To me, sweet spot training is riding at a high intensity, a little below race pace. (80-90% of FTP) It corresponds to Level 3 in some training manuals. It can also be referred to as ‘threshold training’.
To me, interval training means doing 3-5 mins @ 110-130% of FTP.
If my FTP is around 300, a ‘sweet spot’ ride may average 230-260 watts.
Hill intervals will be around 330-400+ watts.
- To confuse matters, you can do intervals of ‘sweet spot’, but I never do. I just do 1-4 hours or however long I can maintain it)
- One other point, this assumes some degree of more traditional endurance base level riding.
Which is best?
There is a debate between the different methods of training. Some coaches and riders, place a lot of faith in ‘sweet spot’, others put more focus on intervals. I know riders who, at different times, have talked about the superiority of both! Perhaps I fall into that category too. In recent years, I have done more sweet spot training than I used to.
In a sense, ‘sweet spot’ is pushing from below. Intervals are pulling from above. Both can give benefits to race performance but in different ways.