Questions about SS and Threshold workouts in training plans

  1. The sweet spot progression found in the plans seems to focus on slowly increasing the intensity of the intervals towards 94%, over increasing duration of the intervals. In addition, the plans when used with adaptive training seem to push you towards doing higher intensity intervals with a bunch of short breaks in them if you find one too challenging, rather than do a lower intensity but same length interval. If this is the case, I’m curious as to the reasoning behind the focus on doing SS work at the higher end of the range.

  2. I’d always done over-unders with the over around 110-115% (edited, I am stupid), and the under around 85, maybe 90%. Training plans really seem to focus on 95-105 o/us, which end up feeling more like just a flat interval at a set power. I guess this still trains threshold endurance, but I don’t know if it’s really training quite the same thing as over-unders?

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This is TR version of progressive overload, you increase intensity or time in zone. TR is focused on time crunched users and goes with intensity. Overall consensus from the coaches about SST is you want to go longer during base, and harder during build (or rather ditch SST and do threshold. FastCat uses 97% of FTP as top of SST that effectively is threshold workout) . There is a years of discussion about TR neglecting time to exhaustion in favour of intensity. But going longer require more time - like doing 2x40 min @90% is 2h workout with warmup and cooldown. This improved a little with recent addition of many longer workouts. But still more intensity to introduce more stimulus is TR way.

Recent discussion about O/U: Overs/Unders - 120/80%? - #60 by spidermonkey

Both styles work, there is some different specificity.


Gotcha, that is what I am noticing then. To be honest, it is driving me crazy a bit as it just seems to needlessly add to fatigue. I don’t really want to ride three steady-state (basically) threshold rides per week in base.

  1. I don’t agree with the approach of increasing intensity. I makes much more sense to me to increase time in zone for anything at or below FTP. Anything above FTP, progressive overload focus for me is an increase in power. Preferrably doing the same session construct (i.e. 4x4min in VO2max zone) each week for a block so that you can see if you are progressing power week on week.

  2. I feel the same. I do 110/85 Over-Unders. The 110 really floods the muscles plus gets some work in at VO2max power.

Which plans? The SSB1 MV template has reduced all the sweet spot work down to tempo (Coggan tempo is 75-90%), however Saturday is threshold day. 3 sweet spot days, 1 threshold day, and 1 day aerobic zone2 ride. And then SSB2 MV, well, it doesn’t look like base to me. Its Mid Volume and TR limits mid-week to 1 hour workouts, and weekend to 1.5 hours.

I’d been doing SSBMV1 before getting annoyed with it. It kept on pushing all of my SS sessions towards sub-20minute efforts at 92-94%. When combined with the weekly 95/105 ou’s, I was not feeling doing three threshold workouts per week in base.

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I have a hard time finding any workouts where the unders are sub 90%. The ones that do exist tend to be rather easy. And they pretty much are never an option when looking for alternate’s in AT.

Yes. This is why some of us on this forum have modified our SST to include longer intervals toward the lower end of the Sweet Spot range. I.e. 3x20 @ 90% vs 5x10 @ 97% or something like that. If your FTP is 325w the difference between 7% is 23w, which IMO could be significant.

If you’re goal is to increase Time To Exhaustion (TTE) I find that doing longer intervals at a lower percentage of FTP is more effective and leads to better compliance.

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How are you practically doing that? Are you starting off with one of the default plans then subbing in alternates? If so, how does that end up looking in a given week? Are all your SS efforts in a given week about the same length? Are you doing one longer one as a push and then some shorter ones?

Some are building their own plans. Here is one (non-TR) take on the science if you have 6 hours/week: How to get Fast with a 6 Hour Training Week - YouTube with info on making tradeoffs.

and this long thread: Sweet Spot Progression has a lot of good info.

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This was a helpful thread for a question I was going to pose.

Just a quick follow on - as spring and summer roll around (I’m in Chicago), and I start to shift some of my rides outdoor, does TR adapt the sweet spot rides from 60 minute indoors that bias to 92-94% to more spread out, longer rides at the 90% target? Or do you tend to choose courses that fit the outside manually?

  • No, the workouts don’t alter in the way you mention.

  • If you want to do different workouts (longer/shorter, harder/easier), you are best to use the Alternates tool. Do that as you see fit, and then swap them from Inside to Outside if that is how you plan to perform them.

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Thanks Chad - this is super helpful. I had some extra time on Thursdays so took a 75-minute alternative to the 60-minute sweet spot recommendation. I found it much more digestible and didn’t have to lower the intensity below 100% at all. It also graded out at 6.9 rather than 6.6 on the Sweet Spot progression.

Is the lesson here, if you have additional time, best rule of thumb is to use it?

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  • If “use it” = the Alternates tool, then I do think it is a valuable tool that allows for quick alteration to workout Duration and/or Intensity, while holding to the basic intentions of the initial workout.