Sweet Spot Progression

Now you’re getting into ventilatory thresholds, which are totally different from LT (LT1, LT2, etc.). But using VT1, below which your breathing is very controlled, you can talk relatively normally, as a guide for RPE is a good move. I do it all the time. Conversation-paced riding and running is the epitome of zone 2 (as long as it’s above recovery pace, that is… you should notice some difference from resting to working). You can get a sentence out without gasping, but you need to take a break from talking to breathe far more often than standing around chit-chatting…

Most people aren’t going to see a noticable difference in their breathing when HR goes up a few beats at the end of a long ride like that. Your body is getting plenty of oxygen into the lungs, but HR is going up to increase the supply of oxygen to the working muscles as they deplete glycogen stores and increase aerobic demand. So your ability to take in air (and uptake oxygen to the blood) and remove CO2 from the blood isn’t the limiting factor, thus your breathing rate doesn’t need to increase.

Again, that’s a sloppy description, but close enough for coaching work.

There are discreet ventilatory thresholds where if you learn to monitor your breathing, you can get a really good idea of your exertion. Like HR, it’s time-late, but for steady state it really works well.

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Agree, I loathe the trainer for Z2 rides, but they are very effective… As you said, between the first and third hour is this no-man’s land where I question life decisions…


This is something I’ve noticed as my base-level fitness has increased. In my first year of riding my breathing rate would be all over the place. However, as fitness increased and more focused work was doing breathing rate is something that has really come under control, even when riding @ LT or doing O/U’s. It’s really only during VO2 work when I’m noticing a major shift. Yes.

Even 2 hours into a hard tempo or sweet spot ride respiration doesn’t really increase from baseline, despite average HR steadily rising over the course of the ride.


I have this interesting thing that when I ride at threshold, my breathing rate is sort of oscillating - for a bit, it’s still controlled, then it goes to be rapid and more gasping for a minute, then it goes back to calm for a bit, etc. Power and HR doesn’t really change, and I’m not doing these breathing changes deliberately.

You’re going across VT2. Happens. Usually once you cross VT2, you stay there, rather than going back below, until you reduce intensity.

So I tried out a workout today, it was 3x25 @ 87%. I felt good and ended up doing 1x80. This is with an FTP I got using a ramp test, my FTP is 80% of my 5min power. The races I am targeting next year are MAX 2 hour, mostly 1 hour crits. How would you guys suggest I structure SST/VO2/FTP blocks over the winter? I was planning 8wks SST, 2wk Vo2 + FTP test, 4wk Threshold, repeat. I didnt think I had 80mins in me, and tbh I could have gone longer, maybe 100mins? But time constrained so SST will be limited to ~2hrs max.

Very nice! What I would do is perform a TTE test prior to starting your Sweet Spot block, this will give you a good reference point from which to progress from. If doing mostly crits, or 60-120 min races I like a progression that builds to 150% of your TTE.

Say you your TTE is 60-min, make your Sweet Spot progress out to 90-min. You could do 120 min, but then you run into possible time constraints. Of course you could go longer, but your event demands determine your approach.

How you structure your winter is dependent on A) how long it is B) when your first important race is

I would prefer more than 8 weeks of SS, maybe 12…don’t rush it. Then assess FTP. Maybe it went up? Then you could decide if a block of threshold work is better than VO2.

That’s what I was planning to do, something along the lines of the Kolie Moore baseline test. The ramp test was only 2 weeks ago so I didn’t think I had 1x80 in me; I’m wondering how I could stretch a SS block to 12 weeks, I was planning 2xSS sessions a week (1st would be 2x30, 2nd would be 1x60 for example, then up the TiZ week on week by 10-15mins) with Z2 making up the rest of the hours, the odd 3x5 Vo2 and sprint or cadence drill to keep things sharp. Only needing ~2hours TTE means I would get there pretty quick with 2/wk SST.

I am impatient and will probably end up peaking by Xmas :smiley: But seriously, would like to be sharp by May, but I’ve found I can happily add anaerobic and sprint power in-season.

I would progress sweet spot duration out to the length of your goal races in winter, then focus on pushing higher power. So I knew my longest race I cared about would be about 90min this season, I progressed out to 1x90 at 90%, then bumped power up in some 3x30s and such, introduce threshold and over/under work from there.

This coming offseason I plan to work up to 2hrs TiZ in prep for Cat 2 racing sometime in 2022.

Should go without saying this doesn’t apply to something like Belgian Waffle Ride or something. I think FasCat coaching doesn’t even recommend anything beyond 2.5 hrs, maybe 3 he TiZ in a single workout for Ironman athletes., and they’re usually on the high end of SST prescription.

