Sweet Spot Progression

Another minimum effective dose post. This is not about pushing out fatigue resistance to very long durations, which I agree with many on this thread that chasing involves doing some level of 90-min sweet spot intervals. My target events are weekly worlds and 1-3 hour climbs, and late fifties and need more recovery.

Back to minimum effective dose. Based on 2017 my thesis is that 1 long 60-90 minute effort a month will help mentally and possibly physically with developing higher fatigue resistance for my target events. Had a long off-season due to C19 during September 2021. Then in October and November my coach had me do a very easy tempo (about 85%) progression from 48-min to 72-min PER WEEK, adding in bursts in November. Overall volume about 9 hours/week during Oct-Nov. Then December criss-cross intervals and some threshold and above threshold work, haven’t finished looking but at a glance tempo+threshold weekly work was holding around 60-min/week as intensity increased. Right now average volume for the 3.5 months is 8.5 hours/week.

Two weeks ago I did a 10-min pacing effort to establish pace for a field test. Yesterday went out and easily finished a 32-min threshold effort. Could have gone longer but I ran out of daylight and road (had to turn home because of sunset). Didn’t prove it yesterday but based on previous long 50-70 minute efforts it felt like I could have easily done 45 or 60 minutes. Woke up this morning and legs are fine, and this is the end of a 3 week build. Fatigue this week has definitely been building up, and I’m looking forward to a rest week.

Next month I’ll target 50-70 minutes at threshold. Then in March I’ll be back out during weekly worlds and will report back on how well this minimum dose approach ends up supporting those 90 minutes hammerfests.

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My 3 week sweet spot progression is done. Went from 2x30min to 90min + 30min intervals. Almost 4hrs tiz this last week.

Last one today was a tough one, last 10min was a struggle.

Interesting that during this block decoupling on my long rides 4½hrs has gone down from about 6% to 2-3%.

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question for @4ibanez @kurt.braeckel and others who have done VO2 blocks;
I threw this in this thread as ties into some of the other WKO discussions we’ve all been having

Currently 120 days out from first A race (two peak season 10 weeks apart), just wrapping up a pretty heavy aerobic block with a ton of SST and threshold, pushing my SST out to 120min which is 400% of TTE, and threshold to 60min which is 200% of TTE.

My Vo2 as % of mftp is 86.8% which is the highest I’ve ever had it, so its clearly time to hammer on the VO2.

Timing wise, where I sit in relation to key race, is this too early?
Was going to take a rest week, do a half week of power testing to update the model (residuals) and then was thinking of doing a focused two weeks block of VO2 work similar to what was recently discussed in the other thread. Basically ever other day VO2, z2 filler in between, and run as hard start extensive intervals.

Thoughts? Ideas?

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I’m aiming for an early June peak and starting my VO2 block Feb 7th. Last year I peaked between 3 and 4 months after. Figure three weeks for the block, ten days or two weeks recovery. Aerobic build - high power work - peak/race. Seems like good timing to me.

Based on my TIS impulse chart this lines up. I’ll make sure I have more aerobic work this time, and a better sense of how to sharpen the blade, but seems good.

perfect sounds like timing wise we are on similar schedules and planning aligns.

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And what are you planning to do after these 2 vo2 focused weeks?

My focus for the last 12 weeks has really been extensive work. Extensive aerobic, long SST, extensive threshold (3x20, 3x25). If I do the block as I’m currently planning it I would be finished (including rest week) 2nd week of march. That basically gives me 8 weeks to peak and really start hammering the more intensive work.
So focus would be then on intensive threshold (raise FTP) by hopefully taking advantage of the new headroom VO2 block creates, and then start sharpening the blade with the shorter more punchy anaerobic/sprint stuff

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I’m still in my offseason for at least 5 weeks more, but I want to start with one session of Tempo with HR limiter ala Steve Neal…I don’t know what my FTP is at the moment, so HR seems a good guide. 83% of HR max is the limit. Will start with 2 x 30. Will be very happy if power is around 85-88 of old FTP. Will report back.

