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Sweet Spot Intervals by Coach Jerry Jacobs

 

“Patience” is the most common word that I use in athlete feedback this time of year.

We have rested enough and are excited to get back to work. 

The temptation for all of us is going too hard too soon.

A more 'quiet' and measured building process now will allow racers to perform their

best for their peak events later and race well all the way to the end of the competitive season. 

 

Early season building has two critical training workouts for all our athletes:

 

 1) Lots of Z2 miles.

We have written in a prior post about the importance of Z2 rides and the many 'foundational' benefits we get from them.

 

 2) Sweet spot (SS) intervals. 

Sweet spot work is the other critical pillar of the early season building process.

Simply defined SS is the optimal balance of difficulty and volume and the workouts are a great way to build your aerobic engine.

A large aerobic base is a big priority over the winter and as the season builds towards A races.

Correctly done, long enough and in the proper zones, SS intervals will increase your FTP and improve your endurance.(BOOM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If there is any single statistic that is most predictive of success in cycling it is FTP, and of course, the higher the better.

Generally speaking, FTP is best improved with SS intervals that last at least 10 minutes each (although 8 minutes with shorter rest periods can be highly effective indoors on a trainer).

If you stay in the SS 'box', 88-93% of FTP, these should feel challenging but not brutal. 

If it is brutal, that's a different workout.

 

This type of work is some of the most tedious that we do all year.

It is also some of the most critical as we are building and improving your aerobic engine.

 

Progression is the final key point.

Z2 and SS work should start out on the easier side and in the lower ends of the targeted zones. 

The very first weeks are to transition to the 2023 race season,

as we are going back to work and dialing in our targeted training zones.

After a few weeks, everyone will be steadily increasing the amount of time spent in these training zones. 

Progression can be from either increasing time or increasing intensity. 

We prefer increasing the amount of time first before adding intensity. That will come when we get closer to target events.

While the idea is long and steady intervals, there are many variations that can be effective.

Ramps, builds, and 'Over/Unders' are great at adding some interest without defeating the primary purpose.

As long as the interval is long enough and the variation in pace stays within targeted range, it is all good.

 

Z2 and Sweet Spot.

Do your homework.

It will pay off.

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