That’s my suggestion, anyway…

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I’m surprised how fast RPE drops with FTP work

24 july i started with 2x10 100% FTP. RPE high.
27 july 3x10 100% FTP (Same RPE but now i could go 3x)
1 aug 2x15 100% FTP
9 aug again 2x15 100% and RPE a way lower than 1-8.

Next time i try 3x15


Hi guys,

I am currently in my Sweet Spot progression and I did last week 300 min TiZ @90%. I varied from 3x20, 2x30, 3x30 etc.

When do you guys see an increase in FTP? do you evaluate this by doing another ftp test, or based on the heart rate, or just how easy it feels?
For example If 100 min TiZ SS @90% feels easy, do you would increase wattage or TiZ?
So in my case, would you extend TiZ to go over 300min / week, or increase wattage?

I would see how around 150% TTE feels in one workout. So for example, if your TTE is 60min and you can do 90min at 95% you can re test your FTP.

So try to do 3x30 → 2x45 → 1x90…

What are you training for?

As I mentioned, a good measure I’ve seen in a couple of places is train SST in single workouts such that TiZ is around the expected duration of the event. Once you can satisfy that, push the power higher with either higher SST, threshold work, or both.

In the WKO lecture series, Tim encourages up to 200% of TTE. So for me with a 37:00 FTP at my shiny new FTP, I could work up to 75 min. That’s a reasonable number based on the events I have left on my calendar, but in the long view of racing Cat 2 next season, I probably need to work towards 90min to 2hrs for a single session.

For me, seeing a TTE of about an hour at threshold is plenty good enough. I’ve done one straight hour effort at threshold, but it’s not something I routinely test. In base, I was doing the KM TTE tests out to 40-45 min, but more recently I’ve just been testing my normalized residuals, which usually includes something in the neighborhood of a 15-25min MMP test every few weeks.

As always, the answer is “it depends”.

300min @ 90%…you’ve likely hit a point where its time to move on from extensive aerobic to intensive aerobic and start hammering threshold efforts for a bit.
You could continue to work SST but you’re at a level of diminishing returns.

Like others have said, aim for 150-200% TTE depending on race length, then move to intensive (threshold) and get that to 100-125% TTE dependent on race length, before cranking VO2.

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It’s remarkable how RPE decreases as your lactate shuttling improves. Some of the work I’m doing now would have me on the floor 2 seasons ago. Not because of anything other than just an under developed ability to move lactate.

Last week I kicked off a 3-week block focused on over-unders and started conservative @ 3x12 with 1-minute overs at 350-380w and 2-minute unders at 260-280w. It was definitely hard, but doable. This week I bumped that up to 4x12 with the same wattage targets and nailed it.

That’s rather hefty. Out of curiosity, what events are you targeting that would ask you to do 2 hours of FTP work in a single session, not doubting, just curious.

To me, this would indicate something is either going on with FTP (going up) or your becoming very well adapted at riding @ 90% of FTP. How long has your Sweet Spot progression lasted? It might be time to throw a different stimulus at your body. Again, it depends on where you are in the season and what your event demands are.

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2 hrs of Sweet Spot at 90%, not strictly FTP work. Sorry if I wasn’t clear.

Remember, my long term goal here is Kona qualification, so I’ll go well beyond 2 hours of SST in a single session eventually. I got up to 1x90 this season, and have done several 90 min sessions in base and in-season, so 2 hrs is a slow progression along those lines.

Longest race I’ve done this season was right at 90 min and I was strong at the end. Racing in P,1,2 fields or even Masters 1,2 fields the races are all longer than the current 3s and 4s I’ve been doing this season, so 2hrs will be my goal in Base, and then I will see if want to sustain that in season or drop it back to 90min max sessions.

Ironman—beastly. Yes, I remember. Long SS is your bread and butter then.

If you have goal events of 3-5 hour length, would there be any benefit to doing a tempo progression out to 3+ hrs prior to doing a SS progression? Or just go to SS progression and know you can’t get near your goal event duration?

Personally would go SS progression. My extensive phases this year usually featured two SST workouts and a sustained tempo session (along with two purely Z2 - one short and one long ride). I never took the tempo beyond 90min, same length as my longest SST sessions. My focus was on progressing time at sweet spot first and foremost.

If tempo is specific to your race, (e.g. Ironman) then there could be benefit to doing it, but I don’t think you would need/want to do it before embarking on a sweet spot progression.

Honestly I am in the first week…:smiley: I did my INSCYD with the result of 288W FTP (66.3 VO2max, 0,63 VLAmax). Recommondation was to build up my endurance and bring VLAmax a little bit down to increase FTP.
Today I will do 2x50min and will see how it feels (260W, 90%).

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