Sweet spot training


#1

I’m very new to Trainer Road. I have just started to mix outside club rides (x2/7) with Trainer Road trainer rides (x4/7). I’ve had a history of alpine climbing events and trained by just doing long hilly group rides three times a week and two Sufferfest Climb sessions a week. I’m Time Trialling next season and start the Base Phase/Sweet Spot plan next week. I’ve noticed the Club Rides swamp the TSS score of the Trainer Road sessions to a point where using TSS to make decisions about whether I am doing too much or too little in the Build Phase is nonsense. My concern is that replacing one of my club rides (TSS = 350) with 2 Trainer Road sessions (TSS = 150) isn’t going to get me any fitter. I feel I’m probably missing the point. Can anyone give me reassurance or point me to a blog topic covering Sweet Spot Trainer Road Sessions and why physiologically they are better than long hilly club thrashes? Also under the scenario I’ve described how do I use TSS?


#2

This is the first point worth discussing. Not all TSS is created equal. You should, if you have the time and the understanding, look at where you are accumulating the TSS in those club rides. If you’re getting most of that in lower power numbers spread out over a huge amount of time then you’re doing basically traditional base rides already. If, however, you’re doing some pretty hard efforts and that TSS is coming over a relatively short period of time then you’re not doing something that fits into the base models.

Further, a 350 TSS ride is a huge ride - I only do a handful of 300+ TSS rides per year (and I’m a relatively high volume cyclist) - so make sure you’re getting that number based on a correct FTP value. I would think at a typical A or Ax paced club ride, if you were the weakest rider in the group (and thus doing the most TSS to hold the pace) you’d still need 5 hours of saddle time to accumulate that much and that would be at a near race pace for you the entire time. I guess everyone has a different idea of a club ride - perhaps yours really are doing this much volume and intensity

It’s hard to say what the benefits of sweet spot base would be without better understanding your goals and your club ride structure.

I just went back and looked at some of my longer rides and races from this year (images below) and I’m struggling more and more with reconciling what you’re doing outside and without that piece tied in I’m not comfortable talking about adding in the details around sweet spot as it would pertain to you. Can you explain how you’re measuring your FTP indoors, outdoors, and what you are using to calculate your TSS (thinking maybe you don’t have a power meter)?

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As you can see these are pretty intense race efforts with very high IF spread over 2.5-3 hours and I’m still way short of your regularly scheduled club ride TSS


#3

Thank you. I’m using Favero power pedals on outside and inside rides. The group rides are 60 milers with full gas climbs (4000 ft minimum). The TSS is mainly coming from the climbs. As you say, I’m probably not following Sweet Spot or the Traditional Build Plan method. Does this help?!


#4

I meant Base :roll_eyes:


#5

How long are the rides in moving duration? Are you on the bike pedaling for at least 4 hours for this 60 mile route?

Could you grab similar information from one of those rides to what I posted above? Duration, power (average and NP), TSS, IF, HR (if you have it)?

Basically - I’m fairly certain your FTP setting isn’t correct in whatever system is telling you that these rides are 350 TSS and it’s bothering me.

As for your sweet spot stuff…

The idea behind the base->build->specialize progression is that you periodize your training and essentially stop doing incredibly hard efforts for a while (base) so that you can build your aerobic base into a broader stronger foundation upon which you can later start doing the hard efforts (build) that you are currently doing on your outside ride in a more effective and efficient manner. This step away from high intensity work allows you to get stronger and then reach higher peaks when you do start going hard again.

If you want to seriously pursue periodized training then it is likely that you’d benefit from stepping away from the harder rides for a while and doing easier stuff like sweet spot or traditional base. But, if you want to keep having fun on your club rides then by all means do so, but remember that cycling should be fun. For you it might not matter much if you’re the strongest guy in the region if you don’t like riding your bike with your buds anymore. Or maybe you get the most enjoyment from getting stronger and being faster. You really need to figure out what motivates you before you make a decision to step away from your fun club rides to focus on your strength to that degree.

