How To Train At Sweet Spot For Cycling | Triathlon Training Explained


(lighthearted music) – Welcome back to the Triathlon
Training Explain Show, powered by TrainingPeaks, and this week, I’m out on the bike, and I’m gonna be delving into Sweet Spot. Now, you may have already heard of the term Sweet Spot training, or perhaps you’re already
using a little bit of Sweet Spot training in
your own training programme, but do you know what it is actually doing, what it’s purpose is, and how to use it to its best advantage? Well, that is why I’m here. I’m can be doing a gist, I’m gonna be answering those questions, and I’m actually gonna be giving you three key Sweet Spot training sessions that you can implement into
your own training programme. (upbeat music) As the name suggests, Sweet Spot training is a specific intensity aimed to deliver the ultimate
bang for your buck. It’s basically a training
effort and volume that are ideally structured to give you the maximum
physiological gains, which sounds quite
appealing if you’re someone that’s quite limited for time, but to work at our Sweet Spot intensity, we need to know our
Functional Threshold Power, or FTP for short. Now FTP is our maximum
sustained effort for 60 minutes. Now this is, essentially,
our lactate threshold. This is the point in which we start to accumulate lactic acid in
the blood at a faster rate than it can be flushed out. It’s basically our tipping point. Go beyond that, or try
to go at this intensity for over an hour, and you’re
pretty much gonna come to a grinding halt. (upbeat music) So, by knowing our FTP, we can
work out our training zones and our Sweet Spot. Our Sweet Spot is the
area just above tempo, and just below threshold. It kind of crosses into upper zone three, and lower end of zone four when using the Doctor Andy
Coggan Seven Zone System. It’s defined as being between
84% and 94% of our FTP, and 75% to 85% of our maximum heart rate. But, if you’re training by feel, then it’s an intensity that I
like to call moderately hard. It’s a tough, but sustainable effort, just shy of your upper threshold. And of course, if you’re
riding with friends or mates, then you could hold a little bit of a conversation with them, but I’d say you’re gonna struggle, and also, you probably just
want to save your breath for the effort instead. Now, Sweet Spot training
is really valuable because it has huge physiological
benefits very similar to that of training at threshold, and of course, you can
recover quicker from it, the end goal being, that
you’ll bump your FTP up, basically meaning that you
can ride harder or faster for no extra effort. So it really should be a staple session for most triathletes,
though I do appreciate for those Ironman athletes out there. It is an intensity above that
that you’ll be racing at, so you may not want to
include it in your training during race season, but it’s
definitely hugely beneficial during your off season, and again, for those racing Ironman 70.3
distance or middle distance, it is a fraction above
your race intensity. But I used to use it all
the time for my training, because not only would it
help to increase my FTP, it also made race day feel a little bit easier than training. But then of course, a lot
of people racing Sprint and Olympic distance aren’t gonna be racing at this intensity. I think it’s time we took
a look at some sessions. Right then, if you’re starting
out with Sweet Spot training, then you’re going to want to start off with some relatively short
reps and some nice recovery. I’ve got a session just here. We’ve got 15 minutes at zone two, just to get yourself warmed up, and then we’re gonna go into
four lots of eight minutes at Sweet Spot, and then we’re
gonna match that duration for the recovery, so we’re gonna
take eight minutes recovery between each of the reps, and then we’re gonna finish that session with 15 minutes at zone
two as a warm down. Now, for the next session,
as you can see just here, we’re gonna start off again
with 15 minutes at zone two to get ourselves warmed up, but now we’re gonna start
increasing the duration of the efforts and reducing the recovery, so we’ve got four lots of
10 minutes at Sweet Spot, and we’re gonna take
five minutes of recovery between each of the reps, and then again, finish with 15 minutes zone two warm down. But the ultimate aim, is a
session like this one here. Again, we’re gonna start with
15 minutes zone two warm up, but now we’ve got three lots
of 20 minutes at Sweet Spot, and we’re gonna start
with 10 minutes recovery, but I’d like you, over time,
to start reducing that recovery down to something like
three minutes recovery, And then again, finishing with 15 minutes zone two warm down. (lighthearted music) Now, the key to Sweet Spot
training is the accumulation of the workload with the ideal goal being that we complete 60 minutes or more at Sweet Spot during a session like that last session I described. Obviously, do build up to this over time, depending on your fitness level. Now, if you like this video,
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see some other videos, like our FTP Explained and How To Do Your Functional
Threshold Power Test, just click down here. If you’d like to find out
what the training zones are for cycling on the bike,
then just click down here.