Sweet spot base mid volume 2, why so much threshold?

Sweet spot base mid volume 2, why so much threshold? SSB 1 MV is SSB1 + Wednesday endurance + Sunday achievable 1.5h sweetspot but SSB2 MV is quite a bit different with on Thursday another threshold workout instead of a sweetspot workout, why this is?

Hey, @ArHu74! Great question!

Each training plan follows a specific series of progressions. As you noticed, Sweet Spot Base 1 will start with a lighter combination of Sweet Spot and Endurance. As your fitness develops, we add more Training Stress by increasing interval durations, intensity or both! The Sweet Spot zone is a grey area between the Tempo and Threshold zones, meaning that as you progress and your fitness improves, a progressive Training Plan will gradually lead you to higher intensities and thus include more Threshold Workouts. Ultimately, this allows your total time at higher intensities to increase, which will prepare you for subsequent training blocks that will continue to build upon your ever-growing fitness :muscle: .

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I’ve often thought sweet spot base 2 is a bit of misnomer and should rather be called threshold base.

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But then why no 2 threshold workouts in LV, and looking at the HV it’s just sweetspot sweetspot and sweetspot, no threshold

SSB1 all volumes I get the name for SSB2LV I somewhat get the same, HV I sure get the same but SSB2MV is an outlier, with very little sweetspot, just 1 optional sunday ride which you are told can be swapped out for an endurance ride

As volume goes up, intensity goes down. And the other way around. That’s why you’ll see most intensity in the low volume plans, and less in the high volume plans, because you would struggle to recover from 4/5 high intensity sessions, making them useless.

*leaving it in the middle of Sweet Spot should be labeled high intensity or not.

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But

But that’s now the case for SSB2, as the MV plan has both an increase in volume as well as intensity (2 vs 1 threshold workouts) compared to LV

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Given your time available, as indicated on Plan Builder, we determine the optimal balance between training stress, volume, intensity and progression, to meet the goals of a specific training block. The goals of the second block of Sweet Spot base are to build upon the lower intensity of the first block and to get you ready for the Build phase. Balancing stress and recovery is key to the effectiveness of this block (and any Training Plan).

  • In the Low Volume Plan, you have 3 Workouts per week; generally 1 Sweet Spot, 1 Threshold and 1 Endurance.

  • In the Mid Volume Plan, you have 5 Workouts per week; generally 1 Sweet Spot, 2 Threshold, 1 Endurance and 1 VO2 Max (adding an Endurance and a VO2 max Workout to the Low Volume Plan).

    • At this volume of training, we think that the additional stress of a higher intensity Workout while ensuring to counter that with an additional recovery ride, is the best use of the time available if the goal is to progressively apply training stress in a sustainable way. With slightly less time available, the balance between stress and recovery becomes more delicate.
  • In the High Volume Plan, you have 6 Workouts per week: generally 4 Sweet Spot and 2 Endurance

    • We think this volume of training will prompt adaptations without the additional need for the higher intensity efforts, which become harder to recover from without an additional rest day.

The goals of Sweet Spot Base remains the same at each level of Volume. However, the path to achieving those goals will adjust based on this balance between stress and recovery.

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I would advise people to avoid most of the TR SS plans. The LV version seems reasonable, but the MV (in particular, listed above) puts an athlete at 4 high intensity interval sessions per week. Consider that SS and above should be/is considered high intensity. You’re planning on putting yourself or your athlete into a sympathetic state 4 times per week, or, the majority of the time on the bike on this MV plan. When does the athlete recover? During the one endurance ride per week? Yikes. This would fry me, (and I’ve tried it, and it did).

I understand the response will include that TR bases its plans on their own data set, I’m just mentioning the generally agreed upon science that indicates that 2 (maybe 3 for certain phases of training or for very experienced riders) high intensity days per week is the ideal.

We continue to learn that smart, and progressive volume is the best way to train aerobic sports, when the available time to train doesn’t allow for that, adding some variation of moderate and/or high intensity work is probably smart. Just not to the extent that TR is prescribing it here.

Be very wary on that MV plan. I’d modify it heavily, personally.

All of this should also be considered in the context of base training. I could almost accept this, if it was a specialty phase, or a special short block of training. I’d be interested in seeing what PB does instead?

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As a 57 year old i agree with you 100%.

@ibaldwin

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Yep, I totally agree too. The MV has too much intensity - this is the main reason why I stopped using TR. I may try a LV plan over the winter, but I’m on the fence about the overall value.

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SSB2MV looks really really intense but as I am approaching 50 I believe the intensity is really important, the older you get the more intensity matters

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It’s a point which keeps on being made. SSMV seems too much while SSLV isn’t quite enough for the older demographic of TrainerRoad users.

I went with LV last winter with supplemented z2 rides and pivoted to MV at the start of Jan.

Despite digging myself a hole with my health following MV previously I’m following MV currently. My focus is equally on quality calories and sleep while watching for signs of over training.

I am hoping I’ve built up more resilience over the last two years structured training and I’m hoping my mind isn’t writing cheques my body can’t cash, but we will see!

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I think (as a over 50) the older you get the more intensity matters, not doing more intensity. As you get older, recovering from the intensity well matters just as much

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I’m in the same phase now. I’m in my mid 40s and unlike many commenters in this forum, I do better with four days of intensity, no matter the time of year. It took me about five years to figure that out. I totally get that this may not be for everyone. I have a couple of pieces of advice for those in TR plans.

  • Err on the more difficult selection when answering the survey. This is especially important if your fitness is plateauing or not improving rapidly. This will help keep AT from pile driving you with 4+ workouts per week that are very difficult. That’s not the aim. Answer the survey right away and err up. It’s common after the fact to think an effort was easier than it was.
  • Don’t train with too high of an FTP, especially if your fitness is plateauing. I ramp test very well, so I have to use another FTP to train. Keep what you think might be a low FTP and push those PLs all they way to 8+ before bumping it. A SS level 8 is way easier than a Threshold level 8, so don’t go bumping if you’re nailing that level 8 SS. Phoenix +2 is 75min @90%-95%. Should be hard but doable. That’s an 11.3 PL.

It’s not a perfect system, but if you know the quirks, it can work very well.

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This is spot on. Probably not ideal but I have a friend who never rests up for a Ramp test… in fact usually does it before the rest week the day after a hard workout. The idea is he will be training on tired legs so he wants a realistic number for upcoming training. “Better to be slightly under than too far over.”

I think sometimes we forget FTP is really just a training number. It is easy to get caught up and want to see big numbers. If the axe is too big to swing you won’t be chopping down the tree.

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We forget its a number / small range that separates stable physiology - breathing and HR and lactate - from unstable physiology. Exercising in the unstable domain is where we blow up much sooner, often in a handful of minutes or less, and for different reasons, versus the stable domain.

Its a little more nuanced riding at/around ftp, a good recent article discussing some of the reasons is here: Improve Muscular Endurance and Fatigue Resistance: The VO2 Slow Component and Cycling | EVOQ.BIKE

Yes!! :raised_hands: This is what the emerging science seems to be suggesting for masters athletes.

Exactly; as intensity becomes more important, so will focussing on reducing excess external life stress, improving sleep and nutrition. Paying attention to your fatigue levels is important too. If you feel like the Mid-Volume Plan is too much for you, then perhaps step back and try Low Volume. The Volume you can handle is dependent on a multitude of dynamic factors; life-style, training history, and genetics to name a few!

So glad that you figured out that it works well for you! :star2:

I think this is excellent advice. Thank you for sharing!

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Enjoying the discussion here. Any way we can define what exactly “intensity” is for master athletes? Is this anaerobic sprinting? VO2? Threshold intervals? Is it more intensity in terms of quantity (volume) or quality (faster, harder sprints)? For the masters athlete, does “intensity” matter if it is one 8 minute interval or 4x2?

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If you go looking in pubmed there aren’t a lot of studies on masters athletes. Masters starts at 35 or 40, depending on the study you find. Around here, there are a lot of competitive 50-65 year olds in this area that are able to hang and beat younger masters. That is quite a large range of ages. I’ve only been training for 6 years and can tell you there is a noticeable difference in my ability to recover between 54 and 60.

Anywho, here are two quick examples of masters studies: Longitudinal Performance Analysis in Ultra-Triathlon of the World's 2 Best Master Triathletes - PubMed and Master Athletes Are Extending the Limits of Human Endurance - PubMed which mention that cycling performance declines less than running or swimming. Thats the good news.

Regarding “intensity” - don’t you think this comes down to the individual and goals? Regardless of age? I think the primary point of Joe Friel in Fast After 50 is use it or lose it. Max heart rate and vo2max and muscle all decline with increasing age, the point being to minimize those declines you need to keep training, consistently, and don’t get lazy and stop training hard. Regardless of age, ‘hard’ is and will always be relative to you.

FWIW for me its doing some intensity 3 times a week, most weeks of the year, and always quality over quantity. Quality is even more important above threshold - don’t throttle power by using erg. Learn how the workout is suppose to feel. Negative splits - always finish harder - and always leave an interval or two on the road (exception is the infrequent anaerobic capacity sessions).

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