Are there any benefits to short Z2 workouts?

That’s all I’m trying to say… .62 IF is still on the low end of Z2.

I guess the best answer for the original question is… It depends

I’ve gone back to what works for me — 5 hard days + 2 recovery days off the bike.

Not “easy” Z2, not even Active Recovery, but totally off the bike. :+1:

1hr @Z2 is pretty much a resource waster.

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A pre-race day openers session will have a low overall TSS. It certainly isn’t active recovery or Z2. You can’t just compare TSS.

…but we who have “pain caves & TrainerRoad subscriptions” want something quite different. (and don’t care too much how we look in the mirror. Only how we feel on the bike or look on the finisher’s time sheet. :smile:

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We’ll be covering this in some depth tomorrow on the podcast, and I’ll make sure @Ian links to the show notes on this topic afterward. Thanks for the input, Everyone!


Overall, there is another way to look at this.

  • In four to six month’s time I want to know I am as fit (and lean) as I can be (am by then) for the racing season.
  • If that means doing a few Z2 sessions that I don’t quite know the underlying logic for, but makes some sense, and they seem to be doing something useful (TT position and pedaling technique) then, hey ho, they are in the schedule and I’ll do them.
  • A far better position to be in that having missed them out and thinking, “I wonder if missing them out made the difference”.

I sincerely doubt I will be thinking “I did those Z2 sessions like Pettit and that is why I am so slow and off the pace”.

But hey ho, its an individual call: you pedals your turbo and takes your choice…

Rather than that, the thinking may be did those “recovery” z2 rides negatively affect how hard I could have gone in the next workout/s? Did doing Pettit and NOT properly recovering cause me to need some back pedals during my O/U workout or long threshold intervals? If I would have gone easier on my easy days maybe I wouldn’t have needed to turn down the intensity for that last interval set? Is my ramp test (FTP) lower because I spent the entire “recovery week” in z2 and Z3 and am still fatigued?


@MI-XC The point for me is that the feedback loop you are talking about - I am a bit knackered this week and it affecting this VO2max/Threshold session - is a very short feedback loop. Easily adjustable. The one I was referring to is a much longer one.

And I am no expert, but if you are doing a week in Z2/3 and then a ramp test and still believe you are underperforming…

Last season I did A and B races (and C races). I would do two back to back club 10m Time Trials on a Wed and Thursday night. Both flat out. Both testing myself to the limit, trying to get another incremental PB. Finishing unable to speak, gasping for breath. Then, I would often do one at the weekend, perhaps a 25. A bit of riding and training sweet spot, longer rides as well. I am an old fart who bought “Fast after 50” and decided that even at 60 I would need some recovery, but not as much as it was suggesting.

I guess we all know our bodies. We can all test our bodies to see how they react and adapt. They will be different. We learn. We choose what to do with that. Horses for courses - choices for our bodies. Choosing how much to apply “Rule 5”.

Actually I quite like the Z2 sessions simply for all the reasons above I stated. But then again I see a purpose in them, FOR ME, over and above the supposed “Zonal training effect”.

I am not trying to persuade you otherwise. It is just information.

Meanwhile, I am happy doing and trying what I am following and seeing what happens… :slight_smile:


I disagree. Take a look at the largest demographic of TR users. The bulk of them aren’t in this for hard workouts and max gains. It’s my suspicion that TR is throwing them Z2 bones to keep them active & engaged (i.e. paying) but not over-stressed.

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Will listen in to podcast afterwards @chad , as I am out at work. Looking forward to it with intrigue.

I don’t know. I don’t know the demographic of TR users. Most seem fairly serious to me. Doing Disater etc. Are they really that lax about following the training plans? I have no idea. Ones I have engaged with in TT discussions I know are faster than me (and probably younger, fitter and lighter). They seem pretty serious. As for the demographic of gym members - well that is quite a different thing. I guess, again, it depends on the gym and the person. Not a fair comparison.

