Traditional Base or TCTP/Sweet Spot

Bottom line up front:
Better/best for 45 y/o guy to build base via LSD or TCTP / Sweet Spot training?

Long form:
I’ve been riding and intermittently racing MTB 100s and CX for the last decade or so. Typically I yo-yo 15-20lbs across the year, but mostly by design: I enjoy fighting into form each spring and then letting it go in the Fall which seems better for me and family mentally I think.

So this year, and likely at least next year, I have the ability to do a lot of LSD riding and on both road and MTB, and that sounds pretty great right now. It seems though, most training plans here and elsewhere are tailored toward ‘more bang for you buck’ advertising increasing performance in the shortest amount of ride-time possible. But I’m curious, especially after starting Zinn’s Haywire Heart book, if working with a more traditional LSD build period and then shorter sharpening phase might be a better/safer long-term approach to getting myself into some form each year now that i’m well into my 40’s. I’ve got no health/heart concerns, but I do wonder a little bit that even if the time-crunched approach works as well (or better) than the old LSD base building approach, it’s not without it’s drawbacks as athletes age. And, TBH, I feel like I’ve got plenty of rules/restrictions in my life as it is these days without having to worry about time in narrow zones on the trail.

I suppose staying at or closer to fighting weight all year would be easier on my body than going back and forth which is also something I need to rethink.

Looking to race the '21 Breck Epic and some smaller races in ID next year, and knock-on-wood, I have the ability (and desire) do 12-15hr weeks in the foreseeable future.

Appreciate any thoughts the group has for me.

Thank you,

there is a good bit of zone2 in the sweet spot plans. For example looking at the FasCat website screenshot of Sweet Spot Part 1 intermediate:

That is 8.75 hours total and breakdown:

  • sweet spot: Tuesday 4x10 + Saturday ~45-60 min
  • tempo Wed 4x8
  • call the rest zone2

so non-zone2 is roughly 40+60+32 = 132 minutes = 2.2 hours

2.2 hours zone3 + zone4
6.55 hours zone2
8.75 hours total

or roughly:

  • 25% tempo+sweet spot
  • 75% zone2

Just round numbers, not trying to be exact. There is more SS work as you progress from SS1 to SS2 to SS3.

Earlier this year I had some base and did SS2 and SS3 in the 18 Week Sweet Spot plan. Really really liked the plan and results. I’m in my late fifties and on my 5th season of road cycling.

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Hi @bradhoagland - what is TCTP?

I’ve summarized my thoughts in this video and podcast

Also I used to train with a traditional based as a pro but then discovered sweet spot training and started winning pro races!

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Hey Coach Frank as a late fifties masters athlete and relative newcomer to road cycling, I think your sweet spot plans strike the best balance between zone2 and sweet spot. I’ve tried a number of different stock plans (CTS, Velocious, TrainerRoad) and think you really nailed it :dart: Since late June I’ve been doing the off-season resistance plan and didn’t realize how much muscle mass I’d lost in my legs being a desk jockey for 30+ years. Over the last 8 weeks I’ve added 3 inches to my thighs. Coach Isaiah will make sure I put that new muscle to good use in 2021. Couldn’t be happier. 5 star coaching :star2: :star2: :star2: :star2: :star2: