Build a Big Base with Sweet Spot Training

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It’s December 31st, which means next year is upon us and thoughts are quickly shifting towards the race season. What are you doing to ensure an improvement over last year? What kind of training are you doing? Are you just winging it? There’s a certain combo of art and science to the base building phase of a training calendar, and in Coach Frank’s extensive experience of coaching cyclists he’s come up with a healthy dose of each to help you go faster. What’s the key component? Sweet spot training.

We’ve talked about sweet spot a lot on the show and it’s weaved into almost everything FasCat does, but this week on the last episode of the year, Coach Frank breaks down how and why you should be incorporating sweet spot training into your plan to build a bigger and better base for 2020. He’ll cover:

  1. What is Base Training?
  2. Why Sweet Spot is Better than Zone 2 for Base Training
  3. Power Based Sweet Spot Metrics – Quantitate the SIZE of your base
  4. How many weeks to Sweet Spot?
  5. What training plans to do to get your Sweet Spot on
  6. What Sweet Spot base Building looks like day-to-day in a training plan

And plenty more. Also, for even more sweet spot nerdiness check out our video and training tip:

As always, thanks to everyone for subscribing and leaving a review on Apple Podcasts, your support this year has been incredible! We’re extremely grateful, and excited about what’s to come in 2020. Now get training!


I’m down with the Sweet Spot but want to integrate some 2 - 3 day bike packing trips into my life this year. I want to plan these over the non-structured rides during the 18 week SS plan - meaning during the weekends where the plan asks for TSS rides targeting SS or tempo.
Can I reap the same benefits if I do the prescribed TSS but achieve it at a Z2 pace, of course going over allotted time? I know this isn’t exactly #FTFP but sometimes you have FYFH (follow your ------- heart); but still get the TSS in.

It’s your goals @Andy.Lueck we are just trying to help you achieving them.

That’s a question you need to ask yourself: what are my goals/what am I training for/ and therefore does bike packing fit in with that.

If you want to win the Tour de France - no :wink:
If you want to be fit, faster - yes

Somewhere inbetween - don’t know.

Also consider the timing of bikepacing to your goals:
6 weeks out to an A race/event - #FtFP.

20 weeks, no prob

Finally consider what you are training for:
crits - bike packing doesn’t really help.
Tour de Divde - yes by all mean bike pack train!
Gravel - kinda sorta not really but maybe - this is where the power data analysis from your rides would help

Good luck and happy new year!

I would also add that bike packing would be hella good/fun affffffter your A race event when #FtFP’ing isn’t as important since your goals have already been met!

For example, I’ll be bike packing this Fall after all my goal events. And if you take a mid-season break - bike packing fits right into that approach - enjoy!

My season is in two parts, the first A race is the end of March and the second big goal race isn’t until the end of October. I’m finishing up the weight training plan the end of January and then I’m thinking of doing SS Base II followed by the Road Racing Intervals to get ready for the March race and then doing the full build for September/October racing. What do you think? Would you suggest a different progression?

Yeah that sounds like a good plan. Need to get that base in and good to hit up an interval plan that is specific to your events.

I would take a week rest with some light riding and then you can hit up 18 weeks of sweet spot for your summer training. Then you can do specific interval training to lead into your second goal event.

18 week sweet spot

If for some reason if your goal event was cyclocross we have summer specific cyclocross plans that would work great!

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While I’d love to win SBT GRVL and RPI, that really isn’t in the cards; but I’d like to be fast and have fun at both. That said, what you answered above helps and was right along with my thinking. I really appreciate the feedback and dedication y’all show to all athletes here. Keep it up!


My first 4-hour ride of 18 Weeks of SS, Intermediate is this Saturday. The forecast is snow all day & 35°. A shocker I know. Your thoughts on riding a split shift that totals to 4 hours & the prescribed TSS? The entire ride will likely happen indoors.

I would recommend you doing as much sweet spot as you can in 2 hours. Maybe you could get a total of 60 minutes of sweet spot. We never recommend you doing 4 hours indoors. I guess unless you were only 3 - 4 weeks from an A race that was endurance based. But even than it would be a lot to ask.

Here is a great thread on this very subject:

Indoor training:


Thanks much. I will read & modify without feeling like I’m not FtFP. :muscle:t5:

Remember right now you want to work on aerobic fitness. You could get a ton of TSS by just doing lots of sprints and anaerobic work, but that wouldn’t help build the aerobic engine that the sweet spot plan is mostly geared towards. So that is why I said stick to mostly sweet spot which is the most advance aerobic work you can do.


I’m in a similar position - I’ve got the kids by myself this weekend so have to ride inside on the trainer. Got a 4 1/2 hour sweet spot group ride and a 2 hour zone two in the plan Saturday/Sunday.

If I shorten the 4 1/2 hour ride to 2 and maximise the sweet spot time as suggested above, should I modify the 2 hour zone two ride on the other day to add some sweet spot (so the weekly TSS fits the original plan), or do I just ftfp?


I had a 4 hr SS session today too and did it on zwift. Snow storm and no way I could do it outside. I was just under my TSS goal, so pretty dead on riding in sim mode.

Is there a reason I shouldn’t do the 4 hrs inside? I don’t have a power meter on any outside bike so if I want to make sure I’m hitting the power #’s in the plan I do all my workouts inside on the trainer.

Nice work #FtFP’ing. Keep #FtFP’ing and if you get unmotivated or burnout you may point back to this 4 hr trainer ride. :woozy_face:

This is tough to answer in a forum but super easy with coaching bc we know our athletes and if they can handle this or or not.

If you loved every minute and can keep it up - good one ya.

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Sounds good. I do almost all of my rides on the trainer. Races are some of the only times I’m able to ride outside except in the summer. No burn out yet after 5+ yrs relying heavily on smart trainer.

Aw man, that is too bad. When do you practice your skills and pack riding? Not sure what discipline you are participating in/training for but outdoor riding is paramount to every discipline of cycling.

Highly encourage you to try to train outdoors if not during the winter at least in the Spring/Summer and Fall

I’m almost entirely a mtb racer. Just moved to cat 1 after winning 2 series at cat 2. In spring/summmer I can get out on trails and I do the “simulation” rides out there. Variety of factors cause me to be inside at other parts of season for long periods. Better than not riding at all.

I’ll have my kids by myself every other weekend and will be on Zwift. I try to set my schedule up so that I have Thursday and Sunday off so technically I only need to do one ride while they are home. Others can be during lunch hour after workout.

When indoors and they are here I will do 2 hours, maybe 3. But it’s all sweet spot focused. Getting as much TSS as possible. I try to find a good Zwift event to do that helps the time go by faster. Or pick a route where it has several of the longer climbs. Then do climbs at sweet spot and recover between. Bottom to top efforts. This helps avoiding to look at a timer.

Then the weekends I don’t have them I do the longer endurance rides. I also set up my schedule so that one of the weekends I have them it’s a regent riot that week.

So basically it comes down to planning.


Thanks Jake, great feedback. Will focus on maximising TSS using sweet spot when making those minor changes to suit family life.

I tend to get a bit carried away during Zwift events - being diligent and staying in sweet spot definitely easier for me using the long climb approach you mention. Good time to listen to fascat podcasts!


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Oh I get carried away as well. It is very hard. I try to look for event s with a lower w/kg or race a category down. The last couple of Tour De Zwift events have been good as they have included long climbs that are made for sweet spot efforts.