Are endurance intervals really needed?

I just entered Sweet Spot base 2nd period. I have Mono scheduled for next saturday. But it puzzles me. Mono has some over-under work sandwiched by 2x20 minutes endurance intervals. What’s the point of endurance if i do sweet spot? Looks like wasted time and tedious. And i want to use workout time as productive as possible.

I rather do Beacon -3 or Moose’s tooth -1 than this.

On the other hand, i don’t wanna burnout. I can see if i start alternating boring workouts with fast, hard and furious ones too soon, it may kick me in the butt later.

But… 90 minutes of cycling just for 4 simple OU intervals, looks really boring and pointless.

Not to be an ass about it but it is in the workout description.
"The Endurance intervals are aimed at improving your aerobic power production capabilities in a steady, low-stress manner.

By training your endurance muscle fibers to better utilize oxygen to metabolize fat as fuel, your muscles can spare sugar stores for more intense efforts.

This long/slow approach to fostering aerobic capabilities is the lighter, kinder alternative to high-intensity repeats, but both approaches target many of the same adaptations."


It’s not pointless - the pre and post o/u sections will build more muscular endurance…the former will make the o/u a bit more challenging, the latter will mean riding in zone 2 on tired legs. I start with mono and build through some of the others like wheel etc for a month. Then I move to stuff like Reinstein, Tunemah, Tioga, McAdie and Palidade in my second period of base…plenty of time to open the hurt locker door. If you start with McAdie you are in for a shock!

Endurance by its very nature takes time to develop so such blocks are one very small step along that path. Your point comes at things from the opposite perspective of the the usual question that gets asked: “what’s the easiest way to add endurance?” - the answer to that is usually “add however many minutes of Z2 to the end of a workout”. In the case of Mono, you get that extended block split into two during the workout itself.

Generally the higher the energy zone the quicker it can be developed but it also decays quicker.

Remember that not every workout should leave you feeling smashed, in fact very few should particularly during Base and Build phases. There’s a case to be made during Speciality for the occasional nightmare - the Basin workouts are a good example - I don’t think I’ve ever finished one.

Doesn’t SS have the same training effect as endurance and more?

Basin looks great! Can’t wait to start doing that!



Expanding on that a bit, some zones share, while others have unique benefits (while all have different “costs”). This is just one resource on the matter.



Not necessarily. One of the expected adaptations from long endurance rides is fatiguing the type 1 fibers so that some of the type 2a fibers have to contribute. It’s a different stimulus than a high intensity interval where the type 1 fibers hit the upper limit of how much force they can produce but haven’t fatigued.

Mostly pulling from various fast talk episodes; it’s essentially Trevor’s defense of long rides.

You’d be better off doing the Z2 work first, doing the O/Us when fatigued. Having it in the middle is TSS filler (and a bit pointless).

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Endurance work is probably the most important type of work you can do on the bike, its very necessary from a performance standpoint.
Take a look at this article from Inigo San Millan:

“in particular Zone 2 which with the experience over the past 18 years it has shown to be the training zone eliciting the best results to improve lactate clearance capacity.”

One more:

“For the past 18 years working with professional and elite endurance athletes like cyclists, runners, triathletes, swimmers and rowers I have been able to see that zone 2 training is absolutely essential to improve performance.”

If your not doing a large portion of your training at this intensity your leaving performance on the table.


Definitely agree that endurance is the most important zone. Will it make you a faster rider compared to SS in 2/3/4 months time? Probably not. But the more endurance volume you can do now will make you a faster rider next year, or the year after, or 5 years from now. Cycling is an endurance sport after all.


if anyone is questioning the importance of endurance zone, go in workout creator and create a 3hr steady workout at 65 or 70% of FTP. Let me know how you feel when you’re done.

It might FEEL easy, but it creates so serious adaptions, and is certainly not a waste.


Like this?

I felt wonderful afterwards. I was a little bored while riding. But it only increased progression from 5.7 to 5.8…

A month ago:

Great scenery, rode up into the Sierra foothills, managed to keep power steady for the 20 minutes (10 min each way) that I rode thru a golfing community to stay off a sketchy section of highway. Ended up at .73 IF and 1.5% decoupling. Great ride to cap off an 11.5 hour / 600TSS week. Legs a little tight the next morning, 5 minutes of foam rolling and back to normal :tada:


Thing is, going endurance on the road is easy. On the rollers, it’s a good setup to get interned on the psychiatric hospital afterwards.

There is a BIG difference between adding about 20 mins of Endurance on each end of a main set of Over-Under intervals and doing 2+ hours of straight Endurance. If you can’t handle the shorter stints in the Mono workout and others like it, something is off.

Personally, I’m not sure how we morphed from looking at short Z2 bookend segments to the long single session ones, but it’s not a direct match. Each serves a purpose and has a place in training for at least some riders.

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Think I read somewhere that you’re better doing the high intensity stuff first, and Z2 later when your Glycogen is lowered… for most benefit.

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don’t get hung up on it. That’s a good workout and some serious adaptions.
Interested to know what your HR was for the last hour, it looks like it creeped up a fair bit compared to your first hour. as @WindWarrior mentioned, that decoupling can be a good metric to keep an eye on to see how you’re tracking for these types of workouts, ideally you want minimal differential between the two, and as you grow your aerobic base that should become fairly minimal.

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Talking about decoupling, just today, i did two sets of SS, on the second set, something happened that very rarely happens, at least on the rollers, where my HR is usually stable, my HR increased by 5 beats per minute! Usually, sure with time it increases one beat here and there, but 5 was outstanding.

Any explanation for this? Would apreciate. First workout after ramp test on second period of SS base.

Many ways to cut the cake, I guess.

I’m interested in the ability of athletes to perform high work rates when fatigued (as this is often where races are won/lost).

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