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 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.


Awhile back when they changed the plans, most of them went to the same formula, one day of VO2, one day of threshold and one sweet spot. I have since wondered aside from difficult levels and time, how do the plans really differ? (flame away)

Specific details matter. For any comparison, you’d just need to load two plans of interest on the web and do a side-by-side. Without that, all we can do is guess. VO2 comes in many flavors like short/shorts to longer stuff into the several minute range. Add in changes to target intensity and you can have a long list of options.

Just using VO2 and 1 hour as filters, gives 315 workout results. That covers a range of PL’s of course, but within that are the variations I mentioned and maybe more. Threshold is similar since there are many ways these can be done while still falling under the Thresh banner.

Point being that even if the template is simplified to VO2 + Thresh + SS, there can be nearly endless combos of that. Those combos should be driven by the focus of the individual plan. There are likely very large differences in stuff with a short power focus vs ones with longer range even if they follow the template above.

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I believe my question was answered. When listening to Jon/Nate discuss training plan selection, they implied that their programs named “Sweet Spot Base” were incorrectly named… that does not mean that they do not rely in the principles of choosing an early/pre-season training regime that is considered to be less total hours prescribed than the “traditional” long and low/slow distance training regime that has long been a standard within cycling.


*I will be asking a few more questions in a separate post specific to the demands of XCO racing that I believe are unique to the training principles and race tactics within that discipline.
ie. racing with a power meter can be a huge disadvantage if you don’t understand that normalized power could be restricting you based on the course…

I’ve done this as well. XCO just needs time outdoors. I don’t know what the best action is for time crunched riders is for base training, but I don’t subscribe to the TR plans. Rather than beat that drum, I just want to mention that you’re not alone from feeling “flat” after a season on the trainer. Us mountain bikers just need that specificity that is, mountain biking.

If I was trying to build a base, I’d do LV traditional base and be sure to plug in trail riding as often as I could. Eventually sprinkle in the occasional VO2 Max workout as well.


I’ll beat the drum a little.

Saw this the other day, perhaps a good explanation of why SSB did not properly prepare me for build:

:man_shrugging: Found myself crashing and burning. Pre-AT.

Three years ago, almost to the day, I decided that some people have a big engine and a lot of capacity, and that SSB 1 and 2 works well for them. But I had neither a big engine or a lot of capacity.

And to paraphrase a recent tweet by Alan Couzens, revving a small engine to max capacity is not a good way to go. Thats why I’ve spent the last two years building a bigger engine. Slow process but its working despite my age.


I wonder if you removed all their forum posting, how time crunched some truly would be?


What does that even mean?

A focus on intensity rather than endurance means your power tower tends to have a narrower base, but is higher. E. g. if you rarely ride over 3 hours, then this matters much less than you make it out to be, especially for people who fall somewhere in the fat part of the Bell curve.

A few? I think lots of TR athletes pad their plans with Z2 workouts. The “secret” is to choose the right number of hard days. (Hard means days that take you more than a day to recover from, so this could also be a long Z2 ride.)

I am all for more diversity in training plans and more options when creating them. But lots of people just don’t have the time to ride more than 3 or 4 hours at a time, life places hard limits on them. For those, TR’s plans work well, provided you pick the right number of hard days.

Most people don’t have the time to ride that much. Yes, it’d be nice if I had the time to do these kinds of workouts. However, I love my wife and kids, and I’d like to stay married. And keep my job.

So 3 hard days (assuming one Z2 ride is quite long) then. That sounds pretty standard and easily fits within TR. Just pick a LV plan, replace the weekend workout with a long Z2 ride (i. e. a hard ride in the sense above) and pad the rest with easy Z2 rides. This isn’t rocket science.

I think this is an important point, and one that IMHO is more related to riding on the trainer (no matter what training plan you use) and riding outdoors. On the trainer my self-selected cadence is higher than outdoors, triply so when I ride offroad.

You gotta learn to deal with going way above threshold for short periods and recover quickly, work at very low cadences and keep a clear head (needed for line choice).

TR’s training plans have always been meant to be customizable. Last season, I was mostly on MV, but dropped to LV to reduce the number of hard days by 1. I padded the plan with rides to keep the schedule and number of hours on the bike roughly the same. For those “self-scheduled” rides, I still use features of AT like workout levels.

I acknowledge there is an argument that TR has to steer people towards plans that are suitable for them, and that looking at the number of hours is misleading for most plans. But that is different from “I want to train 10–12 hours per week, so I picked SSB HV and I burnt out.” Self-coached athletes are more likely to have a problem biting off more than they can chew.


A self-coached athlete is someone who takes responsibility for their own athletic development, training, and performance.

Doesn’t that describe anyone using trainer road without a coach? Even those just trying to follow a set menu plan are still self coached. No one else is taking responsibility for their development.

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  1. Peak performance is over a short period of time. With robust fitness you can hold peak or close to peak performance for longer or multiple times a season.

  2. Performance declines quickly with duration. Speaks for itself, although even with shorter durations fatigue resistance after a certain number of kJs, it is kind of britle, fake fitness, impressive when fresh but a quick drop off. So it matters even in short events.

  3. You can hit peak performance once per season (or less frequently than with robust fitness), robust you can hit multiple peaks or maintain for a large proportion of the season.

That is what fragile fitness means.

You can debate how to create fragile / britle fitness over robust fitness, but the term is pretty will defined.
It is pretty well documented that intensity in place of duration creates fragile fitness where as volumes creates robust fitness. I have no interest in that debt, you can just look at the research.

Everyone should find their compromise/maximum fitness and type of fitness on the spectrum given the time they can commit and the recovery time and constraints they have.