And even if that is the case, actually I don’t care about the wider demographic. The set up is clearly more serious. The owners and core team are clearly more serious. I care about, listen to and respect, the ones who are there for serious training… and max gains. I just want to get the best
from myself, and this seems a good way.


Ah. The old pay per workout scheme. Oh wait…


We all gotta pay somehow…I’d just rather not pay to do short Z2s. :grin:

Then why is their most recommended training plan low volume Sweet Spot? That’s 3 workouts a week… is giving them 4 days off keeping them engaged? Why do they say “when in doubt, take a rest day.”?

I think you’re barking up the wrong tree on that one. Conspiracies are fun and all, but…


That is for new users as an “on ramp” program. To get them to start and stay consistent. It’s for the “I’m new to structured training” crowd.

That’s for those that are getting burned out or stressed out, to keep them engaged when they feel training is too much.

Both have the same goal of keeping you consistent.

There’s also a difference between being serious about training and being able to do hard workouts on a regular basis. As well, I doubt the full TR user population is represented on this forum; being a regular poster most likely introduces bias.

Besides my conspiracy theory, TR has to operate on this cookie cutter/LCD level simply because, by design, they are not a 1-on-1 coaching service. It’s a catch-all model.

Would be interesting to know what’s TRs most popular Plan/Workout.

This. Catch all describes it perfectly. Look at the w/kg distribution chart and the average TR user is 3w/kg and probably using a LV plan with success.

TR does a great job of giving new/returning cyclists a no thought required training solution for 90 or even 99% of potential work/life/family/age/race/fondo/mtb/whatever scenarios.

The only group they don’t have a plan for is elite athletes. There’s no point because there’s no market. The HV plans are basically MV plans with a bunch of Z2 riding added to boost TSS.

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…well even though I am now in Sustained power, mid-volume, this “cookie cutter” seems a well thought out set of cutter of cookies, that makes sense against other training planning systems I have read, pushes me, I can feel the difference and gives me confidence that I am not wasting my time.

I seek to understand why the pieces of the cookie are cut as they are. I can adjust them to suit me. “No thought”!.. I looked very hard trying to understand the patterns and the whys of them. Maybe I am a bit odd.

Yes I am around 3w/kg, (and that allows for kg excess). but so what. I apologise if that means I have little contribution and am a waste of time here. Unfortunately I am around 45 years too late in starting my serious training regime…

I am serious about training. The workouts seem hard and I do them on a regular basis. The reason I am in MV is that I usually try to do at least one outside ride a week and an occasional track session, as well. Come nicer weather I will adapt for more outside rides. There is no substitute for training (not simply riding on) on real roads and race courses.

Of course Chad might say something quite different tomorrow… All hail Chad, MY personal coach :):star_struck:


To me, they are helpful in keeping my legs churning and move out the lactic acid so that I may do SS/Threshold/Vo2max workouts the next day.

This is a very good point.

They talked a little about this on one of the recent podcasts but I know I like to have a little something in my legs the day before any type of serious riding/testing/workout. I don’t like to take a recovery week or a couple of days off for some reason and then jump back on the bike and need to ride at higher intensities.

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It might just be as simple as not everyone wanting to batter themselves every single time they get on the trainer. That doesn’t make their training or the TR plans less worthwhile. You like simply taking days off or beating yourself down with workouts, often of your own creation, but that’s not everyone’s gig. I don’t mind Pettit days, they’re not my favorite, but I also recognize they’re a break from the VO2-Threshold beatdown while still letting me get on the bike. If I had to drop a workout from MV because life got in the way, the zone 2 “TSS filler” would be the first one to go.

I think Chad’s even mentioned that part of the value of the easier (not recovery) rides is that it allows you to get on the bike without brutalizing yourself. You don’t want to see the bike as an instrument of torture all the time, lest you burn out or lose motivation… even the most dedicated or hard core of us experience that.