Sweet Spot Progression

I’ve posted before I believe there is much value in a 16 days on / 5 days off cycle for athletes over ~40

[Posted details a few times, not sure in which threads]

The 5 day deload is Monday - Friday.

Out of interest I just checked mine…
Low 110%
Mid 114%
High 118%

When I don’t know or haven’t looked at WKO I normally use 112% for > 5 minute intervals and around 115% for 3 and 4 minute intervals. After the first 2 intervals I just use feel to average the highest power I can over the set (always in resistance or slope mode.)

After a the first few sessions of a block I use my previous weeks history. Progression ends up being either an extra few minutes interval TiZ or an extra 5 watts for the average of all the intervals, sometimes both when response and recovery is going really well.

On TiZ I typically aim for 24 - 30 minutes of intervals giving ~ 15 - 20 minutes at VO2max
24, 6x 4 minutes
25, 5x 5 minutes
24, 4x 6 minutes
28, 7x 4 minutes
30, 6x 5 minutes
28, 4x 7 minutes (rarely)

I don’t hard start intervals often as it results in power dropping below at level where I can maintain my HR or I just quit the intervals. I get more time at VO2 doing longer state state (flat) efforts, 5x 5 is probably my favorite session. I tried soft hard start intervals but they are still very hit and miss, I’d rather go with the greater chance of a good session from state-state intervals.

Today i did a 6min all out on a climb. Before today my best 5min power was 359w, but today i did 6min 359w! I improve my 5:15 till 6:25 ATH with around 10w, but more important the recovery went really faster and had the feeling that i need to go less deeper (offcourse i went really all out. avg hr 97% of HRmax :wink: )


Listened to KM about vo2max on the “endurance innovation” podcast yesterday. Was excellent, will answer a lot of questions that have come up here.

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Yes i have listened to! Really good!

Today i did 5x4min Vo2max on a climb. It went very well for my feeling. Breathing like a fish, high rpm etc… but WKO5 says its only 9:23 above 85% and 1:38 aboven 90%…
The power is not 90% in Vo2max, but as Koolie says in the podcast, a lower power doesnt matter, but how do i interpret the data?



Hmm, interesting.

Just started doing sweet spot work a month ago, and haven’t done much progressing. Maybe out to 50 minutes now. But I’ve done a LOT to develop basic aerobic endurance over the last 8 months.

On a related note maybe someone wants to comment on this climb of duration 17 minutes and 37 seconds (17:37) on a 10% grade. Rested and relaxed coming into this effort. This climb followed an earlier 35 minute climb:

Three observations:

  • breathing on that one felt like I was really really close to vo2max for at least half or two-thirds of the interval
  • could have gone 20-30 minutes at that aerobic effort but ran out of road, and my legs and HR were fine
  • WKO has modeled power at VO2max at 306W and 90% pVO2max is 275W. TR shows:


that I was at or above 90% pVO2max for 17:10 of the 17:37 interval.

Regarding heart rate I’m always a bit curious about using it as a measure of vo2max.

  • my LTHR is 160bpm which is 91.4% of HRmax (cycling)
  • therefore 157bpm is 90% HRmax
  • spent 3:21 at or above 90% HRmax
  • spent 0:00 above 95% HRmax
  • spent 0:00 at or above LTHR
  • 12:08 above 90% relative vo2max (WKO modeling)
  • 2:41 above 95% relative vo2max (WKO modeling)

This is a case where I believe the WKO model.

And FWIW I’ve always avoided using % HRmax as a measure of vo2max.

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Were you well rested? Fatigue can play a roll in heart rate response. What was your breathing like?

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Take this with a grain of salt as I don’t understand VO2max as well as some, but I would assume (maybe incorrectly) that if a person is operating at their power @ VO2max or really close they likely are working very close to their VO2max regardless of heart rate. Unless you’re VO2max is like 130% of your FTP and your wattages figures are incorrect.

For me, as long as I’m making the power and I’m breathing hard I assume I’m very close to true VO2max. Somedays that might put me at 91% of HRmax, other days it’s like 97% of HRmax.


Basically agree with what you said, although we could try unpacking VO2 watts and vo2max. But I’m not an exercise physiologist so kinda pointless. But its why I scratch my head at all the intervals.icu graphs showing time above 90% HRmax. Because I can do a 45 minute threshold effort and spend large majority of my time at 91.4% HRmax but not be at vo2max. And then see lower HR and be at or near vo2max.

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Check the chart “Relative VO2max”. There is a time consideration to reach VO2 max state - the more % of pVO2 max the shorter the time. You have worked just above FTP for a quite short time - so probably WKO is right. The chart you have shown is a custom chart that only marks Vo2 max efforts.

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I’m with you there as my LTHR is right at 90% of HRmax. So when I hear coaches throw around the “aim for 15-20min” at 90% HRmax or greater I can do that all day long if I’m doing a VO2max session. Here’s a 5x5 session from Thursday that puts me at almost 30 minutes of time at 90% of HRmax. I highly doubt I collected that amount of time within 95% of VO2max though.

This is why I just use heart rate as a marker of whether or not something is off. As in, I’m doing 5-min intervals at 118% of FTP, but my heart rate is only hitting LTHR then I know something is off. But as long as I’m making the power and my breathing is labored I’m good to go.

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“all out” and “full gas” are better descriptions (which is not the same as max effort).

Not real rested. Yesterdag 86km with 1300hm and 6min all out. Breathing like a fish on the dry. Breathing starts after 30s in the block.

Kolie talk about in the webinar is that vo2max breathing and HR is more important than power. For example after 4 blocks. The 5 block due fatique you dont reach vo2max power anymore, but your HR and breathing is the same as vo2max looks like.

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But WKO5 base VO2max work on power, but vo2max is cardiovasculair and not power based. KM talk about in some webinars and say VO2max is breathing and HR. High cadans will give a lower power, but you reach more central adapation…

Heartrate above 90% of HRmax, high RPM and breathing like a fish. But WKO5 (based on power) will say not more than 85% VO2max…

Good point from @anthonylane and @bbarrera about % HRmax. My LTHR is at 92% of HRmax, so 90% i for me not vo2max.

Slow component? VO2/power output relationship and the slow component of oxygen uptake kinetics during cycling at different pedaling rates: relationship to venous lactate accumulation and blood acid-base balance - PubMed

Or just plain fatigue?

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“like being waterboarded” is another great descriptor for long VO2 max efforts


Anyone notice the levels for the longer workouts? Over 10

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It’s because they are custom workouts, the level algorithm only really considers the TR-made workouts.

Not really, there are many TR workouts over 10.

Just making a light hearted comment about how good our sweet spot is

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