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Sweet Spot and No Man's Land

Old 11-24-08, 07:40 PM
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Sweet Spot and No Man's Land

Per several suggestions on this forum I have read up on sweet spot training. Pretty straight forward, but I'm confused about one issue. I have always heard the mantra to avoid training in the no-man's land between Z3 and Z4. A couple of quotes:

"But avoid training in the no man's land or mediocre middle at 80-85% of MHR where it's too difficult to maintain the pace for the long rides needed to build endurance and allow some recovery time, but not hard enough to significantly improve your aerobic performance and increase your lactate threshold."

"There is a "No-Man's Land" between Z3 and Z4. Training in this area has been found to not be beneficial for either the aerobic requirements of Z3 or the LT/AT training in Z4. You'll probably also find this to be the area you train in most. Avoid this area like the plague."

Makes sense. However, here are the numbers for my sweet spot:

140 - 157 BPM

and my no-man's land:

140 - 149 BPM


So, there is overlap and, apparently, contradiction.

Clarification PLEASE...
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Old 11-24-08, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by milliWatts View Post
So, there is overlap and, apparently, contradiction.

Clarification PLEASE...
See Table 2. Note there is benefit from any intensity above active recovery. Then think about how integrating the check marks over training time would indicate the total improvement that might be expected.
http://www.cyclingpeakssoftware.com/power411/levels.asp
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Old 11-24-08, 07:54 PM
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The "no man's land" idea has been abandoned.
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Old 11-24-08, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by milliWatts View Post
Per several suggestions on this forum I have read up on sweet spot training. Pretty straight forward, but I'm confused about one issue. I have always heard the mantra to avoid training in the no-man's land between Z3 and Z4. A couple of quotes:

"But avoid training in the no man's land or mediocre middle at 80-85% of MHR where it's too difficult to maintain the pace for the long rides needed to build endurance and allow some recovery time, but not hard enough to significantly improve your aerobic performance and increase your lactate threshold."

"There is a "No-Man's Land" between Z3 and Z4. Training in this area has been found to not be beneficial for either the aerobic requirements of Z3 or the LT/AT training in Z4. You'll probably also find this to be the area you train in most. Avoid this area like the plague."

Makes sense. However, here are the numbers for my sweet spot:

140 - 157 BPM

and my no-man's land:

140 - 149 BPM


So, there is overlap and, apparently, contradiction.

Clarification PLEASE...
This theory has been debunked. Qualitatively, exercise below your maximal steady state is all the same. In fact, for a given duration L3 riding will cause a greater overload than L2 leading to greater adaptation. The idea behind sweetspot training is to ride at the best pace for the duration you have available without destroying yourself the next day. That could be 30min in L4 or 4 hours in L3.
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Old 11-24-08, 08:23 PM
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i find it hard to get my HR to that area. there is a jump in my power output that will pull me straight over that zone.
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Old 11-24-08, 09:02 PM
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Yeah, the training levels table set tells the story. I've seen great gains from 75% all the way up to 100% FTP long efforts. Arranged properly, there's a place for all levels of training.

When I think of SST, I think of workouts that will not make me tired for tomorrow, but that will make me tired by the end of the week, such that a 6th consecutive workout would probably be a bad idea.
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Old 11-24-08, 10:22 PM
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Making it simple the harder you train the stronger you will get. Common sense tells you theres no way to go 100% everyday as at some point your performance will drop (but you will still feel like youre going 100%). Proper SSTing and you can do days on end with not rest.... Giving you the most bang for the buck.
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Old 11-25-08, 07:28 AM
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Hard on hard days.
Easy on easy days.

If you're too hard on easy days you won't go hard enough on the hard days.
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Old 11-25-08, 01:58 PM
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I think no-man's land is a poor calculation/execution of an individual's training balance of intensity and volume resulting in a failed attempt to reach goals.

If all you do is SST, but are competing for the flying 200 - you're out of luck.

Last edited by simplyred; 11-25-08 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 11-25-08, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by milliWatts View Post
Per several suggestions on this forum I have read up on sweet spot training. Pretty straight forward, but I'm confused about one issue. I have always heard the mantra to avoid training in the no-man's land between Z3 and Z4. A couple of quotes:

"But avoid training in the no man's land or mediocre middle at 80-85% of MHR where it's too difficult to maintain the pace for the long rides needed to build endurance and allow some recovery time, but not hard enough to significantly improve your aerobic performance and increase your lactate threshold."

"There is a "No-Man's Land" between Z3 and Z4. Training in this area has been found to not be beneficial for either the aerobic requirements of Z3 or the LT/AT training in Z4. You'll probably also find this to be the area you train in most. Avoid this area like the plague."

Makes sense. However, here are the numbers for my sweet spot:

140 - 157 BPM

and my no-man's land:

140 - 149 BPM


So, there is overlap and, apparently, contradiction.

Clarification PLEASE...
Actually, I take those numbers back. I calculated my sweet spot as 85 - 95% of my LT HR, not my LT Power (don't have a meter). In looking at Power Training Levels it appears that 85 - 95% LT Power corresponds to something like 90 - 95% LT HR.

