As has often been suggested and discussed on the forum, the podcast, etc., I am currently on a SSB low-volume plan to which I add zone 2 rides for additional volume and zone 2-specific adaptations.
Many of the leading zone 2 researchers such as Seiler believe that it makes a lot of sense - for those of us not constantly measuring lactate levels - to not only look at power but also heart rate to dial in the correct intensity of zone 2 workouts.
The issue I have right now is that the workouts TR gives me seem to be too low in intensity as they do not/only barely get my HR into Zone 2 territory. So I wonder how to best handle this within the TrainerRoad cosmos.
Some more info:
- based on the heart rate reserve method my HRZ2 ranges from 131 to 144 bpm (max HR-based it would be 135-147).
- a few days ago I did Little Park as suggested by TrainNow. It had me ride between 50-59% of FTP, so below or at the lower end of most zone 2 power zones (e.g. Coggan starts at 56%). During this workout, my HR AVG was 120 bpm and maxed out at 129.
- yesterday, I selected a “stretch” endurance workout, Navetta, which had me between 55 and 68% of FTP. During the workout, which has 3 peak “intervals” of 15ish minutes at 68%, I increased the workout intensity by 5% a few minutes into the second “interval”. This finally got my HR up to 130. During the third interval, I did even get it to 131
Now, the first question is: how important is it that heart rate is in zone 2 and not below? My hunch is, that, in order to get the adaptations we are after, it’s at least preferable. But that’s obviously not empirical.
Assuming that my hunch is correct, the next question is: what’s causing the issue then? As I don’t feel fatigued (and my Garmin watch tells me that my current training load is in the optimal range ). Thus, I think the simplest and most likely explanation is that my FTP setting is a bit too low*.
What’s the best way forward?
- simply wait for my next AI FTP detection or
- do an FTP test now?
And as long as my FTP (setting) is unchanged:
Should I expect that progression levels take care of this and simply pick suggested TrainNow workouts or
Should I keep selecting relatively “hard” easy workouts (talking IF and TR classification) and, if necessary, manually increase the intensity? (Making sure that power stays within my current power-based zone 2).
Or should I simply not care and enjoy the easy rides TR suggests without worrying about HR?
And bonus question: wouldn’t it make sense for TR to take HR into account for endurance workouts specifically? At higher intensities, it’s a less reliable metric but when it comes to zone 2, it seems like a useful data point to assess an athlete’s fitness (and so, e.g., could influence endurance PLs) and might be useful to select workouts / adjust intensity.
’ * I had like a two-month break from training in May and June, restarted in July with AI FTP detection (which did a pretty solid job), had another 2-week break due to travels, and finally restarted in August with another AI FTP detection. I assume this on/off training makes AIFTPD less reliable and I might be re-gaining my lost power from early this year a bit quicker.