TrainerRoad SweetSpot, can I just do the same thing?

Hello, I just barely signed up for TrainerRoad and am looking at some of the Base plans. It seems to me that a lot of these sweetspot workouts are very similar in structure but with different names. Are these slightly changed up for the sake of putting the correct pressure on your body, or is it more due to keeping things changing since many use the plans on an indoor trainer (prevents boredom this way).

I guess my question is, could I see similar benefits by just doing the same 2-3 sweet spot intervals only changing the length of time? Apologies if this is a stupid question. I don’t mind doing the same workout over and over again, and am wondering how much training benefit I would lose if I just did the same few sweet spots at a different length each time.

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As I understand it the plans are made so that it gets just a bit more intense with each workout. Longer interval times and shorter recovery times mixed with intervals that keep getting closer to FTP. All to get your body used to the intensity getting higher. So yes, you could do the same thing over and over, just lengthening the intervals, but these plans aren’t just some random numbers thrown into the workouts.

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+1 on this.

I would follow the plan. Though they are all sweet spot, % of FTP changes. Sweet spot is a big range, and the workouts go up and down, in that range. It also increases duration to build fatigue, and reduces duration to allow some recovery.

Later workouts will go up to and over threshold.

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The basic structure of the plans is to increase TSS week over week, then rest then repeat the cycle all the while doing certain amounts of work in certain zones along the way.

There is no magic to the specific workouts themselves and you can do them differently and get the same results assuming you’re hitting the right zones. But by doing so you’re acting as your own coach and if you don’t know what you’re doing you can upset the plan. The magic is in how the workouts fit together, not the individual workouts.

Experienced folks can usually pull off some workout substitution without disaster but if you are relatively new to structured training, stick to the plan and learn how this all works first before you go of on your own.

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You’re not far off as a lot of the workouts are very similar but it’s how you piece them together that makes the difference.
The idea of the TR plans is to let the software take care of the coaching side for you, but depending on experience you can create your own and experiment and see what works for you and your goals.

The way I see SS (from the High Volume perspective), the plan progresses in a number of ways

  1. Interval length - first workout you do 12min intervals and by the end they go up to 20 (30mins if you count the ones with little rest intervals like Wright Peak -1 and -2)
  2. Time in zone increase - first workout goes from 36mins of time in the sweet spot zone to 90mins by the end of SSB1 HV
  3. Gradually reducing rest time - in week one you’ve got Hunter, which are 20min intervals, but you get reaaallly generous 15min breaks, by the time you get to Galena +3 it’s 20mins with 5min rest.

It’s not overly complex, but clearly Coach Chad thought through this stuff really carefully. The plans build you up gradually and the recovery weeks help to scale back the stress balance to be ready to attack another phase.

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I suppose my question to the OP would be…why? The plan is laid out for you so don’t over think it and just follow it. What is the benefit of your suggested approach?

That’s a good question. I don’t really have any reason why I would and I can’t think of any reason behind it. I was mainly just curious about how so many of them looked very similar, if this was for the sake of keeping things interesting, for training and stress (TSS) purposes, or something else

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Thanks everyone for the replies. Now that I think more about it , seems like a concern I don’t really need to have, but one that had definitely made me curious. I think the fact that I looked at the base plan and saw so many similarities just made me wonder what the difference was. If this is for TSS purposes, for keeping things interesting, etc. I had suspicions that perhaps there doesn’t need to be much different between the sweet spots as long as it’s giving the proper load and recovery.

Thanks to STP, Dave, hubcyclist, iamholland, PhydomiR for the info

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FWIW I was listening to a cycling podcast (not TR) and they were talking to a couple pro cyclists who said they only have about 5 basic workouts they do during an entire season. They very what they do when as the season progresses as well as the number of intervals and the length of their rides a bit, but if you know what you are doing or have a coach do it for you, you can train very well with a pretty simple set of "tools’ a/k/a workouts.

But the key is knowing what you are doing!