So, that puts my sweet spot at:

149 - 157 BPM

and my no man's land remains at:

140 - 149 BPM


Look at that - no overlap!!!
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Old 11-25-08, 02:18 PM
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Old 11-25-08, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by kensuf View Post
Hard on hard days.
Easy on easy days.

If you're too hard on easy days you won't go hard enough on the hard days.
I just finished a set of Vo2 Max intervals that left me seeing spots and shouting just so I could finish the last interval. That's hard enough.

Tomorrow I won't ride faster than 13mph.
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Old 11-25-08, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by kensuf View Post
I just finished a set of Vo2 Max intervals that left me seeing spots and shouting just so I could finish the last interval. That's hard enough.

Tomorrow I won't ride faster than 13mph.
What training plan are you on that has you doing VO2max in November?
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Old 11-25-08, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by bdcheung View Post
What training plan are you on that has you doing VO2max in November?
The one where I race in January.
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Old 11-25-08, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by kensuf View Post
The one where I race in January.
that's a good one!
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Old 11-25-08, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by bdcheung View Post
that's a good one!
Come to Florida. Off season is July.

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Old 11-25-08, 06:37 PM
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is that hurricane season?
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Old 11-25-08, 07:16 PM
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I saw in a thread a week or two ago someone posted x time at SST was worth y increase in FTP, but I can't find it. I did a bunch of SST last week and it was a bit of a struggle, but hot damn did it feel easy today. Could there have been a meaninfgul increase already or was it more likely just daily variation in form/fatigue?
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Old 11-25-08, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
I did a bunch of SST last week and it was a bit of a struggle, but hot damn did it feel easy today. Could there have been a meaninfgul increase already or was it more likely just daily variation in form/fatigue?
If you're not adjusting the intensity of your workouts with increasing fitness, then you're continuously dropping the effectiveness of your training. What was a ride at 89% FTP will only be 80% if FTP increases 10% and you don't change the effort accordingly.
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Old 11-25-08, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
I saw in a thread a week or two ago someone posted x time at SST was worth y increase in FTP, but I can't find it. I did a bunch of SST last week and it was a bit of a struggle, but hot damn did it feel easy today. Could there have been a meaninfgul increase already or was it more likely just daily variation in form/fatigue?
I'm feeling the same response to strict SST work outs. I did 290W for 3x10 2 weeks ago and did the same power for 75' yesterday... and will go at it again tomorrow. Legs feel fresh but I know I'm hitting it hard enough to generate adaptation. Oh, and I've lost 3 lbs over that time, too...
Glad to hear it's feelin' good for you too, ummmmmd!!

-eL
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Old 11-25-08, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
I saw in a thread a week or two ago someone posted x time at SST was worth y increase in FTP, but I can't find it. I did a bunch of SST last week and it was a bit of a struggle, but hot damn did it feel easy today. Could there have been a meaninfgul increase already or was it more likely just daily variation in form/fatigue?
Uh, not really. If you're just starting out or your fitness changes a lot during the year you'll see rapid gains, but FTP will eventually plateau like everything else.
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Old 11-25-08, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
If you're not adjusting the intensity of your workouts with increasing fitness, then you're continuously dropping the effectiveness of your training. What was a ride at 89% FTP will only be 80% if FTP increases 10% and you don't change the effort accordingly.
I understand that. I just tested my FTP last week and the SST during the week was almost exactly at 90% (of that). I rode hard over the weekend, did some light recovery riding yesterday, and although my legs were still sore today, riding at the same power felt much easier. So my question was, is it likely that the SST I did last week has already meaningfully raised my FTP or is there another explanation? Also, I was hoping that somebody could point me to the reference that related FTP increase with time at SST.

Last edited by umd; 11-25-08 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 11-25-08, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by sgrundy View Post
Uh, not really. If you're just starting out or your fitness changes a lot during the year you'll see rapid gains, but FTP will eventually plateau like everything else.
I am not just starting out. Regardless, someone posted it and I was looking for the reference to it. Thanks.
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Old 11-25-08, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
I am not just starting out.
No, but you're coming back from an injury. That's what I meant by fitness changing a lot during the year. Also, even pretty experienced cyclists often make rapids gains after they start training with power. My point was that while you might make linear improvements in FTP for a while, it won't last.
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Old 11-25-08, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by sgrundy View Post
No, but you're coming back from an injury. That's what I meant by fitness changing a lot during the year. Also, even pretty experienced cyclists often make rapids gains after they start training with power. My point was that while you might make linear improvements in FTP for a while, it won't last.
I'm still wondering if I've already raised my FTP meaningfully in the last week. I'm pretty much back to where I was fitness-wise before my injury, just not back up to my peak summer fitness. My fitness was already falling before the injury. I felt like I was losing my peak and I think did the double-whammy of overreaching into it and then overresting after it. My first injury (ribs) just exacerbated the overrest, but the second injury (collarbone) got me to take enough time off to just start over. I built back up substantially by JRA, and then figured it was time to start trying to apply some structure. That's probably explaining the sudden gains, I just wasn't expecting it to be so dramatic and fast.
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