A question about a well-discussed topic: adding z2 to a training plan.
My current situation:
Base Training, medium volume
900 TSS by week, including outdoor rides
“Unlimited” time for training (freelance job)
In these 900 TSS, half is from TR (I changed the 60-minutes to 90-minutes workout) and half is coming from 75-150km outdoors rides. However, being in hilly region, it’s pretty difficult to keep these rides at low intensity.
Hence I’d like to keep my TSS and volume up but convert a part of these outdoor rides into indoor rides. My idea was to add 5x90-minutes z2 workout (1 by TR workout day: z2 in the morning, workout of the plan in the evening) and keep a rest day + 1 long outdoor ride (100+ km).
To your specific question - lots of folks are probably going to chime in and say you have to do XX hours in a ride for there to be Z2 benefits. Those with experience will know KJs are KJs, and splitting into 2 90 minute rides is just fine to keep progressing.
I actually follow a schedule of 15-20 hours/wk and do doubles throughout the week to get 15,000kjs/weekly. I’m not going to opine on the rest of your program other than to say you may consider stacking workout days (as in threshold morning, sweet spot evening) and then having days where you do 2 90 minutes endurance rides, rather than having 4 days of “harder” riding plus one long ride, which is also stressful.
To make progress, regardless of program, you really need to hit your hard ones hard - your outline leaves zero recovery (except for the off day).
I could do that plan you outlined for a month and then be completely smashed, undoing all of the gains made.
The only suggestion would be on your double days do the prescribed workout first so you maximize its quality, and then do the extra endurance ride second later in the day. This also has the advantage that if you feel fatigued you can tone down the extra ride / cut it short / skip it if needed.
Don’t think you can sustain this for very long. TSS isn’t created equal.
I’m around 900-1200 TSS weekly with 20ish hours of volume but I only do 2 hard sessions and one long outdoor ride with a lot of tempo and SS, rest Z2.
My week looks something like this:
Mon 1h recovery
Tue 1h hard, 1h Z2
Wed 2h Z2
Thu 1h hard, 1h Z2
Fri 2h Z2
Sat 5-6h Z2 indoor
Sun 5-6h outdoor with lots of sweet spot and tempo.
I can’t imagine doing another productive hard session. If I want to ride more, I just do more Z2, often with double sessions. Keep in mind that these double session can really creep up on you. I have done some 32h weeks this way, but these are not sustainable long term.
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