Sweet Spot Progression

Is your model up to date? If it is then it might be worth performing some Vo2 work followed by some baseline testing before committing to any zones.

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I finished SSBLV1 last week. Did a ramp test yesterday but when I am hanging in there 17min in, the trainer overheated, all resistance was gone. Very frustrating since I definitely had a few minutes more in me. Did the ramp test today again with open door, trainer worked fine and as a result I could finish the test. Base level 224w FTP before SSBLV1, first ramp test (overheated trainer) gave FTP of 241w and today I could finish the test with a FTP of 252w. That’s a 12.5% increase in 6 weeks. I’m pretty happy with that. At 70kg it puts me at 3,6w/kg.

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Well, this was interesting…

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Here is my WKO overview since 2017. In september 2020 I did some testing to feed the model. My mFTP went to 285. Currently back to 272w, but that is because I lost some 90-day data (planning to test again within 3 weeks).
So, as you can see, pretty stable values…And within those years, never did a structured vo2max block.

PowerVo2Max

Just watched it; came here looking for someone to reference it. I don’t recall Dylan indicating the total available training hours for the participants in the studies he referenced. I suspect that the 80/20 program he discussed only really works at scale and is not as beneficial when an athlete only has 5 hours a week at their disposal. Purely speculation though, so I could be wrong.

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Same here, I’m going to do some VO2 in the new year to try and raise the ceiling for more SST/FTP. My anaerobic and VO2 used to be my strength, but definitely a weakness now as I’ve focused mainly on FTP related stuff for best part of a year.

What are your VO2 weeks looking like? Care to post some inspiration? Am thinking of some workouts like Mist +1 and Mist +3 because they both had me at the limit last time & and some of the hard start intervals from here. I may need to break myself in with some easier 3 min efforts for 1 or 2 workouts though - something like good old Spencer +2. My current thinking is not to sweat about workout completion when it comes to VO2 - it’s more about maximising the stimulus, and if I am truly pushing it, then I’ll probably fail a bunch :slight_smile:

As the saying goes, volume is king. Volume is the stimulus most people respond to best, far more than intensity. That said, be realistic and work with what you have. You’ll be a lot more happy if you’re honest with your personal situation. Also realize that most pro cyclists doing “80/20” are not weekday/weekend constricted, meaning they work in larger time frames than 7-day blocks.

My n=1 is that I need a minimum of 10hrs/wk to see improvements if I’m doing Polarized/80-20. If I only have 10hrs, I’ll do 2x4hr easy on the weekends and 2x1hr hard during the week. That’s the minimum.

Good luck!

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The key thing he referenced in the video, but ppl seem to be missing is the false dichotomy between: SST vs POL…when in reality, what works best in most cases is a Pyramidal approach.

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It’s all individual…

Yes, interesting, thanks for sharing. As with most things I think it’s based on personal outcomes that we are looking for (fat loss, FTP gains, maintaining fitness, etc.) and timing (over a career, during a season, prepping for an event, amount of training time we have). I viewed this video primarily as an “either/or” (SS vs Polarized) approach to increasing FTP/becoming faster and that’s not necessarily always the goal…and even if it is it’s probably dependent upon your existing overall fitness progression (base to start with). Z2 is/was a great place for me at certain times in my cycling training journey. Retrospectively I think this is how I trained with varying goals over the course of time (15 years), but what came out of it naturally for me was…

New to cycling:
Z1 (80%) - Getting comfortable with the sport, building aerobic base, learning technique.
Z2 (15%) - Starting to gain fitness and lose body fat with proper nutrition.
Z3 (5%) - Just a little work to see where your limits and sprint capabilities are.

Intermediate cyclist:
Z1 (50%) - Maintained fitness and also used for light recovery days.
Z2 (40%) - Built a bigger aerobic engine that allows me to easily pace very long rides and advancing technical work.
Z3 (10%) - Gaining even more fitness and started to build the foundation of anaerobic fitness/muscle strength.

More advanced cyclist (I’ll consider myself Intermediate +, not advanced lol):
Z1 (50%) - Used for light recovery day rides and rest periods of Z3 work.
Z2 (30%) - Maintained aerobic fitness and used as a base for more productive and efficient Z3 work.
Z3 (20%) - Used to increase anaerobic fitness, muscle strength, sprint power and raise overall FTP.

I probably had 1-3 week spurts in there were it looked more like an 80/0/20 or even a 75/0/25 when I was prepping for crit races.

I think when we as individuals are honest with ourselves about what our goals are and where we truly are on that path we can, with a little research, can implement an effective plan that works for us. Especially if we stick with it, consistently evaluate along the way, implement purposeful change when we see failures, and adapt when we see opportunities and always look to learn.

