ideas and related discussion.


I was surprised to see a weekly VO2 and weekly threshold progression in my low volume “sweet spot” base plan. The 3rd workout is sweet spot. :grin: If you’re truly time-crunched, your base will have some harder intervals and I think that’s ok - desirable.

I think it’s ok even in a more traditional base to have some short z4 and 5 sprinkled in.

And for mountain biking - yes we absolutely have to go outside and rip on some trails similar to what’s in our goal race. I want to go to the pump track. I want to go ride my enduro sled from time to time. I have no idea how that all fits in to the weekly TSS, because it’s not an easy Z2 “filler ride” to pedal my 180mm bike up 12% grade long climbs to descend 30% grade DH’s through rocks drops and tight switchbacks. Is this a sweet spot ride? threshold interval session? No clue. It’s definitely tiring. But it’s helpful even in XC races and it’s fun and that’s why we ride in the first dang place. :woman_shrugging:


Balanced Base would infer that its balanced… which its not haha. Thats the whole issue with the number of intensity rides they are throwing on people.

It builds short term and relatively fragile fitness that gives good results on ramp tests = keeps people onboard as customers.

I understand that most people don’t wanna do Z2 rides on the trainer, but the answer to that isn’t to do threshold instead.

OT: If you’re feeling sluggish and legs are dead, you’re doing too much intensity. It has to be a long term approach, and as you said, life is more than the bike.

I would in your situation jump on the Polarised plans, do the hard sessions and then as much easy riding as possible that you can fit in :slight_smile:

Also, you can split the easy rides. Got 45min in the morning and 45min once the kids go to bed? No problem, just do double days with easy rides etc.

You get adaptations from easy riding as well, thats the key here.

The easy rides also keeps you fresh in the head and body for being a dad :slight_smile:


I personally wouldn’t say it builds fragile fitness… for me it built real measurable fitness that has a focus on sustaining threshold efforts.

My issue with the plan was ssb2 was almost build in difficulty so the build and specialty plans would then fry me since i was already very close to peak fitness. Illnesses were also common for me during those winter doing ssb, but the fitness gained from the threshold and vo2 work was legit. Now the plan is more of a hodge podge of workouts chosen by AT.

I have found that the torque demands of off-road riding can be trained through off-road riding. Even rutted up gravel roads still can’t prepare you for that rock step up 3/4 of the way up a 20% incline. That is ime where a cramping issue comes in to play.

I think the naming issue largely stems from having the same name for plans of differing volumes. Since to a certain extent they’re trading intensity for volume. I.e. the high volume plan really is all Sweetspot other than the endurance workouts, the low and mid volume plans are predominantly Sweetspot in Base 1 but with a bit of Threshold added, and then in Base 2 they’re a mix of SS, Threshold and VO2. So Sweetspot base is a great name for the high volume plan, just not so much the mid and low volume plans, particularly the second phase of those plans where Sweetspot isn’t even the predominant workout type.

Not sure what a better name would be! As in reality there are so many different ways and reasons you would pick those plans. I.e. you might pick LV because you really do only have 3-4 hours a week to train in which “time-crunched” would be a pretty good name. But you might also pick it because you’re a Masters athlete with 10+ hours to train so you’re not time crunched but can only handle 2-3 sessions of higher intensity riding and then you pad it out with Z2 and recovery in which case . Or maybe you pick it as a MTB rider, get those workouts done indoors during the week and then leave your weekends free for trail riding. “Foundation Base”? Gives you all the important stuff but then leaves you time to other things whether on or off the bike.

It’s fragile fitness if you put it into perspective of the sport of cycling itself.

Of course everything is relative, but I have a lot of friends that do TR, ride hard got great sustained power etc.

And then we have myself and a few more that do a lot of Z2. And sure, during a single ride <3 hours we are all pretty even, but past 3-4 hours, they really suffer with hard efforts, day 2-3-4 of training trips they literally fall apart.

Programs like TrainerRoad just don’t build that base fitness that harder efforts can “lean on”, if that makes sense.

But again, whatever is important for you personally. For me doing 25-30 hour weeks with 1300 TSS when abroad, doing 4x10min at LT2 after 4 hours of riding etc, are things that I like to be able to do.


Yeah, they’ve been discussing quite a bit lately that what they originally named the plans maybe wasn’t the most appropriate now that all the plans have fully been developed, since there is just as many rides in other zones as there are in sweet spot.

Sweetspot base 2 really is the odd one out, with 2 threshold workouts but only 1 optional sweetspot workout


Agreed, the name is fine but all that threshold should be replaced by actual sweet spot IMO.

Totally agree with @Dubadai

Sweet Spot Base is not “base”. That doesn’t mean that riders won’t get a benefit from it as many riders, especially new ones, do. But to call it Base is a misnomer.

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And then we have myself and a few more that do a lot of Z2.
For me doing 25-30 hour weeks with 1300 TSS

You are doing double the time of the biggest volume weeks of any TR plan, so your base fitness here and the time you can commit to biking is beyond who TR is targeting with the plans. Traditional base high volume phase 3 from TR peaks with a 6 day 13 hour week.

I think it would be fascinating to see the stats from TR on their userbase and average hours per week, but my guess is a large majority is in the 5-10 hours a week bracket that lines up with mostly sticking to a mid-volume plan with some skipped workouts and a few longer rides on weekends. 20+ hours a week of Z2 builds incredible fitness, while 6 hours a week won’t get you anywhere.

I would definitely agree that to get the right durability and fitness for a 4+ hour race you’ll need to do longer efforts at some point in the training block. I’ve found that the commonly given advice of mid-volume plan + extending with Z2 as time permits during the week and subbing longer weekend rides on the weekend works really well. Even being DINK the wheels fall off in life somewhere trying to keep more than 2 hours open for everything involved with a ride multiple times a week.


I never said that was a normal week, it was just an example week that I do when I am abroad.

I average 11 hours per week, 5 sessions = One LT1, One LT2, and then just Z2 for the rest.

You can scale down the program I ride to just one LT1 (like tempo), one LT2 (threshold) and just one Z2 ride, that works fine as well.

6 hours will of course get you somewhere, you just have to add some intensity to the week as well.


This. TR was always about the “time crunched cyclist”.

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Yeah, I read the comment as being abroad in the opposite context being used to traveling for business and disrupting regular training.

That 11 hours a week sounds like the same ballpark as the TR High Volume SS plans though. Just doing 5 longer workouts rather than 6 each week, with one threshold rather than two ss workouts. Or you could look at it as adding an LT2 session to their traditional base.

I think a few years into training most of us will discover tweaks from standard plans (whether that is TR or another coach) that work best for us. I definitely use a lot of alternates and do my own thing when I’m able to knock out 10-hour weeks. I’ve never looked at the High Volume plans and thought that’s what I wanted to follow. However, when I had knee surgery and dutifully followed the low-volume base for 10 weeks while I wasn’t able to ride outside I was seriously impressed with the fitness I was able to gain in 3 hours a week.

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I think its also important for TR to “decouple” itself somewhat from the thinking the TR is only a training plan. The software has evolved into so much more with tons of useful features like AI FTP detection but also the massive workout library. I think there are still a lot of folks out there that incorrectly assume TR is a platform to just do Sweet Spot workouts since that was so heavily marketed in the early days.