Sweet Spot Progression

Thanks for sharing - always interesting to see others’ schedules for some ideas :grinning:


Or if you’re me, interesting to see how little I ride/train compared to others



A young man’s folly :rofl:.

I know you jest :wink:.

I really think it’s a dangerous thing that I’ve seen a lot of, especially when I was a bit younger. You have to have exceptionally thick skin/high self confidence. Otherwise you’ll inevitably be jealous of people’s time to train, or natural gifts/genetics.

Up until a few weeks ago when I left my full-time job to focus on building my coaching business, I rode 5 days a week and between 8-10 hours, usually 450-500 TSS, so this volume is new for me, too! First week I did 13hrs and 630 TSS, then fell off and allergies hit me like a truck last week. So again, this isn’t my normal… yet. :slight_smile:

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Without races, here’s how I would schedule 16/5 for myself. YMMV:

Interval - Long - Recovery Ride/Rest - Interval - Long - maintenance Z2/Z3/neuro - recovery ride - Interval - Long ride - rest day - Interval - Long ride - maintenance Z2/Z3/neuro - recovery ride - Interval - Long Ride

Start recovery week: rest day - recovery ride - recovery ride/rest day depending on feeling - low Z2 + openers - Z2 + short duration testing…

…into work weeks. Long duration PDC testing would go in one of the work week interval sessions.

Build the long rides out to 4hrs each, interval sessions are 90 minutes+, intervals 20-45 min then Z2 before or after depending on goals, maintenance/neuro ride 1-3 hours, recovery no more than 1hr.

I could definitely see scenarios where riders who are not growing volume (as I am) would be able to add an additional interval session, but obviously THAT depends on what types of intervals we’re talking about, too.

I’ve always struggled with the TR rest week approach of a week of just short z2 work. Looking at some other plans they all had some form of reduced volume intensity

This last week I tried something a little different and had rest days Sun-Wed and had 2 days completely off the bike and just did a couple of short walks, day 3 was Goddard -4 openers and then a day with 1 hr easy endurance Colosseum -4. So only 4 days effectively.

It seemed to work well as I smashed my hardest o/u session yet on my first day back and feel good. This was after 3 weeks ‘on’ based on 2 hard days a week and as much z2/low z3 volume as I can accumulate around it. For context I’m 51 but dont work much.

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In general I think TR’s recovery weeks (at least in their old canned plans) are/were too hard. But you could say that about every part of their old plans… The design was simply increase TSS incrementally and then decrease it one week, rather than putting much thought into actually structuring proper recovery.

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This weekend I did a 3x60min session with 15min in between. Goal was 3 times Alpe du Zwift @90%. Managed to do 1u00.50, 1u00.34 and again 1u00.50 (last 2k some upcoming cramp otherwise could have gone under 1hour). But felt good. Good aerobic climb training :wink:


Why not just do the other 5 and a half for V-everesting? Quitter. :laughing:

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Then it would not be posted in the sweetspot progression topic Kurt ;-).
But maybe one day. Who knows. When I really lost al my mind I would do a V-Everest attempt :grin:

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All right, that time of year is rapidly approaching again…

I am about 10 weeks into base endurance training. I’ve hit my volume target, but now as I progress aerobic threshold time and want to add some tempo work, I’m coming to the conclusion that I just can’t sustain an extensive threshold block right now. I’m OK right now, but I recognize enough to know that week after week of 700+ TSS for me is too much to hold for more than a few weeks.

I am also not doing the October TT I had originally planned so my need to push threshold duration in the near term is gone.

So… I’m going to “step back”, maintain volume, and reduce my intensity a bit with extensive sweet spot intervals for my next 3-week block. My goal will be to get out to 90 minutes, which I’ve done in the past. As before, I will be pretty aggressive about it since this is my third such block in training and I’m handling volume well. Where I progress threshold by no more than 10% per session (max, so 40 → 44min for example), I’m starting at 3x20 @ 90% and will essentially progress to 90 minutes in three or four workouts (60-75-80-90, might skip the 80). After that, if I continue progressing sweet spot extensively into the next block, I will slow the progression but push out to two hours. I won’t go beyond the 2-hour mark, and if I go out there, it might be unstructured in a longer ride where I am to sweet spot longer climbs. We have a pretty steady 30-35 minute climb here that I could even do repeats on if I wanted to.

The other new intro here is that if I do these on the trainer, I’m going to be in the TT position, so I’ll have to be cognizant of the added stress and potentially even dial the power down 5-10% since I’m not well-adapted to that position. This will be one hell of a way to do that.

