Sweet Spot or Sour Spot?

Used to be a fan of this guy…not any more, not after barely-veiled garbage like this:

(And it’s not because I’m a TR fanboy…cuz I’m not.)

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Never heard of him before. He doesn’t appear to have ever looked at a TR plan. Sweet spot base is an alternative to traditional base training and lasts 12 weeks. Only the high volume plan uses just sweet spot workouts. The mid and low volume sprinkle in over/unders and V02 from what I recall. I guess if he doesn’t have time to proof read his own article (a myriad of spelling mistakes) then there’s little chance of him actually researching a product before criticising it!

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Well I am a time trialist so I still use a lot of SS which he even suggests is ok. I also race mostly 10/25/50 mile races so it is useful. If I just did 10s and track racing I would do more VO2, if I did 100s I would moved to polarised and up my volume…which I don’t have time for but since most of my races last from 55mins to 1hr 55 mins then SS seems pretty specific to me. If I was a crit racer maybe it would be different…horses for courses :grinning:

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Reply to your ghost quote regarding the low-skill in presenting/interpreting studies et al on the forum…fair enough, but almost all TR forum users are not (claimed) science professionals like the blog author (“He is a qualified medical doctor at the University of Leicester UK and very experienced in scientific methods such as meta-analysis and big data”). We don’t know any better, he should.


Beyond that, TR’s claim is simply to make you a “faster cyclist”. Period. And I bet they accomplish that with 100% of their customers who complete an initial full Base-Build-Specialty plan. They also state that SST is the best for 99% of their customers because 99% of their customers don’t have 10+ hours/week to train. They aren’t claiming that SST is the best form of all types of training.

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Is this the guy who misread the TR public website and then made a video based on the misread? Like a month or two ago?

[e] It is, I knew that name was familiar.

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Next week Thursday will mark my one year anniversary with TrainerRoad. They got me from 2ish all the way up to 4.1 watts per kg. Heart rate decoupling is at 0.x percent for two hour sweet spot efforts. 2 percent for three hour efforts. So I guess it’s working for me.

Anyway, many of my mates give me shit for following the sweet spot approach. For them the way to go is polarized training. Funny enough that I achieved more in a year than they have in multiple years.

Thats why I eventually stopped caring about their trash talk. For me it works. So it does for many others. There are literally hundreds of success stories available on this forum. Though when people like Alex rather want to ignore that and go through sketchy studies (n=12 lol!) it’s their fault.

Though I honestly expect that from Alex. With his latest review on training platforms he has disqualified himself for future consideration. I cannot take him serious. To me the guy is the Donald Trump of cycling.

Statements like “I don’t really know why trainer road claims 99%, and I don’t know why 16% think the earth is flat“ pretty much disqualify @Alex_Fastfitnesstips from any serious discussion. He obviously still has no idea how the plans look like nor how they work. Classical Dunning Kruger.

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He brings up some valid points and he’s not alone in his thoughts. However, I don’t buy into the idea that there is an optimal training philosophy. There is a time and place for multiple training styles.

Not sure I can recall a time when any TrainerRoad staff member claimed SST was superior to a Polarized approach.

My observations after being a member of TR for a couple years and following plans to a T are that A) you will get stronger B) it’s sometimes necessary to modify plans

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Isn’t this guy associated with intervals.icu?

SST is simply a must if you want to raise CTL (that’s what it’s for) and short on time.

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Alex has helped me out quite a bit with Intervals.icu (e.g. training classification, mentions in his videos, link from his site) and I am very grateful for that and have given him credit on the site.

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Unfortunately many medical professionals are practitioners first and scientists second, despite what some of them claim.

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If this is so important, it should not be too hard to do proper comparative studies of representative POL vs SS models that have high enough N, last for at least 24wk, and are Set up so that the studies span the low, medium and high volume ranges. That would amount to at least 3 articles in total, generate comparisons not only between models but also volume ranges, and basically constitute a PhD dissertation.

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:rofl: :100:

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Well, key part of the discussion as it stands is basically paraphrasing studies to a variety of ends, so the discussion already takes place in a frame defined by sport sciences.

But I should have specified that if it is so important for the sport science community, then study it properly. In this context devoting a young scholar for the task would not be outrageously difficult provided that there is research interest on the topic.

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The last sentence though. :thinking: :wink:

Seems extremely hard to me! Getting a statistically significant volume of athletes to commit to 24 weeks of adhering to a training plan you set them, and controlling it well enough to be able to strip out factors like sleep, nutrition, life stress, is pretty hard to start with. As you say, you then need to increase that sample size to cover different training volumes, and I would guess the higher the volume the harder it is to find volunteers (recreational athlete on 5 hours/week might be happy to follow your plan, a serious athlete on 15+ hours/week is unlikely to be willing to potentially sacrifice a whole season to an experiment). And you probably need to then expand it further still to cover different age ranges, since the optimal approach for a 25 year old is highly likely to be different to the optimal approach for a 50 year old. What about genetics and people’s predisposition to certain types of training? What about different race types and durations?

And 24 weeks really isn’t that long. Optimal approach for 24 weeks may not be sustainable over multiple years, which is what it takes to get near to your potential in endurance sports.

Seems to me that any attempt to conduct a study with volunteers is likely to be limited enough by budget and numbers to leave as many questions as answers. So best bet is likely to be finding a large volume of existing training data that can be analysed. One source of this would be the pro teams, though it would be heavily skewed towards high volume athletes under 40 with great genetics, plus they’re unlikely to share it. Another would be an online training platform with a big customer base covering a wide range of ages, volumes and abilities :wink:

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There are some data sets out there for statistically significant number of cyclists though.
Consider this: Trainerroad has data on thousands upon thousands of people following Sweet Spot plans, and thousands upon thousands of people following Traditional Base plans. Better still, those people are mostly in the same circumstances as we are: training 5 to 20 hours a week, dedicated to training by power etc, and they are tracked over months and years rather than days and weeks. Much more relevant group of athletes than the usual study group considering a dozen untrained individuals or a handful of pros followed over x weeks.

If the staff at Trainerroad concludes from their data that both approaches work, that‘s far more credible to me than any small sample size study concluding that sweet spot does or doesn‘t work.

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I know, read my last sentence!

That just got on the Intervals.icu todo list :slight_smile: I could put people into the training type classifications I already have, control for hours of training per week etc. and see which lot has the highest eFTP. I need to finish some current work (busy building support for workout libraries for planning) then I will have a look. Hopefully there is enough good data.

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