Sweetspot base over other VO2 Max / threshold

I’ve been cycling for a couple of years now. Most of my on road cycling has been in quite hilly terrain where I’m typically either going full bore up hills up or costing downhill at 45kmh down but much flat. As a result I don’t seem to have much endurance / base fitness. The biggest improvements I’ve had were following a cycling holiday where I covered about 600km in 7 days, but unfortunately lost a chunk of it with time off with 2 nasty colds and covid over a 10 week period (awful).

I signed up for TR 3 weeks ago and set for a Road Climbing Race event (doing a 210km / 3500m ascent ride in June next year). Last 3 weeks of sweetspot, all indoors, but today managed a ride outside as we have cyclable weather here. What an astonishing difference! Really felt able to sustain power around & over my FTP for longer and am not tiring as easily on the bike.

I see that after the 6 week block I go onto Theshold and VO2 Max training more. Given how much I’ve benefitted from just 3 weeks, I was thinking of just doing another sweetspot base block.

Any thoughts on this?

Why not use Plan Builder and put in your event date, and see what it suggests? Given its June it will no doubt repeat some or all of the Base blocks, but will do it in a planned way with the Build and Specialist work.

As @Bigpikle has suggested, throwing your event into plan builder is a great option, and will probably get you the best outcome.

If you’re hesitant to do that, or just like setting up your own blocks, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with repeating SSBI. However, you might be better off doing SSBI, SSBII, then repeating SSBI, to give yourself some more variety.

Depending on the volume of training you are doing, the lower volumes of SSB add in quite a bit more threshold and VO2 work, simply because that’s the most time-efficient training. Sure, adding in more hours of sweet spot work is better, but if you’ve only got 3.5h/week to train, the higher-intensity work will make sure you doing plateau after your ‘newbie gainz’. (It sounds like you are having a phenomenal improvement primarily because you’ve started structured training, instead of ‘just riding’.)

I did do the plan builder and after the 6 week base, I have what looks like 1 VO2 Max, 1 threshold and 1 sweetspot every week. Currently doing low volume 3.5 hours of indoor, but this week it’ll be more like 6 with the outdoor ride.

Sounds like maybe its best to stick with the plan and see how things go.

Another question… I live at sea level. We have a 2 week holiday at 1700m… so when I get back I’m going to have a lot more VO2 capacity - how should I deal with this on TR? Ramp test on return and train off that? But what about over 3 -4 weeks as I lose the additional capacity?

After a couple of weeks, you’ll probably (just) be acclimatized to the altitude, but I’d be surprised if the VO2 max benefits when returning to SL would be overly large (however, you could be a super-responder).

I would just carry on with your pre-trip FTP and see how it goes.