Target wattage for 3x20 vs 1x60

My threshold on xert is around 295 watts. This proves to be accurate for what I can actually do outside but it’s tough. If I’m on a trainer I can do that wattage for an hour on demand. It’s not that big of an issue because there won’t be any surges. It’s hard but I can do it. A ramp test will give me a result around 315 - 320w ftp. I know I can’t hold that wattage for an hour. But like I said, if I stay just below 300 I’m good for an hour. It might be worth mentioning that last year I was doing a lot of “all out” 70 mile rides with 3x20s mixed in at 300 and very very little targeted vo2 work.

So my question is in regards to suggested workouts. In particular "Sweetspot @90% - Classic 3x20 ". It’s asking me to do 20 minute intervals at 266. I’d say 266 is tempo for me. I’m not going to have any issues finishing this workout. 266w for an hour is not a problem at all. Should I boost the wattage for these intervals because I can sustain that power for an hour easily with no rest?

My brain is telling me a 3x20 at 305-310w is possible and will be difficult. A 1x60 at 290 is very very doable. I should say that if I go above 300 I seem to quickly fall off the rails. But have never actually tried a 3x20 above 300w on a trainer. My power curve shows my best 20 minute power is around 317w. That wattage might not be repeatable in a 3x20 but who knows. Should I move my 3x20 wattage closer to that number? I really want to breakthrough this 300w for an hour barrier and also jack my 4-5 minute power.

If the purpose of this workout at 266 is to leave me ready for a tough day tomorrow then I understand. But typically a 3x20 is understood to be a very hard workout.
The other night I did a ride outside that averaged about 300w for 30 minutes with lots of surges and efforts between 350-400w for a minute or so. I went into that ride with a fair amount of fatigue from the previous 2 days and didn’t anticipate doing that kind of work and I was surprised I sustained that pace for that long.

Here’s "Sweetspot @90% - Classic 3x20 " for reference.

Others can comment but based on what I’ve read I understand that consistency is one of the key points to making long term and sustainable fitness gains. I’d air on the side of a lower wattage and look at your longer term Training Load tends to get an idea of your accumulated training to make sure that you can continue to train for the long term. Keep some energy in reserves for the training for the next day and the day after and stay on the right side of being over trained and burnt out.

Also if you start at a lower power, see how you get on. If you sailed through it, then maybe do the same session later in the week or next week but up the power. Benefit of starting lower is that you won’t over cook it. If you do go to high and cause too much fatigue then you may put your subsequent training at risk and hence impact your ability to accumulate Training Load over the long term.

You can “Copy” the standard workouts to your own Library and then can tweak the interval power targets to suit.

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Thanks Simon. That makes sense to me. The last couple months of 2020 were painful. I still feel it. It was my first real big year on the road and I was proper cooked in the end. I was very consistent but never took a rest for the duration and intensity I was doing. My endurance kept going up all year but my top end never went anywhere. I just didn’t have any high octane juice left and I never ever felt fresh and my breakthrough days seemed to be completely random and unpredictable but great when they happened. I had a mileage goal for the year, which I knocked out of the park. This year I hope to be smarter to get real fast. It would have been smarter from a training standpoint to lower the intensity. I just enjoy riding hard all the time and if there’s a race and I’m tired… oh well.

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If you can do 295W for an hour, I would do the first 20m at 300W. See how you feel. Add 5W for the second interval. Then maybe another 5W for the 3rd interval. If you can do that comfortably, next time start on 305W.

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Good point - if you are using EBC or one of the other Xert Apps then you can design the workout based on the lower wattage then you can “bump up” the interval power targets with the “% +/-” in the App. I’m using EBC for Android and under “Auto / ERG” mode there is a “100% +/-” buttons so you can easily increase if you think it is too easy.

Note re-reading the thread - there is a difference between 2x20 at Threshold vs 2x20 at Sweet-spot. Note my understanding of the premise of Sweet-spot training is that it is high power but bellow your threshold hence mean to cause a good amount of strain but below threshold hence easier on the legs for completing the workout and easier to recover from. There are plenty of discussions about the efficacy of sweet-spot training.

I do go back to my previous point however which is that I don’t think there is a single magic workout. I find it more useful to focus on the long term training benefits, the daily accumulation of consistent training over the medium/long term 3 months, 6 months and onwards.

That being said there is also value in specificity hence inputting an Athlete Type and making sure that your training is structured and as you get closer to your Target Event Date making sure that you are training the right energy systems and peaking for the right power / focus that you’ve selected.

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That’s a great idea and would definitely test me. I have no problem doing that buuuuut the main reason I bring this up is because the main selling point of this software is that it takes all my data and designs the workouts for me, adjusting the wattage appropriately for my abilities. That said, I don’t think 266 is sweet spot, it’s probably high tempo with HR data to back that up. I think Sweetspot is closer to 280 or 290 on a good day for me. I’ve been using TrainerRoad for a couple years and they are the self proclaimed sweet spot guru’s and with a ramp test at 318 the SS workouts seem to be pretty accurate at 280+. If I do a 4x20 at 286 the last block is hard but have no problem doing it with more in the tank.

Side note: they just announced a new “adaptive training” plan that adjusts as the workout progresses very much like Xert. In the podcast used the word “breakthrough” in the same context that Xert use it. I couldn’t help but think they are heading in the direction of Xert and believe this model to be the way of the future.

Agreed. That’s how I understand it too.

Looks like you are high octane rider. :slight_smile: You are already approaching Elite status stars and your spider chart indicates you’re strong across the full range of focus durations and in the top percentile of Xert users.

It sounds like you were in full speed ahead, no pain/no gain mode of training last year.
Perhaps too much SST as well. :wink:
The consensus here and elsewhere is you will not see year over year gains with that approach, nor higher peaks in season. You are more likely to plateau and require rest weeks to move forward.

Xert is a hybrid polarized platform. Many of the recommended workouts will probably seem tame to you.
Sweet Spot, Threshold and Polarized Training … By the Numbers – Xert (

That workout is labeled (aerobic) endurance at 90% TP which should be taxing for 20 minutes x 3 but not something that is supposed to wipe you out. You shouldn’t have issues finishing it with your level of fitness and the goal isn’t to make harder.

Note your fitness signature is currently flagged as stale (no change in over 4 weeks). That means it’s good time to go for a breakthrough workout/ride to validate your numbers. Preferably when fresh. :wink: There are tips on doing that in this thread (it’s not a one-dimensional RAMP test):
Beginner questions - Support - Xert Community Forum (