Traditional Base vs Sweet Spot Base

Shooting for a 70.3 A-race next July. Per a recent reddit thread that someone shared, the TR official reddit account recommended doing Traditional base and then following through with Tri Base,build, specialty.

Here’s the quote i’m referencing:

I’m trying to understand the benefit of doing a traditional base over sweet spot? Does sweetspot have too much TSS? What are the benefits of Traditioanl Base vs Sweetspot in this (or any) context?


From my understanding, you need to do more hours on the bike in traditional base to reap the same benefits as slightly less time on the sweet spot plan. If you have 10+ hours a week then the slow and steady approach will allow you to really grow your lower end aerobic base efficiency, which I imagine would be great for an triathlete since you shouldn’t need to handle massive surges in power output during your bike leg.

Sweet spot can create the same base aerobic efficiency in less time by working with a slightly higher percentage of ftp. I’m not sure if there is a different recommendation for triathletes but according to the app the sweet spot base is recommended for most cyclist.

From listening to the podcast I would be surprised if for a 70.3 traditional base would be the better route. With swim and run you will struggle for the hours that the higher volume traditional base requires. Someone with more knowledge may come along and tell me I’m wrong of course.

Agreed. I would think a sweet spot or the half distance triathlon base would probably be best. (In my inexperienced opinion haha)

Yeah, I’m not certain it’s the best route either. Especially because I’m planning on doing the low Volume… I’ll try to post to the podcast and see what comes up.

I’m in the same situation.
Since I’m doing my own thing swiming and running, I was thinking in doing first a SS Base instead of a Half Tri Base.

I did my first 70.3 this year in July after starting with TR in Nov 17’. I did low volume SSB I & II, Half Distance Tri Base, Build, and Specialty.

Hindsight being 20/20, I would not follow that progression again. The SSB I & II was great but following it with Tri Base felt to easy and I felt like I wasted 8 weeks of different training stimulus that could have grown my FTP further. I did enjoy the HIM Build and Specialty though.

If I had to do it over again with the same amount of time, I would do Century Specialty (currently on this plan and it alot of sweet spot and tempo & great for training to push the pedals hard for a good amount of time), SSB I & II, HIM Build and Specialty. Just my 2 cents.

Good luck in your training!


I agree that HIM base would be lower stress than used to. I am considering how this can be better adapted if one starts with SSB I & II. Maybe following SSB with Sustained Power Build then 1-2 wk low/rest for recuperation and off to HIM Build/Spec?

Other opinions are welcome!


@BrianHardin & @schmidt
It sounds like you both completed the low volume half plans. I was thinking about doing the Low Volume Base/Build/Specialty, but I have always done long rides over 3 hours when training for a 70.3 race. The longest ride peaks at 1hr45min (I think). Did you feel prepared for the distance?

Good info on the traditional vs sweet spot base, thanks!

@bfrostieone I was completely prepared for the 70.3 distance. There was plenty of work done at 90 - 95% that prepared me for the steady state work at 80 - 85%. I did a couple 2 hr rides outside, but that was more for bike handling skills and getting mentally adjusted to variable terrain and wind conditions. If you have the time, I would do Sweet Spot Base I & II in place of the triathlon base. I think that style base just worked better at getting me to push the pedals harder for longer.

If you are doing low volume you should almost certainly be doing sweet spot base. Traditional base at low and even medium volume is not enough.

Think of the base options as: Sweet Spot Base Low, Sweet Spot Base Medium, Sweet Spot Base High, or Traditional Base High.

Traditional base low and medium are for special circumstances only (very new cyclists, recovering from injury, etc)


I think the key is that it was trying to fill a longer period of time (40 weeks). For that kind of cycle, more base is better than an extended build or peaking phase. On top of that, traditional base makes sense from two perspectives: avoiding having too long a training period with lots of intensity (much like avoiding a double build phase, a double sweet spot phase could be too much), and taking advantage of the extended period to build more kinds of fitness.

That reddit thread eventually leads back to this article from TR that says something similar:

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I am 2 weeks away from finishing SSBII low volume, and getting ready to switch to HIM plan. Very interested in your observation and the reduction in TSS
When you did SSBII low volume (244TSS) then did you go to HIM low volume (237TSS)?
If so do you think you would have gotten more out of HIM mid volume base (299TSS)?
Or do you still think replacing HIM Build low volume with SSBII low volume is a better choice?

thanks for your input