Sweet Spot Base or Traditional Base after long break?

Hi guys,
I would love to here your opinion where i should start my training.
I had a break from cycling for about 6months due to severe pneumonia and 3 months traveling.

Before i used to train 4-7h a week, some structured workouts as well.
Now im unsure if it would be better to atart with the Traditional base or the sweet spot base?

Thanks for your help!

@Hedo in almost all circumstances TR recommends you go for sweet spot base 1 & 2.

The reason being that traditional base will build up your steady state aerobic fitness but SSB will do the same and so much more, and in a lot less time. SSB 1 lays the foundation, whereas SSB2 adds much more high end work to really prepare you for the build and speciality phases.

Some quotes from the TR guys below.

The Sweet-Spot block is the most efficient form of base training for 99% of cyclists — it’s what we recommend. You’ll train in the Sweet-Spot, Threshold and VO2max power zones for a blend of interval training that makes you stronger, faster. Aside from the significant fitness gains and increases in FTP, you’ll enhance your form work and pedaling mechanics.

The Traditional block takes an old-fashioned approach to base training. It requires a large time commitment to give you significant gains. Unless you have at least 10 hours/week to train, we do not recommend the long, low-intensity Traditional approach. This block is primarily geared toward high-volume Grand Tour athletes or those recovering from an injury who want to avoid high intensity intervals

Read more here : https://www.trainerroad.com/training-base-phase

With 4-7 hours per week you could run a really productive mid volume plan and see some real improvement.

Don’t worry about your current fitness, the FTP test will ensure your training is set at the right level.



My personal experience is that the hard part of coming back to structured training from a long layoff like you describe is re-establishing the training habit. This includes all the ancillary activities outside the time on the trainer, e.g. recovery & nutrition. My suggestion is to do two weeks of 30 min to 1 hour easy workout like Taku and Pettit. Use the time to get your trainer, fan and entertainment set-up properly and to get this new aspect of your life scheduled. Adding TR training to your life is disruptive and adjustments need to be made. Look at it as a no-pressure shake-out period.

Regardless of whether you pick traditional or ssb, you’ll be set-up for success.
Good luck.


Welcome Back, I sympathize with your soon to be sore muscles and such…

Concur completely, its the lifestyle change. Once you’ve been training for a while, you feel that toughness that comes with acclimatization to the bike, you don’t really think about skipping workouts for rando reason, its just the way it is and you know it. Your clothes and bottles are always prepped, your gear is where you can find it, you’ve probably already updated firmware and such. Its so easy to look at the bike when you’re not in the routine and come up with twenty reasons why you should postpone a workout, not to mention the family obligations. When I first got back on the bike post surgery, my wife and kids weren’t in the routine any more than I was and they thought nothing of asking me to do things that interrupted or denied me my ride. Now, after a few months, the conversation usually goes “hey pops, after you’re done, can we do the thing…”. Even my wife is cool with the whole thing now, last night when I was doing an easy recovery ride and she was knocking out dinner (we take turns) she came out and said, "how long is left, and went over and looked at my phone running TR and said “I’ll put the bread in the oven in 15 ok?”.

All this routine stuff makes riding much, much easier to do, and it just takes a while to make the routine.

Best of luck and share your results. We all need motivation.


i think i wll do 1-2 weeks easy workouts, get to know TR and do the FTP test (i actually dont wanna know how far it dropped​:see_no_evil::see_no_evil:).
Then i will start with the Sweet spot Base (probably low, because i will also commute 2x20min a day)

Thanks so much for your help!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think your right about these habbits. I think it will be hard in the beginning, but im looking forward to the challenge, especially after such a long time without being on the saddle…


sounds like the way i will do it! Thx!

Man, the structured workout thing is really a big deal. I love waking up and checking my calendar to see what I’m doing that day workout wise. I sit Sunday night and look at the week against my training calendar to see what conflicts there might be. I’ve used a coach before, been a member of a team where I had training rides prescribed, but somehow this is different. TRs training plans are solid, and I can backward play from my hard times (A Races, or big rides if you will) to ensure I’m going to get the right effect in advance. The podcast is CLUTCH in explaining the methodology behind the programs, and combined together, they have produced what is for me at least the best setup out there.


do you have tips for the recovey n nurtiltion part of it? Whats yoursetup?
Any tips?
My usual prolem
Is that im very skinny, and i loose even more when a train. I want to get stronger at the same time or stay af least same…
Im 173cm, 64kg, good trained (was a basketballplayer and surfer)

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If you feel more comfortable doing this then by all means go for it, but honestly it’s unnecessary and you would be fine just jumping straight into a plan and going for it. Your test result isn’t a punishment, it’s just a reflection of where your fitness is right now. You’ll get your old fitness back in pretty short order.