That’s very interesting, and a great point. I remember reading I believe through Bicycling.com , where they had a few sample interval sessions and someone commented, “Brand new article, same stale workouts you’ve published for years. How about something fresh for a change? C’mon, you can do better.”
The reply was, “These are pretty good intervals. Sometimes simple is better… why do you want something new and complex? You’re just going to get lost keeping track of your workout.”

Which like you say is just a matter of knowing what you’re doing and putting the correct intervals and repetitions in the right order within your macro training plan.

Thanks for that note STP, the good thing I guess is that if we don’t know what we’re doing, we have Chad and TR to do it for us :smiley:

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Chad’s plans are made for the average or bell curve fitting cyclist. In general, they will fit the average rider pretty well without much modification.

Are you average?

Have you been riding 1 or 10 years or some other number?
Are you over or under weight? (Meaning might you want to put yourself in a caloric deficit while doing a plan).
Are you old or young?
Do you sleep well or sleep poorly?
How is your diet?
Do you tolerate intensity well or poorly?
Do you tolerate volume well or poorly?

All of these variables matter to how each plan will impact you as a rider. I used the TR plans to get back into shape this year and they worked well. After time, the intensity started to wear on me and the workouts became more of a source of frustration and dread than anything.

I have been doing exactly what you describe, using one sweet spot workout (Tallac +1 with shortened recovery periods) 2 or 3 times a week. My ability to ride tempo for long distances is dramatically improved and my FTP has taken a nice step higher after hitting a plateau.

Looking at my list above I just didn’t tolerate the intensity as well towards the end of the plan(s) as I did in the beginning and it put a match to the burnout fuse. Rather than following that path I backed off the plans and V02 max work (which I’m getting racing) and have really enjoyed the structured training even though it doesn’t follow a plan.

Hope that helps

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This does indeed help. Thanks for the kind and detailed reply! I’ll consider those questions you put down and see how it can relate to my TR plans and if I might need any variability of sorts.
Thanks again for the reply, it’s very appreciated

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I haven’t used TR plans in a long while, but one of the things I do also only involve a handful of workouts. I find I need more recovery than TR offers.

Though TDS builds every week, I find 2 week build and 1 week taper works best for me. Also during the build we have micro rests. Sure rest days, but I may do something like this, 2x20@97%, 3x5@105%, 1x30@94%, etc. alternating and reordering in a way that I get 2 days of build and 1 day of recovery, etc. I workout 7 days a week, 2x a day, so it’s important, that if I do a 2x20 in the morning, my evening workout might just be a 1x30 so that it is not as hard and I can punch out a 140+tss day. The next day may be a 3x5@105 and then a 1x20@90, low cadence, workout.

Basically hard days and easy days and some recovery now and then. My FTP hasn’t increased much, I actually haven’t tested in 6 months, but I can hold threshold much longer now. I just bump workout % higher and when I reach a point I’ll twiddle ftp up. I’m at 104% for workouts now.

Damn that’s impressive :+1:t4:

Wait…what?! 1x30@94% = recovery day?

:thinking:

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No, didn’t mean to imply that’s a recovery. That’s just an example of varying time and intensity.

I worded it incorrectly, but it was a possible list with a “reordering in a way” to get 2 days + 1 recovery.

On a build week, a hard day for me would be the 2x20@97 + 1x30@94. Next day would be a 3x5@105 and a 1x20@90. Third day would be a recovery day with something like a 1x15@90 + 1x25@60. It varies.

I saw that in Today’s Plan that had sample Trek Segafredo workouts. Only looked at a handful but did make me believe that training really is simple. Like it was classic 2x20 z4 and 5x5 z5 workouts. Made me laugh really, don’t need the kitchen sink at workouts with a crazy mix of zones and durations.

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You wouldn’t lose a lot of benefit even if you didn’t vary the duration. You’ll get at least 80% of the way there by doing structured training with consistency. If you are using reasonable zones and durations for your goals, you’ll get even closer. On the other hand, there’s some small amount of benefit to be derived from building up the stress over time, from incorporating the form drills and cadence variations, and so on.

TrainerRoad would be remiss to not provide that, but it’s not going to be the difference between whether you get faster or don’t get faster. It might yield a small additional gain over time, that’s all.

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Thanks Matthew for the detailed reply, I appreciate it