Sweet Spot Progression

?? can you explain why not.
We’ve got 2000 posts in this thread discussing the benefits of longer SST during base phase.

Sorry typo. Meant build. Ill change it.


How long are people’s recovery periods between intervals? I find 4 minutes good, but no idea if this is overly long.

Depends on the length of the interval maybe? Long enough so you can do all the intervals. I don’t really think the exact length is that important for these longer intervals. Four minutes sounds good to me, mine are between 3 and 5 minutes.

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to keep the clock math simple, I always just take a 5min recovery interval.

My own 90-94% progression is to start with 2 x 20, then go to 1 x 45, 1 x 60, 1 x 75, 1 x 90, 1 x 120

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for SST I do 3min recoveries, for threshold I do 5-7min depending on interval length.
You should not need long for recovery when working at threshold and below. And this is the big difference between TR plans and what has been discussed in this thread;

  1. longer intervals
  2. lower power target within those intervals
  3. less rest
    The combination of those three things leads to adaptions that allow you to keep strong power to the pedals for extended periods of time that ultimately win races, rather than these higher & shorter efforts.

3 minutes for SST (if I take a break). So 3x30/3, for example. I find that the breaks for SST are almost entirely mental, and if I schedule a 3x25 or 3x30, I’ll often do it as a 1x75 or 1x90 instead. If my head’s not with it, I’ll take the break. NBD.

4-5 min for threshold or over-unders. Generally stick with 4 minutes for intervals under 20 min, 5 min if over 20min. No real rationale behind that, TBH. (I don’t do intervals shorter than 15 minutes for strict threshold work, either). Here it’s about trying to do a higher time at power with less impact and RPE. So with a 49min TTE at 285W, tonight I’m doing a 3x15 at 282W as my “starter” workout for this block. (282 selected because I suspect my FTP is closer to 290 based on a lot of recent results).

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Even more than that, the combination of those three things allows me to do more work more consistently. Normally by now I’m falling off the training wagon during a TR-planned season. I’m feeling better than ever now six full months into training this year.

Agreed. My consistency and lack of burnout while still being able ot do substantive work was a big piece of the last 4 months.

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for me it was the intensity in TR. Saw your earlier note about minimum effective dose. This is somewhat complex subject as it varies by individual and cumulative training load. My observations is that it likely takes a lot less than many believe.

100% agree. The reason it’s so hard to self-coach is that our brain tells us to do MORE EVERYTHING when it’s our own training. Then, when I’ve coached athletes, I’m always super objective and great at erring on the side of caution to keep them healthy and motivated.

So that’s really what I’m working on with my self-coaching: figuring out how much is just enough… and it’s not easy… I’ve overdone it a few times this season, for sure. Now I feel like I have it a bit better dialed, but we’ll see, especially as I start to train repeatability shortly.


This is another reason this forum is so valuable. It’s so important (for me at least) to have an educated outside perspective.


My n=1 on this; this is where i really found less is more.
I sort of stuck to a first principles perspective similiar to what i had been doing with my SST, Threshold, and VO2 blocks and kept the intensity days to 2 and no more than 3 in a week. You start to realize it doesn’t take a lot to get the adaptions if done properly. You make the time count, then you do endurance and other stuff.


:+1: :+1: :+1:

Every once in awhile I read stuff on this and the threshold progression threads and pull up Tim Cusick’s masters full season plan. Or the FasCat plans. Or the old Strava/CTS Gran Fondo plan. And then look at my own data and think “fresh is faster, less is more.”

My plan is two, maybe three hard interval sessions per week with some bonus Z2, rest Z2, touch up a long SST workout every other week to keep threshold and sustained efforts intact.


Exact same as me.

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Done this for last 8 weeks. Plus side - I am a lot fresher than with 3 intensity days (like a lot). Now want to experiment a little bit with training composition of hard workouts to see what will happen.


I use a three pronged approach for FTP. I started doing 10 minute threshold efforts [90 - 95% maxhr] in mid-December but by mid-April I had pretty much topped out [going from 230 - 290W]…meaning I couldn’t go any higher at 10 minutes. I then had to go lower for longer [2 x 20 at 85 - 90% maxhr]…while also going shorter and higher [4 - 5 x 5 min at 95 - 98% maxhr]. The third part of it was adding low tempo blocks [10 - 20 mins at 75 - 78% maxhr] to the 4 - 5 hr Z2 rides.

I would definitely use at least a two pronged approach…SST + threshold or SST + short Vo2. I would also spice up the Z2 as long as you can stay around LT1 + about 5 bpm. If you want to increase FTP you will need to stay with sweet spot efforts. The threshold and short Vo2 can certainly increase the short term power (for short time trials) but it’s the SST work that will give you increased TTE at your FTP, estimated or otherwise.

That said…if you only have 6 hrs/wk to train than you will be limited as far as FTP goes…especially as a masters athlete. I’m 51…riding an avg of 15 - 16 hrs/wk…but I only do two intensity days per week…rarely more than that. The long Z2 rides simply don’t allow for more.


Yes iam also a selfcoached athlete and determine the same. The pitfall is to do to much. To fast to much progressive. I do cycling since my 15th year (races) and have learn to listen to your body. You need to know when you feel tired and pull back. Even when you start with a training and your first block dont went well (dont good feeling, other than you expect.) you can better stop and to a less extensive ride. The odds that you get adaption from that is far way less than you get injured/sick etc. Better to rest a day extra and come back harder the day after.

Iam a cyclist in a team and a lot of the guys dont even know what 80-90-100% is. How it feels… When we talk before the training and say ok lets go 90%, within 5 minutes we riding 110%.


Your post and others posting similar things in this thread are important reminders to not get lost in overly complex or intensive training regimes.

Doing intensity 2 times a week for 3 weeks and then an easier week seems to allow me to maintain freshness. Usually, my hunger for interval training seems to fade around now (May). In part because of better weather but probably also because too much intensity takes it toll. Feel much fresher this year.

I do however seem to suffer a bit in 3rd week in a block. Perhaps, I could even do blocks with 2 weeks intensity and 1 week with less intensity? But perhaps too easy?

Training is really simple and extremely complex at the same time :slight_smile:

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