So, overall, aiming for consistency, building TiZ, doing the additional tempo and aerobic threshold work alongside this, then wrapping up this block and moving back to extensive threshold work once I drop the intensity of the “off” sessions.

I really liked carrying the threshold intensity while building volume and keeping almost all of my long rides in the low 0.6s IF, with little additional work above 0.7, but I think I’m in for overcooking if I keep 80-120 minutes of threshold in along with adding relatively short tempo sessions and a bit of aerobic threshold into the long rides. This seems a reasonable compromise.

In December 2021, I did my progression in about a month, and simultaneously progressed my long rides out to 4hrs and aerobic threshold riding out to 2 hour sessions before going tempo and progressing that. Obviously my training has changed quite a bit since then as my volume is up almost 50% overall.

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As a separate discussion topic, I have a few of my athletes about to start a sweet spot progression as well. One of them is new to structured training and struggles to get through 5x5 at threshold (I know… and yes, I am about 95% certain his threshold is not overestimated… this is a mental toughness thing, IMO). SO I’m starting HIM at a 3x10 at 90%, and progressing him as I would progress a threshold set for others (conservatively and very slowly).

Meanwhile, I have a masters athlete who’s going to start at 3x20 and move quickly. Training is very individual, so keep that in mind as you peruse this 2600 post thread… what worked for someone else may not work well or be the right prescription for YOU.


I’m curious….Would you have a XC MTB racer do one of these SS progressions?

Probably, yes. Base training for most of us is similar. “It’s an aerobic sport, dammit!” But that can depend on overall volume, too. Even then, at higher volume, you might do a more tempoish progression than true SST, but it all blends together anyway.

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Struggling to get through traditional 5x5 VO2 intervals is one thing, but 5x5 at threshold :thinking: How exactly is his threshold being estimated?

were you actually thinking of jumping over extensive tempo/SS and going straight to threshold?

Based on having done quite a bit of threshold work the past few months, I was just going to keep going with it, but took a step back and looked at my overall plan and it didn’t make any sense once I dropped the fall TT and now have zero events coming until January.

PDC testing, and I’m being conservative with it at that. There could still be some trainer setup or lack of cooling or erg mode/death spiral issues here, too. This is why athlete feedback is important… some really get that, others it’s more challenging.

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What did your 10 weeks of base look like? I’m assuming not all just Z2 if you were throwing in some threshold as well? When in one’s season would you recommend a sweetspot block?

My A event is at the end of April. I’m tempted to do some sweetspot now just because I enjoy it and it helps on my local routes…I’m a bigger guy and need some power/muscular endurace for climbing. Definitely don’t want to do too much, too early though.


My typical planned week:

M: Short threshold intervals (20 - 30 minutes TiZ) + Z2 1-2hrs
T: Long ride, .6 IF 3-5hrs
W: Neuromuscular or AeT work (~.7IF) for 60-90min
R: Recovery ride (.4IF for up to an hour)
F: Short threshold intervals (same)
Sa: Long ride (same)
Su: Off

I did progress duration of the threshold work, and then the last couple of weeks expanded beyond 32 minutes out to 36 and 40, last workout was a standard 2x20. Threshold has gone up about 15 watts by feel (but would need confirmation testing for that).

I’m out to 14+ hours consistently and managing that fatigue pretty well. I did 700TSS last week. Up around 400 this week already and will probably end up about 800. Those will be my two biggest weeks, but it was planned that way as I’m headed to Maui with the family next week. Otherwise, my typical weeks were closer to 600TSS for reference.

I was watching my EF and decoupling on long rides, using those as keys for when to progress duration. In addition I’m paying attention to my aerobic TIS impulse. I don’t plan around it, but I can sustain quite a bit of work when I keep things like aerobic TIS 7 or 8, anaerobic TIS at 1.

I’m pretty gassed right now, but a big part of that was overdoing Monday’s ride, which became nearly 3 hours with 2x20 threshold in there (for reference AeTIS was 7 and AnTIS was 7 as well… those are usually going to make me pretty tired!), and the following that with a 4:15 ride on Tuesday. As was mentioned elsewhere, part of the problem riding threshold with high volume is it can be a knife’s edge, so the SST progression gives me a bit more latitude as I’m entering my heavy lifting phase for the next four weeks too.

FInally, I was doing 5 weeks on - 1 week off for those two cycles. Now that my volume is up and I’m doing a bit more aerobic intensity, I’ll switch back to 3-1 cycles.

Planning sweet spot and some tempo in this block, then will switch back and start with an extensive threshold block in late October, likely at a higher FTP value.

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