I think I’ve said this in every discussion about “polarized training”: it’s not new, it’s not sexy - one guy gave it a different name. It’s an age-old adage of “keep your easy days easy, and make your hard days really hard.” The thing is, that works really, really well when you have unlimited time to do high volume on those easy days. If you DON’T have “enough” time, then there are other ways to train that are very effective. One of those ways - my preferred way - is sweet spot work.

One of the common criticisms of SST is that it’ll artificially inflate your FTP, but you won’t be able to hold it nearly as long as a “polarized” approach would have you do it. This thread shows that plenty of people (including me) can build a strong aerobic base on ~10hrs per week that gives them a high FTP that they can hold for a lot longer than your average TR SST plan will. The key is building extensive endurance at relatively high power, rather than just continually trying to push one number higher and higher and higher for the benefit of ego and harder and harder training sessions.

So, “polarized” is great… if you’ve got the time and lifestyle to support a good deal of time in the saddle. If you don’t, then SST training is a pretty damn good “compromise”. As @hdas said, a pyramidal approach works very well… keep the biggest part of your training time in Coggan/iLevels zone 2, do a fair amount in the “sweet spot” and keep your coasting/zone 1 time to a minimum. This time of year, that is a great approach to base building IMHO.

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Seems like a structured VO2max block to start might be beneficial for you.

Re: your SST intervals, 1x25 isn’t going to challenge you since you’re coming in relatively fit. You need to be aiming to get up and over TTE. Tim recommends up to 2xTTE (or more) as a goal for your SST work. So if you’re aiming for 90% of FTP and you’ve got a TTE of 40 minutes, then aiming for 4x20 by the end of your SST block is a pretty good target.

Why not try the 3 week VO2max block, then recover from it. Then you can aim for some SST work starting at your TTE (so for your first workout, if you have a 40-minute TTE, try 2x20), and build somewhat aggressively from there. My n=1, I came in from a broken collarbone with 3 weeks off the bike before starting my progression, my FTP was about 20W lower than it is now, with a TTE of about 40min… I started with 5x10 on 2min rest @90% and that was not hard, but was up to 1x45 and eventually 60 minutes total TiZ within about 2 weeks. I didn’t really start to feel challenged until I got up to 3x25 at my current FTP.

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I’m just going to make my own workout with a hard start and 3 minutes on 2 minutes off (I recover from efforts quickly and I want to keep myself in the omg I need more oxygen state).

Thinking I’ll do that tues, Wednesday, thursday, Friday rest, sat z2 for 3 hours, Sunday 90 min ss, Monday recovery spin.

So that gets me 6 vo2max sessions in two weeks.

Will ramp test at the end as I think its actually what the ramp test is great for

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Following day: 90mins @ 304w. Felt completely sustainable - had I fuelled/had the time, could have have held out longer.

Not posted to brag, so much as reiterate the results I’ve got since really focusing on extended TiZ and interval length since earlier this year, and specifically this winter. Being able to cruise along at a power which would have been intimidating pretty recently feels so good. While there’s obviously physiological reasons that the longer progressions work, so much of the training is mental: when you’ve never done more than approx. 20min intervals before, it feels like that’s the limit. It really isn’t…

Like a few others, will now be heading into a Vo2 max block in the new year!

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Only using your post as an example of the general issue. I wish we all in this forum use w/kg instead, it would give a lot more context to the random numbers. Cheers!

I politely disagree. You skinny guys can’t get all the privileges :rofl:.

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Why? W/kg pretty meaningless in flat races/rides. It also isn’t great when it comes to tracking power progress, because you also need to know the weight changes. Keep it simple, and go by power only.

The thing here is to not compare your numbers to somebody else’s without even knowing them. Yeah I do cry too at the thought of somebody doing 90 minutes ‘sustainably’ at what is close to my MAP, but we are all different and I won’t ever race him, so what’s the point?

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yes, we are all different, but size is one of the differences that is trivial to control for (age and years of training, altitude are others). The point is that the gain on information and context far outweighs the cost of adding the important denominator.

74kg! Forget that TR doesn’t show in the stats like elsewhere - though racing for TTs this year so not looking at the scales atm…

(…and I ride with far too many 5 w/kg riders or close to 400w monsters on the TT scene to feel even vaguely fast)

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Solid numbers !!. Cheers

1x50 @ 93% today. Meant to be @ 90% but I was on rollers so the gearing and cadence worked out to be 93%. Longest SST to date for me. Started with 3x12 a few weeks ago, then 3x15, 2x24 last week and just went for its today. Happy with my progression to push out my TTE. Have a recovery week coming up, then going into an FTP build phase.

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