Sweet Spot or Sour Spot?

What durations are your SS intervals? If you haven’t stretched them out to multi hour then you probably haven’t maxed out the adaptation yet.

I believe this is true. However there are conflicting messages from respected sources - Seiler who says polarized; TR saying sweet spot, defined as 88-94% FTP; Steve Neal saying tempo/low Sweet Spot, but keep below 83% max HR. It’s hard for an average cyclist to make sense out of all this.

And little acknowledgement of the specific training you might need if you, say, skew fast twitch instead of slow twitch, or have a low LT1.

I get the “just ride more and more consistently” approach. But if I have 8-10 hours to put in, I’d like to understand how to optimize within that envelope. FWIW, I think I’m slowly figuring it out for myself.

Like I mentioned, I think the INSCYD guys have the best approach that I’ve seen. Wouldn’t surprise me that they built on work that came before.


Any chance you have the full text?

I was able to download the text from the researchgate link at the top

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With the Steve Neal podcast, one thing you have to remember is that he was talking about riders training in his gym 4 days per week (two strength sessions, two bike) during the Canadian winter. If you listen to other things he has said he is obviously a believer in big volume

Exactly. For some reason people think medical doctors are scientist. They are not, they are doctors. Also it’s really hard to read a critique of something when it’s riddled with grammar and spelling errors. I wouldn’t have gotten a biology degree from I wrote papers like that🤷‍♂️

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I just read through the paper from the above download. It seems theoretical, as with one quick read-through, I don’t see how they characterize an athlete’s anerobic or aerobic capacity. It seems sound, in terms of application of training stress, but there are precious few of us that are able or willing to do the extensive on going lactate testing as part of our training. Personally, I spent about 9 hrs/week over the summer doing Zone 1 rides with one of Chad’s VO2 max workouts/week. My FTP went up about 8 points as a result. I’m giving the SSB route a try currently, it is certainly more stressful for less volume, and we’ll see what happens with FTP

This is the podcast with Steve Neal I was referring to.

I think there’s another where he talks about his winter training.

Touché, my friend :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Frankly, calling it sweet spot base is a bit misleading, considering much of SSB2 is threshold work.


Last four weeks below.

Main goal: buidling turbo diesel for A-race event

Main intensity/volume regulator: sleep quality. Tried HRV for over a year (yes, I looked at weighted values not just the actue … useless). Sleep and how I feel after waking up.

Endurance rides (END) can go up to TE/SST in intensity. Or can be very easy. Once again, regulated by how I feel. Follows Lydiard’s suggestion for doing base runs at “best aerobic pace”. For me a 2 zone model seems most appropriate, endurance (up to SST) and hard/intense (>= threshold/vo2max/anaerobic).

The entire approach is basically motivated by all my pro Strava hacks which I have shared partly in this forum. Furthermore, all the inputs we have gotten from folks like Filliol, the Norwegean triathletes or Lorang: key is figuring out what you can absorb on a weekly basis. It is important to trust your own feedback loop (in my case sleep quality). It does not matter what hypothetical training intensity distribution you follow, appreciate the individual, pay attention to your body.


We’ll never know where you would have ended up doing alternative training but based on the ‘bell curve’ thread, a stable FTP in the 50+ age group could actually mean you’re progressing relative to the overall trend.

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At 64 I reckon I’ve got to improve 10% a year to stand still.

I certainly agree that a lot of SSB is threshold unless you do HV. I did it last year but was doing 2 hours after work which wasn’t sustainable in the long term and my weight crashed (plus got ill). I find that SS is ok, VO2 in small doses the same, threshold is ok as well…BUT super threshold stuff at 108% kills me - I can just about get through but 2 years running I have got ill a couple of weeks into doing stuff like Wilhelm. Of course this could be because with an April season start for time trials in the UK I am doing it in Feb which is virus time if you teach like I do but I think I will avoid them in future. I like hardish 90 min SS mixed with short VO2 max a group ride and I am going to add the 102% stuff for a month (like Stromlo) which should be near to my 10 mile tt pace pre season. My FTP is still rising slowly as is my W/KG (although that is more a factor of my lack of weight 60.5kg this week than massive watts - 298W on the last ramp). But I suppose I am in a position where all gains now will be slow especially as I am 51. :frowning_face:

Trainerroad really should just rename SSB to something like “High / Medium Intensity Base”


Who is it that always touts Lydiard? Was it Howe?

This seems to be a key element missing from the discussion, huh?


Totally agree, for the Low and Mid Volume “Non-Traditional Base”. Could just about call them Threshold or VO2 max base since the distribution is about even between workouts and related energy systems. That is even more true for the 2nd phase.

A training plan by any other name… :wink:

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Didn’t mean for this to turn into yet another SS vs POL thread, sorry. :man_facepalming:


I don’t agree with respect to SSB-1, looking at the plans the only above sweet spot work are the over-unders and here is an example of the goals for over-under:

The two McAdie workouts in SSB-1 (mid-volume) aren’t exact copy&pastes of the other over-under goals, but still basically the same:

Same same.

You’ll notice a lot of drills during sweet spot base 1, and the over-unders are another form of drills IMHO. From the description of SSB-1 mid-volume:

Following the initial fitness assessment, Sweet Spot Base I emphasizes pedal economy - via leg speed, speed endurance, and cadence. It also targets base aerobic fitness via a healthy dose of Sweet Spot training aimed at making every minute of your indoor endeavors count.

While TR downplays traditional base, the mid-volume plan has a very good progression on load. I did part 1 and part 2 over 9 weeks, and my CTL ramped around 4/week from CTL of 4 to 46. Triathlon full distance base (mid-volume) also looks very interesting to my eyes. One “feature” of those plans is they require a large time commitment, raising a compliance issue if you are time-crunched because of all the 2-4 hour workouts.