Winter Training

Hi All

After all our cycle events were cancelled this year I thought I would start my winter training early and try to springboard my fitness for next year.

Last year I just worked through the Trainer Road Sweet Spot phases 1 and 2 and then moved onto sustained power.
My max heart rate is between 195-199bpm and I am 45 years old.
Sweet Spot work had my heart rate at between 170-185bpm so although it was sweet spot, my heart rate was right up towards my top end. Under overs absolutely killed me!

I had a fitness assessment done about 7 years ago by a physiologist who told me I started producing lactate at a low heart rate as I had no base fitness, (at the time the only cardio I did was high intensity training on a Cross Trainer at the gym so this wasn’t too unexpected).

My training days are:
Mon - Try to do an hour turbo mind afternoon
Tues - 5.30am turbo for 90 mins
Wed - Day off
Thurs - 5.30am turbo for 90 mins
Fri - 60-90 min turbo mid morning
Sun - Outside ride 2-3 hours

I was thinking of using the early morning rides as fasted Zone 2 work, the Mon and Fri as Sweet Spot (using TR) and the Sunday as a longer Z2 with some harder efforts thrown in (probably hills).

I have no idea if this is an effective use of my 6-8 hours training per week and cannot afford a cycle coach. However, each year I just seem to end up with the same FTP and feel like I am going round in circles.

Any thoughts would be hugely appreciated.


This kind of makes me think that your FTP is over stated. Sweet spot shouldn’t be so hard unless you are always going for 97%.


I started to get that feeling too.
Doing two sweet spot sessions a week left me tired and legs sore which isn’t how it should feel.

The hard thing is trying to work out just what my FTP is. I think the ramp test doesn’t work for me as I over score on that. I hate the 20 minute test and even that scores me higher than I probably am (there’s no way I can hold 95% of my 20 min watts for anything more than about 25-30 mins let alone an hour).

Maybe it’s just play it by ear and see what happens.

Thanks for your input :slight_smile:

As above, could be your FTP is a little high and perhaps using 70% of the highest 1m of the ramp test could work for you (instead of the standard 75%…I think this is what it is).

Better to be a little low and maintain consistency than a little high and bail on workouts.

I think it must be. Over/Unders killed me and whilst they should be intense. I seldom finished a workout without stopping at least 2-3x.

I was most interested in whether fasted zone 2 work would be better than ignoring Zone 2 and just hitting sweet spot. I do think I need to improve my base in order to get strong next year but am no physiologist.

I don’t know if it’s the best use of your 6-8 hours. I have listened to various podcasts with Louise Burke and John Hawley on low carb training and one of the main points is that it should only be a once a week or maybe twice a week thing. I’m sure Chad has also commented on this many times in the TR podcast.

It’s also a marginal gain. Fasted training is not going to be the secret to unlocking all your potential.

I’d focus on getting your FTP set more correctly so that sweet spot training is really sweet spot and not threshold and so that tempo (z2) is really tempo and not sweet spot. After you get that nailed, try one day per week of fasted Z2 and see how it works. With a lower FTP, sweet spot could actually be more effective.

There are couple podcasts out there with Steve Neal. Look on the Flo Cycling podcast. He prescribes an HR cap for sweet spot. He mentions 82-83%. Something like that might be effective in keeping you in zone.


Thanks for the info and will definitely look out for that podcast.
The fasted training is early done in the hope I may use fat as a fuel ore effectively in the future but mostly because it’s 5.30am and for me to have breakfast and digest it, I would need to be getting up significantly earlier and with a long day ahead of me, I go for the sleep rather than the breakfast.
Since I have no fuel, Zone 2 heart rate seemed like the easiest method to get right.

I am at a bit of a loss as to how to be more accurate with finding my heart rate or power zones to be honest.
When you say ‘an HR cap for sweet spot’, do you mean 82-83% of your weekly training or 82-83% of a ramp test power/heart rate please?

Thanks again for your time and contribution :slight_smile:

Why not spend the next 12 weeks doing a traditional base program? The first 8 weeks are all zone 2 work and only the last 4 weeks slightly up the intensity. If you have an identified weakness, use your off season to fix that. :slight_smile:

That 82-83% HR Cap is of your Max HR. So during a SS interval you will start with a target power but you will lower that power if your HR begins to creep up to or exceed that limit.