1h z2 indoor replaced by 1h tempo outside?

With the good weather showing up in here Canada Im planning on doing my next workout outside. I have a 1h endurance ride planned tomorrow but would it make sense to swap it to a 1h zone3/tempo pace outdoor since I might encounter a couple stops along my ride.

All in all… Would I get similar adaptation from a 1h non-stop indoor endurance workout VS 1h outdoor tempo with a few quick stops?

Why can’t you just make it a 1 hour z2 ride outside instead? The effect of a single workout either way isn’t likely to have much impact so do it if it makes you happy


Sure for 1 workout I dont think either or would have a real impact but what if I plan on swapping many of those planned z2 rides with outdoor workouts. Would it be better to slightly increase the intensity to compensate with the coupe quick stops here in there. Assuming I only have 1h to train.

Unless you live in a totally flat area your outdoor rides will tend to have much more anaerobic contribution than steady state indoor rides. Every time you take off from a stop or every time you stand on the pedals to crest a hill, you’ll go over threshold unless you try really hard to modulate power.

Don’t do this, there is nothing physiological that this would help with.


This was my initial thought but then I came across this article and now Im mind bugged

Now it would be really easy to take this recommendation out of context because it is based on several assumptions. First would be that you’ve already put in plenty of level 2 aerobic endurance training. Secondly, in the classical model of periodization you are ready and in need for an even greater training load in order to stimulate further adaptations.

Tempo and SS should be planned for in a training plan, not as a substitute.


There’s no harm in stopping during a Z2 ride outside.


I thought about this more and wanted to clarify my advice since it may have been unclear. When I say keep it a Z2 ride, it doesn’t mean you have to limit power to Z2, just that the avg in the end should be Z2ish. That means if leaving from a stop you can be a bit over and its fine, just try to limit the hard efforts. also consider using HR for Z2 rides which is what I do. Manage the effort to keep it sitting around your Z2/3 range of your LTHR

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Agreed 1000% don’t overhink it. Just try not to go to hard or to easy. Just ride and most likely your gonna be in zone 2ish.


I’ve always been super confused by the over threshold efforts to get back up to speed at every traffic light.

I just don’t understand it.

So, you’re riding on your own…
Are you late?
Are you trying to average some pointless speed?
Do you have no gears?
Do you not change down before you stop?

You’re doing a Z2 ride for many reasons, then make it a Z2 ride, train your physiology, not your ego.

One of the main reasons Z2 rides are so important is keeping the daily training stress under the radar. Stimulating your body, while not causing too much stress. Allowing you to do actual high volume.

Obviously, riding outside is going to have variation. Some live in terrain that simply make Z2 rides almost impossible.

Launching off from every traffic light at anaerobic power is not a Z2 ride. Do this 30 times in a ride and you now have a different result. A different response from your body.

Definitely overthink it.

I’m not saying that these over or under efforts break your ride. Of course not. However, a perfect Z2 ride is a gentle warm-up then as long as possible in Z2. Avoiding straying into efforts anywhere near threshold.

Easily done on the trainer. Complicated in many locations outdoors.

I love trying to keep my Z2 rides as perfect as I can make them, it’s a skill. Professional cyclists are generally superb at it. You too can be superb at it. In fact, you could be better than anyone at it.

Now, to clarify. Obviously, this is training. Riding with a purpose. Riding with structure. I’m in no way saying that one shouldn’t occasionally or frequently just ride along and enjoy themselves etc

However, if you’ve got a Z2 ride on Wednesday, ride Z2. It’s Z2 for a million very good reasons. Most common among these. You’re keeping a cap on intensity so when you do go hard, you actually can

Engage your inner Roboman/Robogirl, flatten all terrain, both up and down, every turn, every crest into perfect Z2 power.

Try it.


Yes! What helps me, personally, to deal with the dilemma is to choose my route accordingly — hills are not on the menu, today — and that I tell myself that this is part of training to get faster. Another thing that helps me is to give me something else to do, e. g. to focus on riding smoothly, avoiding as many spikes as I can.

Like others have already said, you can indulge yourself sometimes and ignore your training schedule, just don’t make that a habit.


I think it depends on your area. If you live in an urban area with lots of cars and not many bike lanes, if you accelerated at Z2 pace into every intersection you’ll probably piss off a lot of cars. Or if you need to make turns, or get around cars etc. It’s just the name of the game.

If you are worried about the stops and the unavoidable coasting time, just compensate by riding a bit longer, say 15’.
Sometimes instead of coasting to traffic lights or turns I pedal while braking in order to keep the power.

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I wouldn’t be too concerned about the stops. Just pedal up to the stop, rather than coasting.

In terms of Z2 vs Z3, in a 1 hour workout it’s not going to make a huge difference in the big picture. It really depends on what you are doing on the other days, how close to your TSS limit your are, etc. Z2 is going to be a little less stressful and easier to recover from, but again it all depends on what else you are doing and where you are as a cyclist.

Keegan Swenson talked about mixing in Z3 on his Z2 endurance rides so he could accomplish the same thing for 4 - 5 hours, that a strictly Z2 ride might take 8 hours to achieve. If your system can handle the Z3 and not be overly fatigued by it, you may get some extra benefit by going a little higher during that hour.

Think of tempo and sweet spot as advanced aerobic.

Just go out and do a zone2 ride and depending on the number of stops you can simply add time. For example last night I had 2 hour zone2 ride outside, got held up at a couple of lights (close to 5 minutes), and added about 5 minutes to the ride.

Like others have posted keep pedaling as much as possible and don’t sweat the small details. FWIW last year I did the FasCat 18 week sweet spot plan and generally speaking they encourage more riding in zone2 if it doesn’t impact future workouts. I’m currently working with a FasCat coach.

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Do you know where Keegan spoke about this? Curious to give it a listen.

But your answer goes exactly in the way my thought process is.

It is part of this TR Podcast:

The segment starts around 52:35 where Coach Chad first talks about some general concepts and then Keegan talks about his Z2/Z3 efforts around 1:05.20.

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I’d be very careful with doing too much tempo. I do plenty of it at the appropriate time, but treat it with a lot more respect than my Z2 rides. It’s significantly harder to recover from. Particularly for older athletes with jobs etc.

What a young professional athlete does is almost totally irrelevant to amateur athletes. Your training needs to be tailored to you.

Without any hesitation, I see most amateur athletes training too hard, too many days in a row. Tempo is amazing, it’s fun and very effective. One would call it happy hard.

I’d just be very careful of straying into the ‘just move it up a notch’ style of time crunched training. I think most would get better results keeping their Z2 easy and going harder and longer on your hard days.

Obviously, this is a generalization. Some TT folk go great on tons of tempo.


Keep the Z2 rides Z2. In the long run you’ll see the benefits of driving improved aerobic adaptations when you do have to go hard.

Plus outdoors there will be plenty of variation so it’s not quite as dry as a z2 ride indoors.