As an example, I’m a fairly competitive person who enjoys racing and trying to be as fast as I possibly can. I do a huge amount of my riding alone or indoors so that I can pursue those goals more precisely. However, I get really burned out and bored doing that exclusively so I still make sure to get out for some social rides to keep my mental focus tight when I need it to be. Everyone can tolerate different amounts of the solitude necessary for intense training - I hesitate to recommend you stop doing your club rides without knowing the impact it’d have on your enjoyment of the sport


#6

I’m only moving at 18mph average and weigh 71Kg. My average power is around 190W. I have a 25yr plus endurance training history at high volume. So looking at your stats, my TSS is way too high. My indoor FTP feels right but it doesn’t feel right outdoors. I estimate a 20W discrepancy. I’ve read the blogs on why this is and tips to bring them closer but can’t find a way to set a separate indoor and outdoor FTP in Trainer Road. Your advice regarding club ride intensity vs base phase training is massively helpful and completely on the button. I think I’ll do one intense club ride a week to preserve my sanity. I’ll reduce the other club thrash to an outdoor ride where I behave myself sticking to sensible power levels. Thank you for your help, just the advice I needed.


#7

High quality discussion! :slight_smile:
I agree with @trpnhntr that you are very likely not doing 300+ TSS rides twice a week. With a correctly set FTP, those are still epic rides where you’ll be guaranteed to take a few days afterwards to get to 100% again - even as an experienced rider.

Regarding the likely discrepancy between your indoor & outdoor FTP: Did you check the obvious pitfalls - i.e. are you using the same power source or same type at least? (so no mixing of Power Meters with virtual Power, Trainer power estimation,…) Always zeroed in the same manner?

Also, how is your trainer set up? Do you have adequate cooling?


#8

I use the same Favero pedals outdoors and indoors. Also I use a large fan indoors and make sure I’m hydrated properly.

I’ve been tolerating the rides I’ve been doing quite well but am fatigued. So time to try something different with a base/build/TT speciality plan. Slight compromise will be one Club ride a week to preserve my sanity. I’m due to retest my indoor FTP on Monday.


#9

Let me just say the obvious: If you’re doing two 350 TSS rides every week plus some other stuff then GOOD JOB!!

That’s awesome.

There was a stretch of about a month and a half this summer when I was doing at least a hundred miles every weekend. Those rides were mostly flat and always ~320 tss and that seemed like a lot of training stress for me. Not sure I could do two of those a week for an extended period of time.


#10

Thank you but I think my outdoors FTP/TSS is wrong. As there doesn’t seem to be away to set indoor/outdoor FTP’s I’ll just have to ignore my outdoor TSS but limit myself to one thrash a week for a bit of balance. I’ll reassess my plan when I get to the Build phase. Thanks for your help, it’s appreciated.,


#11

To give you an idea the last sportives I did was 64 miles, 3400ft climbing and went fairly hard. Took 3hr 40mins…and that was about 255 TSS. 350 is heck of a lot especially for 100km


#12

Fixed it. You can open a historic outdoor ride and click on the 3 dots and edit the FTP ie temp override your indoor TR FTP value, just for each outdoor ride. Brings it down to a sensible TSS 240. Sorted.


#13

That number makes a ton more sense. Still a hammer fest of a ride but much more achievable in the approximately 3.5 hours you are spending in the saddle!


#14

TSS should still be closer without having to manually edit… What is producing your outdoor TSS figure? Is it coming from a garmin/wahoo/trainingpeaks? If so, check your FTP is set the same in all these places.

And to elaborate on the first ‘not all tss is created equal point’ - do a 100TSS ride outdoors on a club ride, and then do a 100TSS sweetspot or threshold interval TrainerRoad ride. The next morning, your legs will tell you which workout was more effective :wink:


#15

Thanks everyone. Sorted and happy now.