Sweet Spot Progression

If I was still racing, I would only do 2 90-94% days a week and use the other “hard” day for some :30 efforts to keep in touch with zone 6 and not lose what snap I have.

I’m done with racing, so right now I’m working with a fatigue-dependent model and doing as much “sweet spot” (which is a concept, not a zone) as possible.

Tues was a 2hr session with a 60min block at 90%
Wed was a 2hr session with a 60min block at 88%
today will be 2hrs with 2 x ? (maybe 20, maybe 30, depending on how my legs are) at 90%.
Friday easy recovery
Sat some hard work at 95-100% FTP
Sun as much TSS as I can accumulate in 2hrs

I’ve done this is years that I didn’t race, and it reduces anaerobic capacity something awful, but it does really increase TTE and for me, at least, it was a good way to steadily build FTP during a Base period, before starting to “polarize” and move on to zone 5 intervals.

I’ll admit it’s kind of a dumb way to train unless you just want to burn a lot of calories (which I do) or maybe you’re laying a base for TTs in limited time (no rides over 2hrs).

This happens to a lot of people. Even riding at 99% last night it didn’t really feel like 99% until about 12 min into the first interval. So… a lot of people think: this is easy, go harder.

I don’t feel 90% until about 50 minutes in these days. It feels pretty easy to me. In a competitive environment like a group ride (they all are) the tendency is to go harder.

I think a lot of this only comes with experience. You need to use a PM and HRM for a few years, and ideally work with a coach during that time, to learn how to “cross reference” power with heart rate with perceived exertion.

Eventually you learn how to read your body.

I don’t really test anymore, because after using PMs since '98, I have a pretty good idea of what different paces feel like, and know how my HR responds. I actually train more by HR and PE these days, and use the PM descriptively rather than prescriptively, but it takes some time to get to that point.

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Speaking about periodization i am curious about this:

Since okt 2020 iam working with a structured plan and and in the first months i dont do not every 3 weeks a restweek because of doing a lot of Z2 and tempo stuff. The restweeks depends more about my feeling and the weather in the winter. But since feb/march i do every 3 weeks a restweek because of doing more intensive rides during the week (FTP, Over/Unders etc). I feel that it is tough to do 3 weeks progressive work. First week went well, second week also, but i have problems with the 3 week…

Are there any benefits to do 2 weeks work and in the 3th week from monday till friday recovery? Are do i really need 3 weeks of work?

This. I spent 4 years paying attention to power-vs-HR and gave that data to my first coach in August 2020. We are going to do a field test soon, but have been doing all training based on power-vs-HR along with some max efforts at different durations (5-sec, 15-sec, 1-min, 2-min, 10-min).

There has been quite a bit of discussion on here that the 3/1 week structure is too much for some people, and especially for those a bit older. So you’re not alone in feeling that 3 weeks is too long. Just modify it

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Thanks. Maybe over 1 year it will go better…

Absolutely there are benefits, and you will likely be faster. I’m young and recover like a champ so I usually do 4 works on, 1 recovery week. I think a lot of people don’t pay attention to how they feel and just do the recovery week whenever it is scheduled, but it totally depends on how you feel.

I’ve experimented with full rest weeks, not as in, no bike riding at all for 7 days, but following the TrainerRoad method of all low-intensity rides of varying lengths. I feel flat, and I find that I probably don’t need THAT much rest, unless it’s a mid-season break…which I like to do before I start ramping up for cyclocross season.

I generally design my plans to be 3 on, 1 off, but instead of taking a full easy week on week 4 I might just take 2-3 days off completely in a row, rather than 7 days of easy riding. And if I’m feeling whacked I have no problems working in 2 days in a row w/o riding to freshen up.

Last week I rode Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and then took off Friday and Saturday (no bike) and then an easy recovery ride (45 min, 8TSS, 0.34 IF) on Sunday. I felt incredibly fresh and am smashing this week.

My current experience is that a regime with blocks of 3 weeks with intensity is on the high side for me (I am 48 years old). If there is too much else going on in my life, I tend to start fading seriously during the third week. On the other hand - as you - I don’t think I need an entire rest week to recover. After 3-4 easy days I feel like I am firing on all cylinders again.

Maybe I just need to get rid of the idea of using full weeks to plan training? Think I heard Seiler at some point, mentioning that full weeks were not always the optimal timeframe.

Also 3/1. For the rest week I need 1 workout with some kind of efforts - shorter intervals but some intenstiy. My best recovery week I had was 2 days off, 2x Z2 (2h), 2 active recovery and one z2 with some efforts on top. This week, due life I have done just 1 ride and my HR was through the roof. First 30 minutes were horrible. Tommorow I plan z2 with efforts to up my game a little bit (not to mention mental component, that causes me to belive that 1 ride in 4 days means my FTP is 100W less and I have lost all my fitness, but this is just my insecurity).

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I can’t do recovery weeks. I always end up having at least 2-3 easy weeks. Once out of the training flow, I find it really hard to get back. I do take recovery whenever I feel like I need it though, so for example if I still feel tired on Tuesday after a long Sunday ride, I’ll have Tuesday off as well as Monday. Thay way, I think I can keep fatigue under control and not need full weeks off.

Also, “life happens” often enough that makes me take more days off in a row. Whether that’s actual recovery is debatable though, usually its because of too much work or struggling with fatigue/illness. Last week for example I didn’t ride until Saturday, after having a strong reaction to the covid vaccine the Sunday before. So while that’s training time lost, I don’t think it helped with recovery either.

I never do a full restweek because for me is it to long. Always 5 recoverydays with a couple restdays (no riding) and Z1 rides with some efforts. I will try 2 weeks of work with 4 easy days between monday and tuesday.

A bit of an update. It’s been 8 weeks since my final Sweet Spot ride that concluded my extensive block. Which only had me build up to 1x60 @ 90%. Very modest, and very doable for almost anyone. I haven’t done anything sustained other than some 10, 12, 15 minute threshold workouts since then. Everything has been endurance, tempo or VO2max for the 4 weeks.

Went for a hard one today with a pal…Needless to say, the ability to sustain power has not diminished.

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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
Examples
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: )

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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?


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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:

image

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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