Does anybody else use HR limiters in these progressions?

Thanks

Just remember that 83% SN talks about is meant very much as a limit and not a target. Be interesting to see how you get on. I couldn’t keep 90% FTP quite under that limit but got close when I was fresh. I was more focused on the 90% than anything else, but kinda wish I hadn’t done that now as it burned me out somewhat. This winter I’ve been outdoors and doing longer outdoor tempo at 85% and am feeling much better and more hungry for the next phase of intensity than I was after extending SST @90%. I probably wont do a 90% build again.

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What would you recommend for next block after sweet spot progression?

I’ve done 3 blocks of base so far (pure Z2, tempo progression, sweet spot progression). I was thinking of doing 4th block of base and keep progressing in the gym. What would you do? Tempo/sweet spot bursts, over-unders?

I was also thinking of doing 2 long rides per week (4-5hrs) instead of one, would this still be helpful in late base?

Looks like a great base phase. Covid ruïned my base that i wanted to.start in december. So this year no good progressive base phase with tempo/sweet spot work :-(. 47hrs in january but my goal is within 14weeks so I have to increase intensity but it is a Gran fondo so…maybe some STT/threshold work could also work. But I also need some vo2 max stuff to Bé able to survive thé surges at thé beginning

For me, after doing a week of testing last week, I’m going to do some vo2 work. I did a 5 and 20 min test and both times it felt like my breathing was the limiting factor. My legs felt like they could have done more without the usual lactate burn and build up etc, and 20 min power is now 81% of my 5 min power, so it feels like time to raise the roof. Originally in my plan I had a threshold block next but decided to swqp it around.

This would probably be a great idea. During base I capped my Saturdays at 3 hours Z2 (higher end), and then worked up to 5 hours Z2 (mid zone) Sunday. But in terms of Z2 hours, IMO more is always better (in base at least)!

Any thoughts on how to structure week while chasing sweet spot progression?

For now, I have planned until middle of March 2x SS workouts per week, rest Z2 at LT1 a la:

After that with SS90/1x90min I’m thinking using POL6HV plan VO2max progression on Tuesdays and keep pushing SS on Fridays, other days still at LT1. I have no end goal, just interested extending SS as far as possible (SS90/1x180 :stuck_out_tongue: )

Why only 2 SST per week. With the time you have available you could be doing 3, and tack on additional Z2 if needed just to get the overall time you are trying to hit.

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I tend to agree - if SST is the focus of the block then I’d look to do a third session if possible (I’d maybe be slightly more cautious if it was threshold).

These are big sessions, and riding at Ae threshold probably isn’t massively recuperative, so to include another decent SST workout, they might need to tone down the Z2 intensity of the other sessions.

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Indeed, I’ll be glad to switch to 3 SS sessions. Those AE days are little self-experimentation on increasing power on HRV-based calculated LT1 HR capped rides over training block but it is better to postpone it until can ride outdoors. Have been keeping me really fresh but backside is complaining very loudly.

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Definitely, in my AeT rides with 150bmp limiter, the average for the whole duration is between 139-144.

Given that my HR at threshold is around 177-180, I have to keep my expectations in check. If somehow I can do it I’ll mean my FTP increased in the off-season :rofl:. Or my previous estimate was too low.

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Personally, at 44 and “only” riding ten hours a week, I have the most success with two SST and a tempo ride along with Z2. When I was doing three long SST workouts, I would fatigue pretty quickly. This base season I carried the SST + tempo + Z2 consistently without issue.

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Just completed a rest week and started testing week (following WKO protocols/rides) to build out the model.
mFTP has gone from 301 to 336. This is far and away the largest increase i’ve ever seen since i’ve started testing/riding and is 60+w over what I last raced with.
Dreading what these next workouts are going to look at, especially when old threshold is the new SST.

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