Sweetspot Is Harder Than Vo2 Max?

I’m getting really frustrated.

I’m trying to finish SSB2 LV and I don’t seem to be able to handle 10min 8min or even 6min efforts. I’ve failed 4 of the last 5 sweetspot/threshold workouts, but I can finish the +1 versions of 30x30 or 60x60 Vo2 Max workouts consistently. I’m already on the low volume plan, so I’m getting plenty of days off. I sleep very well. I’m staying on top of my nutrition/fueling. My FTP has improved over the base period, but that just means I fail at a higher number each time. lol.

Maybe I’m predisposed to doing well at short repeated efforts. Is there some way I can backtrack these SS workouts to a manageable level to help them catch up? The plans call for longer and longer efforts with shorter rests as the weeks progress, but what if the first one isn’t manageable? I just tried Jepson at 97% and turned it down to 95% and still failed on the second interval.

Would it be feasible to DIY a sweetspot workout with 3 min intervals totaling the same cumulative amount of SS time, then make a 3.5min interval workout, then a 4min interval workout, and so on? Because bailing on a workout does no good and is somewhat demoralizing, and turning a sweetspot interval down to 80% isn’t going to derive the benefit I’m looking for.

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Check out the minus versions of Carson and Garrowby. They have short sweetspot intervals in the few min range. Maybe try the -3 versions of each, then -2, then -1 and see if that helps you work your way up?

And read “How bad do you want it.” That helped me get comfortable being uncomfortable. :slight_smile:


You could certainly use the Custom Build App/Tool to create your own bespoke Sweet Spot workout. It’s simple to use and it might help you break this pattern.

Out of interest, are you using a smart trainer and which ring are you in?

@dmartinjr518 When was your last Ramp Test (or assessment)?

Part of the reason I ask is that despite the name, the second part of Sweet Spot Base Plan actually has very little Sweet Spot work. Those are threshold workouts. They’re supposed to be hard. I realize we can be splitting hairs when it comes to discussing zones, but I’m just saying the SS workouts in Part 1 are much more toward the 88% FTP end. These are in the mid to upper 90% of FTP and/or longer in duration.

No smart trainer. No matter the ring, I usually spin at around 90rpm, although I have tried everything from 80 to 105. My breathing never even feels very taxed, but my muscles just can’t keep up the steady power.

I’ve tested within the last 3 weeks.

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  • were you able to complete Gieger and Eclipse from SSB1LV ? ( if not then think your FTP is maybe too high)
  • If you did, then did your ramp test at start of SSB2LV increase our FTP ( If yes then your FTP is maybe too high)
  • Is your turbo power or virtual profile match ?
  • temperature can make a sizeable difference to turbo if not calibrated ?

I assume that you’re basing your FTP on the Ramp Test? If your VO2Max is a higher percent of your FTP than a normal rider (i.e. you’re relatively good at VO2Max compared to longer efforts), then - I think - the Ramp Test is probably overestimating your FTP. From your description, it sounds like you couldn’t hold your tested FTP for anywhere close to an hour - am I extrapolating correctly?

My guess is that for anything less intense than VO2Max intervals, you’ve got to lower your FTP (or just turn down the intensity) significantly. [Edit: by ‘significantly’, I expect like 95% or maybe even 90% - I’d be really surprised if you had to go all the way to 80%] If you don’t want to make such ad hoc adjustments, perhaps doing the 20 minute or 8 minute FTP tests will give you results that are better guides to your sustainable power.


@timpenylong @dmartinjr518 I would add one more to what @timpenylong has outlined: did you properly fuel the workout?

Also, you shouldn’t have to turn down all the way to 80% to complete those intervals. I have had to turn threshold workouts down at the most 5% or maybe some back spins. If I need to go any further, then something is up. (FTP to high, didn’t fuel workout, too much cumulative fatigue, tech issues). Also, I use how much I have to turn it down from one workout to the next to judge how much my FTP might be off.

I think what @mcsenn is saying is very valid and is what I regularly do. But I would not recommend jumping straight to that conclusion until you rule some other things out.

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If you take brief breaks (5-10s) and get back in? If so just take them as needed and plow along. You’ll build the muscular endurance required for the longer intervals as you go along.

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You should be able to do over an hour of sweet spot. Some workouts like Phoenix+1 are just that. The fact that you struggle 6 min is alarming. Even if your FTP is 10% too high, you’re doing threshold instead of SS; you should be able to do 6 min of that.

Something makes no sense. Are you using virtual power or a PM? Also which trainer do you have?

Yeah, there’s no chance I could hold my ramp FTP for an hour. Maybe I need to try a 20min test.

Short breaks and backspins do nothing to breathe any life back into my legs once they are cooked.

I’m using the one sided Vector 2 pedals and a Kinetic Road Machine fluid trainer. I zero the meters through the PC app before every workout.

Most people can’t unless they train for it. Think of it as a benchmark to work off rather than your actual ‘hour power’

I have the exact same issue in SSB2LV

90+% intervals are painful and demoralizing, like pedaling through peanut butter for 10 minutes. If I’ve had a stressful day it’s hard to get into the mindset to endure the leg pain.

VO2 feels awesome, however. Painful, but I don’t have to backspin at all. Sometimes I turn the intensity up.

If you figure it out let me know :joy:

I’m trying to finish SSB2 LV and I don’t seem to be able to handle 10min 8min or even 6min efforts.

If you are in ERG mode try the bigger chainring and see if it makes a different.

Maybe your still tired on the Thursday after doing +1 on the Tuesday? Have you watched the podcast about why SS is so hard? Some great info and advice on it.

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It’s not so hard (or harder than VO2) but it sure is so sweaty!!! Wtf?!! :face_with_raised_eyebrow::sweat::sweat::sweat:

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Sorry I don’t get it? Was just trying to help the person asking the question, guess I won’t bother now.

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Some days if my head is not in it, I can find sweetspot intervals a drag and they feel harder than VO2 max intervals where I don’t have time to think. Other days though it feels like I could go on indefinitely in the sweetspot :thinking: