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"Sweet Spot" vs. LT

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
So to preface this, and since I know it will come up, I am 6 feet 3 inches tall, 163 lbs and I have a severely downward sloping power profile of a 20.27w/kg peak sprint (1501 watts), 10.81 w/kg 1 minute power, and a 4.22 w/kg threshold power. As such, my goal is to always raise my threshold.

Earlier in the season I did a lot of 4x10s, 2x20s, etc. at L4 per the Coggan chart and it did help raise my threshold. I blasted out a great prologue tt time at the start of the season, but my climbing ability never really improved although one would think it would. I continued these throughout the season and kind of stalled, all other factors being equal and training adjusted for different workloads.

Fast forward to now and after a two week short off season I resumed training. I now live by some longer, more sustained climbs. I set out to do a short base period while I had two weeks off from work in which my rides often were about 4 hours long, with a 45 minute to an hour at various spots in my tempo zone, usually on a climb. The rest was mid to higher level L2 with a total of 18 hours per week. After a smaller down week, my threshold was higher than it was all season, by about 8% and all other indicators (perceptual, climbing times, etc) were positive.

I then decided to reduce hours (see below), and go back to my L4 intervals just like I did earlier in the season. Using the same metrics as before, I am seeing diminishing returns in terms of higher fatigue, less improvement, and more regression/burnout.

So without going into crazy power file detail, I'm wondering if, for some people, the gains might be greater by training in the sweet spot and lower percentages more often and if anyone else has had a similar experience. Right now my training weeks can be sporatic, sometimes I get in 9 hours, sometimes 13. It seems as if the L4 intervals require more structure and have the potential to be more taxing whereas I can do the L3/sweet spot work by time, feel, and stress metrics and still see similar tangible improvements. I am not training for a race right now, just to raise my threshold and become a better climber, so I am debating taking the approach of doing sweet spot by feel to avoid potential burnout rather than trying to program L4 work in with diminishing returns. Its getting frustrating to pass up doing beautiful and famous climbs because I need to do a long, slow, boring 3 hour ride because my legs are burnt out from doing tons of LT work.
post #2 of 6

Re: "Sweet Spot" vs. LT

My quick observation is that you're obviously not taking enough rest/recovery between your L4 sessions. Your body is telling you that it's tired and not ready for the next workout, but you're not listening. On your 'off' days, discipline yourself to keep your wattage <50% of your FTP.

I, too, have this issue - not going easy enough on rest/recovery rides - but now having the power meter, while it doesn't totally eliminate the problem, helps me keep myself in better check.

Also, hope I'm not preaching to the choir with this, but changing up the routine is always good. I'm an ardent advocate of L4 work versus Sweet Spot Training, but I'm wise enough to know that doing the same thing year-in and year-out is not good physically or psychologically. So during the racing season, I don't do any focused L4 work. All my non-race riding is L3 or lower. I have a weekly flat crit where I get my L4 work.

Take more rest between interval sessions and I think you'll make an excellent 'comeback'...good luck...
post #3 of 6

Re: "Sweet Spot" vs. LT

I also have noticed this same result. I was was doing 2-3x20s three times a week for over a year and noticed some really good gains, but as you mentioned it kind of leveled out & L4 requires more structure and are more taxing. This year I decided to do something different, 90min on the road around the sweet spot three times a week and have noticed an increase in threshold AND I seem to be recovering 100% all the time which enabled me to do them week in-week out without the burnout. I did throw in 2-4 Vomax efforts during these sessions but only for about 2min at a time just to break it up. I have my own thoughts of whats happening and why they are working but I rather not say.
See my link I posted about this same situation
http://www.cyclingforums.com/power-t...ng-myself.html


Quote:
Originally Posted by KWalker View Post
So to preface this, and since I know it will come up, I am 6 feet 3 inches tall, 163 lbs and I have a severely downward sloping power profile of a 20.27w/kg peak sprint (1501 watts), 10.81 w/kg 1 minute power, and a 4.22 w/kg threshold power. As such, my goal is to always raise my threshold.

Earlier in the season I did a lot of 4x10s, 2x20s, etc. at L4 per the Coggan chart and it did help raise my threshold. I blasted out a great prologue tt time at the start of the season, but my climbing ability never really improved although one would think it would. I continued these throughout the season and kind of stalled, all other factors being equal and training adjusted for different workloads.

Fast forward to now and after a two week short off season I resumed training. I now live by some longer, more sustained climbs. I set out to do a short base period while I had two weeks off from work in which my rides often were about 4 hours long, with a 45 minute to an hour at various spots in my tempo zone, usually on a climb. The rest was mid to higher level L2 with a total of 18 hours per week. After a smaller down week, my threshold was higher than it was all season, by about 8% and all other indicators (perceptual, climbing times, etc) were positive.

I then decided to reduce hours (see below), and go back to my L4 intervals just like I did earlier in the season. Using the same metrics as before, I am seeing diminishing returns in terms of higher fatigue, less improvement, and more regression/burnout.

So without going into crazy power file detail, I'm wondering if, for some people, the gains might be greater by training in the sweet spot and lower percentages more often and if anyone else has had a similar experience. Right now my training weeks can be sporatic, sometimes I get in 9 hours, sometimes 13. It seems as if the L4 intervals require more structure and have the potential to be more taxing whereas I can do the L3/sweet spot work by time, feel, and stress metrics and still see similar tangible improvements. I am not training for a race right now, just to raise my threshold and become a better climber, so I am debating taking the approach of doing sweet spot by feel to avoid potential burnout rather than trying to program L4 work in with diminishing returns. Its getting frustrating to pass up doing beautiful and famous climbs because I need to do a long, slow, boring 3 hour ride because my legs are burnt out from doing tons of LT work.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Re: "Sweet Spot" vs. LT

How often are you doing LT intervals then? I'm doing them once per week at the moment, with the longer SST 1 to 2 times a week. On weeks when I have more time, I add L2 and reduce accordingly.
post #5 of 6

Re: "Sweet Spot" vs. LT

I have found a way to ensure my easy/recovery rides are not too hard. I just keep it in the small ring regardless of wind or hill. So I can't really push it. Plus being in the small ring keeps reminding me that I shouldn't go hard. I have a power meter to help me keep in check but the small ring thing really makes the difference.
post #6 of 6

Re: "Sweet Spot" vs. LT

Quote:
Originally Posted by KWalker View Post
How often are you doing LT intervals then? I'm doing them once per week at the moment, with the longer SST 1 to 2 times a week. On weeks when I have more time, I add L2 and reduce accordingly.
I'll presume this comment was directed to me.

Anyway, how often I do them has absolutely no bearing on how often you should be doing them. My recovery time and yours are definitely not going to be the same. With that said, obviously your current training rx is too much for your body to handle. If you're only doing L4 intervals once a week, then very definitely your other rides are too hard/too long or both, IMO. If you're not already taking complete rest days, you may want to consider doing so. Look hard at your nutrition as well...
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