So I am wondering if deciding on a training plan needs to be a two-part question:

  • Preferred training hours / week
  • Preferred intensity (high / med / low)

Remove the whole naming issue completely.

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I offered a concept a couple of times now:


Yes, although I’d add that as a self-coaching tool, TR should nudge athletes towards making better choices. It shouldn’t become a nanny, but it should make it harder to have people make the wrong choices.

E. g. TR should update Plan Builder to e. g. choose smart defaults based on your training history. I did a MV plan last year and my completion rate was good? Ok, then a MV plan should be the default. New to TR and I indicate I have no training experience? Then HV should not be displayed as an option. In that case, TR should discourage users away from MV, too.

@Nate_Pearson also talked about a plan below LV, and I hope that materializes at one point, too. For a lot of people with no background doing sports, training twice a week is a lot.

Fundamentally, this is a good idea, and I think this is something TR intends to do.

My riff on the idea is slightly different: I’d ask about the number of hard days instead of “intensity”. (I got that from one of Seiler’s interviews: a hard workout is one that takes you more than one day to recover from, which can be a long endurance ride.)

And rather than specifying the number of hours per week, I think it is more practical to specify how long each training session is. E. g. during the week, I cannot do more than 90 minutes. And since I shifted my training plan by a day (Tuesday —> Monday, etc.), the “Saturday” workout cannot last longer than 90 minutes.

I think you believe we have an intuition what it means, but I don’t think it is as well-defined and clear as you think it is. You mix several of them in your own post. E. g. the ability to do hard efforts after doing a 1,500 kJ ride in Z2 is something you have to specifically train for, it doesn’t come for free with a good aerobic base. And it isn’t something that I’d do during base training either.

Brittle fitness is IMHO overused just like bonking is. True bonking is different from not consuming enough carbs on the bike and being limited to Z2 by your own body. Similarly, brittle fitness as I understand it is a very different state where your threshold power and MAP have outgrown your aerobic base so that your lack of aerobic base means you are close to the point where you cannot sustain the training at an intensity necessary for your FTP (= power at lactate threshold). But that is very different from doing too much (intensity and/or volume) on the bike, and training yourself into the ground.

Plus, I was chiefly pointing out how undefined “the sport of cycling itself” is. Are we talking about crit racing, touring on the mountain bike, XC marathon, BMX, a stage race on a road bike or an ultra long gravel race? All of these require very different types of fitness and the right training might lead to “fragile power” in a different sport.

First of, the fitness is not fake. And I think it matters less than you claim it does for shorter events. For a crit race it matters way less than for a 3-hour road race or a stage race.

What training you choose matters mostly on your goals and your constraints. IMHO the main benefit of a good aerobic base is that it helps you recover from efforts in the long run. And it lessens the difference between off-season and on-season fitness (e. g. as measured by you FTP at the beginning of the season vs. at the peak, although FTP is not the only relevant measure, of course).

I don’t think this has anything to do with what you’d call fragile fitness. Peaking multiple times is just a question of adjusting training accordingly: you taper before your first A event, schedule recovery after, then you ramp up training again until your next A event, etc. If the two events are too close together, you won’t be able to peak twice no matter whether your fitness is “fragile” or not.

If you have a good aerobic base, you will recover more quickly and be able to handle harder training sessions, but it isn’t just your base fitness that determines that. Life constraints that e. g. limit the amount and quality of your sleep are at least as important.

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Any thoughts from people in how Trad Base MV Block II compares to Sweet Spot Base MV Block I?

I’m in my 2nd last week of Trad Base LV III (have done all 3 blocks of trad base LV), racing starts in May but wouldn’t look to peak till late June and late September for A races.

They look fairly similar to me, Trad Base MV II is 4 weeks, 6.9 hours/week, 340 TSS/wk, 4 rides/wk. Sweet Spot Base MV I is 6 weeks, 5.9 h/wk, 344 TSS/wk, 5 rides/wk.

Trad Base MV II is: SS, Tempo, Tempo, Endurance
Sweet Spot MV I is: SS, Endurance, SS, Threshold, SS

I don’t want to start a Plan Builder plan yet because I don’t have my race calendar yet and would like to work on my endurance, durability rather than top end still at this point in the year.

Either plan puts me in the volume I’m targeting, >300 TSS/wk, 6H or >/wk.

Is there value in the 4.5 hours per week of tempo from Trad Base MV II or should I instead be looking to do the 3.5 hours per week of Sweet Spot Base MV I instead in advance of starting a Plan builder XCO/Rolling Road race plan (target an XCO race in late June and a Road Race in late September as A races)?

It absolutely does. Once your burnt out because you havent got an adequate base to do the intense training you are not hitting another peak any time soon.

Total disagree with you points, I know you like to disagree seeming for the sake of it.

Carmicheal and Friel was the basis of my comments.
You asked, so I answered based on their thoughs which too me make total sense.

  1. Peak performance is over a short period of time. With robust fitness you can hold peak or close to peak performance for longer or multiple times a season.
  2. Performance declines quickly with duration. Speaks for itself, although even with shorter durations fatigue resistance after a certain number of kJs, it is kind of britle, fake fitness, impressive when fresh but a quick drop off. So it matters even in short events.
  3. You can hit peak performance once per season (or less frequently than with robust fitness), robust you can hit multiple peaks or maintain for a large proportion of the season.

That is what fragile fitness means.


Is ‘intense training’ anaerobic/vo2 work of the specialty phase? Can you burn out with the intensity offered in the build phase? (I know this depends on the person)

I want to continue to build a base that will create a robust, non-fragile fitness following completion of Trad Base LV I, II and III. Unsure if Trad Base MV II or Sweet Spot Base MV I may be most appropriate for that.