I would recommend coming back to training to select the Low Volume plan initially. That’s 3 rides per week of about 1 hour each. So, the rides when you’re in them feel challenging, but in reality isn’t a huge training load. You’ll have rest days after all your rides so recovery will take care of itself. As for nutrition I would point you to this thread Nutrition books. Lots of good resources in there, but you can’t really go wrong with Matt Fitzgeralds book.



Placeholder (for a better reply, but since I’m part way through a ride, I’m just going to take a second and say I agree with @julianoliver Jump into the SSB LV plan. With the calendar setup the way it is, if you don’t like it, you can just delete it. I’;ll bet you’ll love it though…

+1 for the Matt Fitzgerald books too, I’ve got Racing Weight laying here right next to my laptop as I type this. I also have some specific thoughts on nutrition I’ll add in a. bit, which is why I place held this…


I actually prefer Racing Weight to the Endurance Diet, but I’m more on the end of trying to really dial in my nutrition and weight. For someone that’s just coming back to training (or starting) I think the Endurance Diet offers good info on getting the basics right. Fuel your workouts properly, eat variety and make sure you’re getting enough carbs.


Again you guys are a huge help! :pray:

I just bought the book the endurance diet and i go from there.
I also agree, recovery (and) also nutrition) will bi less important as my trainingload will still be small… but i really want to focus on not loosing weight, or even gaining 1-2pounds of muscle…

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Diet really plays the dominant role when it comes to body composition. The commonly held believe is that if exercise starts or increases, then weight will just fall off. Gyms are littered with new members in January trying to shed excess weight. Exercise doesn’t hurt, but the return on investment compared to eating less is terrible. For a beginner athlete, a 1 hour workout in TR is around 300 calories. A banana is around half that. If you’re worried about losing weight, you need to eat more. Here is a more thorough post on nutrition and weight management. Most people are focussed on losing weight, not gaining it, but the principles are the same.


Someone has probably already asked but I’m about to kick off training after well life getting in the way. I am leaning towards doing traditional base instead of sweetspot. Basically because sweetspot intervals suck (more reason to do them I know. Any advice? I do a mix of road, gravel and XC riding, nothing fast just trying to build my fitness back up. Any advice or articles of benefits to either?

Thanks in advance!!!

How much time can you dedicate to your training?

At a very high level - unless you can commit to high volume traditional base you’re probably better off picking one of the sweet spot base plans

Do traditional base. It’s always a good place to start and even more so if you are struggling with motivation of sweet spot/intensity. Do the plan that keeps you motivated the longest. If you have been off for a bit, any plan will lead to gains for you, so go with the one that will stick.

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Conventional wisdom is that you need 12-20 hours/week for traditional base to really work its magic. Sweet spot will give you some (not all) of those gains in less time. Depending on how your body responds, doing 7-10 hours of traditional base MIGHT be about the same as 4-7 hours of sweet spot. Just speculating, the art of training is figuring out what works for you…

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I can offer you advice as someone in exactly your position. I’ve just come off 2 1/2 years of virtually no excercise, I dusted off my bike when the sun came out, did a couple of rides and felt very out of shape. So, I got a Kickr Snap and got to work with Sweet Spot Base Mid Volume.

Sweet Spot intervals are hard :smiley: But, they do you good. I’m 3 weeks in, and each session (except for the mid week recovery ones) has stretched me. But, I’ve made every one so far and now I’ve got half way through part 1 the motivation not to quit is gathering serious momentum.

I’ve already lost about 2Kg (no dieting, but I am more careful with wine and beer these days), I have no real idea of FTP gains yet, and I’m in no rush to do another ramp test, but the fact that I’m hitting every interval as they get harder is somewhat heartening.

If you did a low or mid volume Traditional Base you’d find it easier but you would also find it slower to make fitness gains. To be honest I’d get bored doing long easy intervals indoors and I’d get frustrated with slower progress. I’d rather do hard work in the time available and see bigger gains. If you have time to do 10 hours or more then Traditional could work, but 10 hours a week on a turbo isn’t something I could cope with.

My advice, go for Sweetspot first, put other ideas out of your head. Aim to get 3 weeks in before re-assessing. By then you’re half way and you couldn’t quit then, could you?