Answer: The High-Volume Sweet Spot Base plan has a very specific training load, in both volume and intensity. This allows for a very high TSS relative to all other training plans. This high training stress score does not translate directly to other plans, including those in the Build Phase.
High-Volume Sweet Spot Base is in a Class of Its Own
Within the different volume options offered in the Sweet Spot Base training plans, the high-volume version is its own animal. Unlike the low- and mid-volume versions of this Base plan, the high-volume version consists only of Sweet Spot work with just a small amount of Endurance riding sprinkled in to take the edge off a bit.
The Benefits of Sweet Spot Work
Sweet Spot intensity offers a kinder form of stress than VO2max work but still conveys much of the aerobic benefit of those longer, more time-consuming aerobic base rides. Striking a very productive balance between those two extremes is what led to the name “Sweet Spot” in the first place.
Since Sweet Spot work takes a lighter toll than the more varied and often higher-intensity constituents of the low- and mid-volume plans, riders can ramp the TSS way up, well beyond what their bodies might tolerate on a training plan incorporating high-intensity intervals.
Viewing Training Stress from a TSS-Centric Perspective
Due to the very homogenous nature of the high-volume workouts over the entire 12 weeks of Sweet Spot Base I and II, viewing training stress from a TSS-centric perspective is simple and dependable.
Very little changes in regards to workout intensity, and it’s been shown time and time again that cyclist’s bodies can tolerate relatively high loads of Sweet Spot-level stress and respond positively to mild but consistent weekly training load increases. Accordingly, all 5 weeks of each 6-week Sweet Spot Base plan gradually and consistently escalate the training load taking high-volume riders from the low 500’s to the mid 700’s by plan’s end.
When it comes time to advance to the Build training phase, many riders become concerned with the decrease in TSS from week 5 of the high-volume version of Sweet Spot Base II to week 1 of any of the Build training plans. This is when it’s important to recognize that not all TSS are created equally.
Remember, Not all TSS Is Created Equally
Each of the Build phases — Short Power, Sustained Power, General Power— waste no time incorporating new and more challenging interval formats into their structure. Nearly all of these workouts are done at higher levels of intensity than Sweet Spot’s forgiving, subthreshold range.
Over the course of a single workout, each of these supra-threshold rounds of intervals is likely to exact a higher physiological toll than that of a similar-duration Sweet Spot workout. For this reason (amongst others), the weekly TSS is necessarily toned down in accordance with our grander intent to make cyclists faster and not crush them under the weight of an ever-escalating stress load.
If You Want to Increase TSS in the Build Phase…
In the event that your body responds favorably to more stress than the high-volume Build plans offer, feel encouraged to supplement each week with additional work. The safest route is to extend the duration of your lower-intensity endurance rides. Increases in the amount of high-intensity work is also an option should you feel confident your body can tolerate the added workload. Numerous alternate versions of most or our high-intensity interval workouts exist in the TrainerRoad workout library.
For more answers to your cycling training questions, listen to the Ask a Cycling Coach podcast presented by TrainerRoad. New episodes are released weekly.
Share this Post
Train Smart, Get Fast.
Learn how to become a faster cyclist. Sign up now to receive six emails with free cycling advice from Chad Timmerman, a USA Level I certified cycling coach.