I’m entertaining the idea of doing zero Sweet Spot work in 2022. Meaning, I won’t embark on a SST progression like I did this season where I push TiZ to a specific goal or do a once or twice weekly SS maintenance workout. Not as in I won’t ever ride in that “zone”.
Looking back on this season, I felt like I might have been better off taking the weeks I spent focusing on progressing TiZ @ Sweet Spot and put them towards a solid FTP build block as I found that my FTP moved little to none during this time and it ate up a good chunk of time in general. I will say though that it really helped push TTE out, as well as good muscular endurance. But wonder if the same can be achieved with other training modalities.
This would shake up the last 4 years of training and I’m curious to see if I’ll be stronger or weaker in 2022.
Anyone else planning on the same or have success drastically reducing the amount of Sweet Spot work they do?
I am after a review of my last year and what has worked and what hasn’t (more things). I also want to go a little more “polarized” route. So focus more on volume, and sustaining that volume through the year.
I will leave SST for base phase and then touch it when I am too tired to do threshold during the year or I would work on my TTE.
During “build” period do more threshold focused work, but my main goal is to do way more Z2 and more Vo2 and high-intensity work - as my FTP is quite high in relation to Vo2 max according to WKO, but apparently pretty low in with my absolute vo2 max value (what is pretty interesting as my anaerobic power is very poor). My biggest mistake this year was staying almost all the time in this sweet-spot in terms of training stimulus - so CTL almost the same whole year, volume almost the same, pretty much the same workouts, no very distinct differentiation between phases during the year - pretty much no mans land all year long. The conclusion is - more variability during the year and use types of workouts when it’s place for them.
My coach and I did that last year, but I think we dialed in down too far before ‘race’ season (weekly Wed worlds starting end Feb). This is an example of a guy with similar aero/power requirements for the weekly 17 mile hammerfest segment:
even hiding in the pack its basically 40 minutes of threshold with repeated anaerobic efforts fighting the wind (course is flat).
While I need to dial up the strength endurance a bit, the past year I was quite surprised by two things:
still had the ability to do long threshold efforts, although it appeared to scale with the amount 3-5 hour rides and I believe my fatigue resistance could have been higher had I started doing monthly century rides starting in January
how little intensity, about 30+ minutes/week in WKO (>85% eVO2max), was required to continuously lift VO2max on a weekly average of 7.5 hours/week
Back in 2016-2017 season, I set the bar for my entire power curve by doing a longer build cycle at roughly 90 minutes intensity per week, and doing more frequent once a month century rides. However this past year I did set some all-time PRs on the power curve, all short power (less than 5 minutes) which in my mind reinforced the value of doing more zone2.
My situation is different from yours due to differences in age, goals, etc.
So here’s my plan. I live in Minnesota, and winters are harsh, lasting between late November and late March. After CX season ends in late November I’ll take a week off with no bike, then start a similar strength training block like I did this season. Rides will be indoors between 60-90 min and focus primarily on maintaining a base-level of aerobic condition through endurance and tempo riding. This year I’ll throw in a HIT workout every other week just to keep that system stimulated, but I will forgo any dedicated Sweet Spot blocks during this time (Nov/Dec to Feb/March).
Come early February I’ll prioritize my structured bike training and back off strength but keep maintenance workout once per week or once per 10 days. This time around, instead of doing 8-12 weeks of Sweet Spot, I’ll do either an FTP block (something like Sustained Power Build) or I’ll try reversing things and going into a VO2 block, then FTP block. Still undecided. But the gist of it is that I’m taking the time that I typically would invest in Sweet Spot and putting it to further developing threshold with more threshold and VO2 max blocks.
Likewise. I’m really curious to see/know if SS is necessary to see these types of improvements or if threshold and VO2 work coupled with a bit of tempo and lots of endurance can also push TTE and fatigue resistance.
Yes I am ditching sweet spot completely for a polarized model for the next 24 week block to see what happens. There will be no more than two hard sessions a week. Three hard sessions per week really killed my motivation in the end.
12 weeks of base. Endurance rides in Z2 and gym work initially. As the weeks roll on I am adding threshold intervals that progress in duration.
12 weeks of build/race. The intervals move to being race specific at VO2max or higher intensity with some threshold work to keep that system touched up.
I start next week and am quite looking forward to the change.
This is an interesting concept I’ve been wrestling with as well…I did a similar SST block last winter and also saw zero FTP improvement, BUT I did see some incredible TTE and fatigue resistance improvements in the early season - something I wouldnt want to lose next year.
I’ve been looking at something similar with z2, z2+ and tempo work and then also hitting the threshold work HARD after Xmas. Only issue I see is the challenge of longer tempo rides indoors - not sure if 2hr tempo rides on the rollers will be practical or not?
I do minimal SS work now. I don’t really ride enough to get the proper Z2 adaptations for a proper long and slow approach so I’ll throw in some tempo riding with my Z2 and probably going to do one threshold session per week (for base). I like to keep the SS stuff on hand for when I’m maybe a little too fatigued to do a proper threshold (or even VO2 max) work out but still feel like riding above tempo.
The year I did a lot of SS, just felt like I was flat and tired coming out of the winter. Obviously filed under anecdotal. I’m just less and less of a fan of banging SS out day after day. I used a SS workout last week as a placeholder to my threshold day, coming off from being sick I was able to do that and it didn’t fatigue me much. So I think it still has a place for me.
Likewise, but I’m curious to see/know if SS is required to see those types of improvements. It’s true that hitting a lot of VO2 max and shorter work will drop TEE (and raise W’/anaerobic capacity), but I do wonder if we can push TTE through threshold work the same way we can with SS. I would think so.
I’m giving it a try in 2022 because I don’t do any gravel that’s longer than 3 hours, and don’t plan to, and riding centuries just isn’t my gig. Yet. So I’d rather, as an example, add 40w to my FTP and have a 30-40min TTE, than push my TTE to 60-75 min but see no improvement in FTP.
@anthonylane how many SS workouts have you typically done in a week in past? I
Not calling anyone out specifically here but what I see in many threads like this is where people get thru a plateau after moving on from SS to something else. In my opinion this points to not enough rest in a week and too much rest/not enough stimulus in the workout. I’ve seen your posts in the progression thread so I assume you’ve done looooong intervals so the latter wouldn’t apply. Therefore going more intense ( at threshold) would help.
I’d also bet that whatever time you get your threshold TTE to, then TTE @90% would easily follow with very little progression. ex: ftp TTE + 20min at least